Mr. Weinstein,

I am not a religious (nor spiritual really) person but I do find your motives quite disturbing. I understand your reasons for your crusade but I think you have lost sight of the potential long term ramifications of your cause. Lets face it, regardless of our religious direction or affiliation (or lack thereof) our Constitution was written by Christians and our country was founded on that belief. It is our right, as Americans, to be able to choose to believe or not believe in whatever religion or for any religion for that matter.
Many of our founders believed in mans ability or right of free will. You are completely disregarding this in attempting to force feed people ability to believe or not believe.
President Washington created the post of Chaplin to spread the word of faith and religion among our servicemen, FOR MORAL PURPOSES. Like it or not, it still has its place regardless of our feelings about it. If we don’t believe… We simply don’t believe. Its as simple as not participating. Its not as if the military is forcing one to believe in the Easter bunny. The pentagon getting involved will only serve to foul this up so badly.
I strongly feel that there are so many things that can be done for our servicemen that should be considered a priority and that this (your) personal vendetta (for lack of better words) only serves to distract from those important issues.
In reality, and this is the crux of my email, more servicemen and women (like it or not) seem to be of some type of religious persuasion than none at all. With that said, is it not feasible that the outcome of all this will actually be detrimental to the majority of military personnel?
I realize you are guided by a matter of principle… I get that and have no issue with that BUT at what expense are you willing to do this.
This will become so bastardized in so much bureaucratic Pentagon BS that good, decent military personnel will inevitably wind up catching hell for potentially off handed “religious” remarks. This could easily set up witch hunt type motives of retaliation among ranks which will be divisive and detrimental to basic moral of our personnel.
I personally don’t care if chaplins preach a belief in Mickey Mouse as long as it maintains moral.
I can’t fathom ANYTHING, short of forcing your kids at gunpoint to pray to something or bathe in holy water etc that would make you want to jeopardize our military moral in this manner. Its disheartening and quite honestly disgusting that it is coming to this type of action. It just seems that your energy is just so focused on something so trivial and misguided. I respect your vigor in you devotion to your cause but I fear the ramifications of your action will speak volumes in the years to come. Thank you for your time.

(name withheld)
Midland, TX

Dear (name withheld),

To assume the Pentagon has not already inserted itself in this issue is be unaware of or simply disregard very significant examples of proselytization at the Pentagon by groups like Campus Crusade for Christ’s Military Ministry (https://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/press-releases/dec07report.html) and the millions of dollars of DoD contracts awarded to highly proselytized religious activities (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-rodda/how-much-money-could-the-_b_931436.html).

As a Christian (Episcopalian in fact) supporter of MRFF I have the freedom (as do you) to demonstrably agree with any proselytized message, disagree, or totally ignore with no chance of repercussions (excluding of course potential repercussions of hard core fundamentalists of any faith proselytizing their message). If on the other hand you chose to proselytize a faith based message to me in a government controlled situation where your official capacity was superior and mine subordinate, your message becomes immediately oppressive, and unconstitutional, due to the loss of my freedoms as listed above.

Let me use the words of another in further explanation:
No one will be prosecuted simply for sharing one’s faith in the military. Sharing your faith – in a non-official context – is fine. What’s wrong is when it is in a mandatory, official, or any other context in which the power dynamic between the individuals is out of balance (e.g., a commander recommending church attendance to subordinates).

Should fundamentalist of other religious faiths engage in the same type of activity within the U.S. Military, MRFF’s response will be exactly the same. You should also be aware that MRFF fully supports the military chaplaincy role in its passive (i.e. without proselytization) ministrations to the religious needs of all U.S. Service Members of any faith.

Am I proud as a Christian that Judeo/Christian heritage and morality played a truly significant role in development of the U.S. Constitution & Bill of Rights? You better believe it. However, by adoption of the Constitution, we as a nation from that point forward agreed to be bound to each other under a democratic Man’s Law rather than a theocratic Devine Law as preferred by many Christian Dominionists and Fundamentalists. To think that any religious heritage deserves any special consideration is to create a Tyranny of Ancestry flying under the flag of some form of selective morality.

To sum up my perspective, and without trying to demean your argument in any way, I defend both my Christian faith and my Constitution proudly and equally. I simply don’t feel compelled to defend one at the expense of the other.

Peace be with you,
Andy Kasehagen

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