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Official U.S. Military Emblems No Longer Allowed on Holman Military Bibles – MRFF Press Release, Features
UPDATES Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Associated Press Radio:
Roundup of MRFF coverage from the Christian Evangelical right-wing press
Tuesday, June 12, 2012:
Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, told Fox News he was extremely disappointed in the decision to remove the military edition Bibles from exchange stores — and called the move “cowardly.”… “Why should these Bibles be removed because of the demands of a small activist group,” he asked. “The MFRR [sic] must cease and desist their reckless assault on religious liberty.”
He also called on Congress to investigate what he called “this frivolous threat and cowardly response by the DoD.”
“Over the past few years, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has probably received more complaints about these Bibles, which are displayed and sold in all the base exchanges and other stores on military bases, than any other single issue.” — MRFF Senior Research Director Chris Rodda
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 11, 2012
MRFF Contact: Mikey Weinstein
MRFF Pressure Halts
“Military Bible” Authorization
by All Four Military Branches
In clear violation of the U.S. Constitution,
USMC, Air Force, Army, Navy insignia were used to
promote Southern Baptist Convention Bible
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Following efforts by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF: www.MilitaryReligiousFreedom.org), all four branches of the U.S. Military have revoked their approval of the Military series of Holman Christian Standard Bibles (HCSB). The Holman Bible is a modern English, Baptist translation that was completed in 2004 and is published by LifeWay Christian Resources’ Holman Bible Publishers, a subsidiary of the Evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist Bible Convention. These editions were prominently emblazoned with exact replicas of the trademarked emblems of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
MRFF is a civil rights organization representing over 28,000 members of the armed services and veterans (96% of whom are Christian). As of June, 2011, MRFF had been contacted by nearly 2,000 servicemembers who witnessed the Bibles being conspicuously featured on military Exchange shelves and storefronts across the globe. This raised fears among military personnel that, in the words of an anonymous U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate, it was “a big step towards establishing the Holman Christian Standard Bible as the official religious text of the military services of the United States.”
“SHOCKING CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATION”: READ THE LETTER WRITTEN TO MRFF BY AN AGGRIEVED, ANONYMOUS USAF JUDGE ADVOCATE AND FOUNDATION CLIENT
The dangerous nature of an official endorsement of Bibles by the U.S. Military is made clear by the fact that the Holman translation does not include those texts purged from the Bible during the Protestant Reformation which are still included in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox editions of the Holy Bible.
Entitled “The Soldier’s Bible,” “Sailor’s Bible,” “Marine’s Bible,” and “Airman’s Bible,” respectively, the HSBC Bibles contained material merging Evangelical symbolism and theology with national and military iconography and anthems. Each HCSB Military Bible also contained “quotations, prayers, and inspiration” from figures ranging from George Washington and President George W. Bush to various historical figures from each of the respective branches of the U.S. Armed Services.
Following a request filed by MRFF’s outside legal counsel under the Freedom of Information Act, the foundation discovered that the U.S. Military had given authorization to LifeWay allowing for reproduction of the emblems, an action that stood in direct violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Upon investigation, each branch of the military responded in succession with the notification that permission to use each branch’s imagery had been revoked.
“Once again our foundation has decisively beaten back those who would see the wall separating church and state reduced to rubble,” said Mikey Weinstein, President and Founder of MRFF. “The very fact that the Pentagon — or ‘Pentacostal-gon’ — had allowed for the insignias of the Navy, Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force to be used for such a clearly Evangelical fundamentalist agenda should sicken anyone with any inkling of respect for the ‘sacred’ principle of religious freedom as enshrined by the foundational documents of our nation, namely the U.S. Constitution.”
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is up against well-funded extremist religious organizations. Your donations allow us to continue our fight in the courts and in the media to fight for separation of church and state in the U.S. military. Please make a fully tax-deductible donation today at helpbuildthewall.org.
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I just sent this announcement to several lawyers I know, and urge other MRFF supporters to do the same. Busy lawyers in fields other than civil liberties may not be aware of what’s going down in the military. Once you call their attention to the Evangelical attack on the Constitution, at least some of them might be moved to join the fight and to spread the word.
As an Evangelical Christian, I thank you for your efforts to separate military endorsement of special soldier Bibles.
Does that surprise you? Let me explain:
It pains me to see the Way of the Cross be co-opted to its very opposite, the way of the sword. A true Christian fundamentalist, as opposed to a cherry-picking commonsense anti-intellectual conservative Protestant (which I think is what you mean by “fundamentalist”) would believe in loving his enemies, praying for those who persecuted him, and not hitting back when struck.
As a pacifist Evangelical (a rare animal, I know) I am heartbroken by the idolatry of making Bibles with labels on them that are, at base level, implicitly endorsing a profession that is completely antithetical to the teachings of Jesus. It is also heartbreaking to see the utter lack of discernment within Christianity today regarding the fact that Jesus quite literally did say that we are to be pacifists. Hey, it’s what got Jesus killed. He could have fought back. He could have run, but did not. And yes, he died at the hands of soldiers.
I realize this isn’t the most welcome place for a theological rant, but I thank you for bearing with me nonetheless.
I spent Thursday, June 7 at Arlington National Cemetery for a tragically unique interment ceremony. The ceremony honored the unidentified remains of military men who perished in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011; their bodies were too badly damaged to allow identification. Now those remains are honored as another one or more Unknown Soldiers. The families of these men mourned and, yes, prayed for them. The majority of them were Navy SEALS, and the majority of those SEALS believed in God – in Jesus Christ. That faith is the only thing that could empower them and other special warriors to take the extraordinary risks they willingly and proudly take to defend those of us who sit at home, even those who would smugly deny them their Bibles – they lay down their lives for others as their God, Jesus Christ, did. The remains which could be identified were buried in a row in Section 60 – almost all of those new white gravestones were headed by a Cross. That is what was important to these men. That is why they could find the strength to go out into the night amid volleys of bullets and grenades in foreign countries, to protect the rest of us.
If this nation expects others to heed the call for our defense and rise up to take the place of these men, do not take away from those new recruits the very source of the strength that sustains so many of them. That cruelty is a derogation of the liberties of us all. Shame on those who would deprive their fellow Americans, military men and women, of the comfort of faith – you have lost your humanity. May God have mercy on you all.
If you doubt my words and the agreement of the majority of Americans with what I have said, look at this week’s NY Times bestseller list. FEARLESS is already number 7; it chronicles the life of an extraordinary SEAL, a member of DEVGRU/Team 6, Adam Brown. Adam’s faith was the center of his life, marriage, family, patriotism and service.
There is a commonality to the funeral programs of so many fallen SEALS – they note before their deaths, as they contemplate what their final arrangements will be should they fail to return home, their desire to be remembered by these words from Isaiah 6:8 – “I heard the voice of the Lord saying ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, ‘Here I am. Send me.”
To Gary Simmons, may I say that Christians who serve in the military are living their faith on a daily basis when they lay down their lives so that others may live. You would do well to honor their attempts to follow the example of the Good Shepard. Instead, you intimate that they have lost sight of their Savior’s example – take the plank out of your own eye.
It’s amazing how Christians constantly rely on lies to spread their nonsense. Having been a Christian once, I know how hypocritical that is when the bible says that this god hates lies and liars, even if supposedly told “for” this god (Romans 3). Pity that they have to lie so badly about George Washington and keep on doing it. How much is a soul worth if one can lie so flagrantly?
There is no reason to have the armed forces insignia on a bible other than to try and make it seem that the armed forces are only for Christians, that they are somehow enforcing some holy edict when defending the US. That again is untrue. The US is not a Christian nation nor has it ever been. It is a nation of various religions and those with none at all, explicitly designed to protect the minority from the majority.
If someone wants to put a personal sticker on their very own bible, that’s fine. But to allow Christians to make it seem like they are the only “real” soldiers, sailors, Marines, Coast Guard members, etc, that is simply allowing a lie to be promulgated.
As for newtownindy, you unsuprisingly assume that only Christians are in the military and are the only ones laying down their lives and are totally innocent of lying and trying to force their religion on others. That is demonstrably incorrect. Are you happy to be telling a lie? I’m sure that you’ll claim that if they aren’t doing exactly what *you* claim then they aren’t “real Christians” the usual excuse of all Christians who don’t agree with their supposed brethern. Too bad we can’t tell who is the “real Christians” at all, by their “fruits” or not.
Sorry to tell you but there are Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists, Wiccans, etc all who are decent humane people who all risk their lives, and your religion is not the only one that advocates this. Your “good sheperd” is a latecomer to any concept of the “golden rule” and your “good sheperd” also is in a book that claims that genocide is fine, that killign those who don’t agree with you is fine, etc. So much for one decent thing it says amongst all of the xenophobic ignorant nonsense.
Wow, newtownindy, that is one big stinking pile of bullshit you’ve got there.
You claim that your little book of superstition is being “denied” to service members, when you know full well that is not the case in the least. You are a LIAR.
Further, your insinuation that Constitutional mandates should be established or confirmed in a popularity contest reveals your disloyalty to the principles on which this country is based. You are a TRAITOR.
Your ridiculous statements only serve to demonstrate that the more devout a christian is, the more dishonest and disloyal he or she is. Take your sharia law and your jihad elsewhere. Those of us who understand and value the Constitution have no use for you and your ilk.
I strive every day to lead an ethical life, to be true to my moral compass, to be kind to animals, and to be good to the people around me. Although I’m disabled and live on a small, fixed income, I give to charity – more than I can really afford – because these causes are vitally important. I volunteer as an advocate for the elderly in my community whenever my health permits. Yet whenever Christians learn than I don’t share their faith, the responses I get range from: “No way! But you seem so nice!” to “Oh, no – it breaks my heart to think you’re going to Hell,” to “What kind of awful parents do you have, letting you grow up this way?” None of them has the slightest inkling that they’re being offensive. Far too many decide to convert me, whether I like it or not. It’s such a challenge to deal with them, because – as soon as they learn I believe differently – they see me as less than human.
In the last few years, I’ve started using humor to shut the conversation down. I like to smile and say: “Now, now, let’s not start that again! YOUR people have been burning MY people at the stake for centuries. How about we just eat our lunch instead and not discuss religion? Or. . . will I have to turn you into a toad?”
The response is either a blank stare, rapid blinking, or a hearty laugh. If they laugh, we can have lunch. Anything else, and I’m outta there. No BBQ for me!
Yes, you are a rare animal! But you are not alone.
i put 28 yrs in the military ,6 Navy and 22 in the Air Force ,to bad we didnt have a King James Bible given to us like they do in Isreal .the seperation of church and state only refered to the state staying out of the church.the Lord governs the church . there was nothing wrong with the christian influence in the GOV . look it up go back to 1778. wake up to the truth.they came to America for freedom to worship in Jesus Name ,now you people and the aclu have pushed GOD out of every area and the schools are full of ungodly sinners and sodomites are getting married are these people blind on the sin issue you bet . Jesus is LORD and is coming back soon in flaming fire taking vengence on them that obey not the gospel . retired Viet Nam VET
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He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. What a sad story it will be to fight so hard in this life against the very thing that can save you to eternity. Just because you don’t believe something doesn’t mean it’s not true.