Comment on “No Atheists in Foxholes”

Dear MRFF,

I thought it was a very truthful statement and an essay was well called for………..every true Christian should believe that! I don’t believe that the Chaplain should be punished for being truthful. He has a right to express what he feels and to write about. He would have neglected his duty as a Chaplain if he had not shared what he believed to be true. No one has to agree but he has the right to do as he did. Truly we are living in the end times….as the Bible states…”in the last days right shall be called wrong and wrong shall be called right”.
A very concerned ex-Chaplain’s Assistant/VietNam era

(name withheld)

Dear (name withheld),

First, thanks for your service.

Mr. Weinstein tries to answer all letters personally, but is currently swamped with this case and others. He has asked me to respond to your concerns.

First, I’d like to acquaint you with my own personal and family history, as well as that of the MRFF staff and clients, by way of introduction, to help you understand us better.

My family has a long history of military service, which includes 5 generations of Marines, as well as the other branches. My thrice-great grandfather fought in the Revolution and my great-grandfather fought in the Civil War. We also participated in WW I, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, and Gulf I as well as most of the smaller wars and conflicts.

I served in the Marines, and was engaged in close personal ground combat in several of the major operations in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968 including Operation Scotland at Khe Sanh, before, during, and after the Tet 1968 assault and the Siege, and in the Hue-Phu Bai area after leaving Khe Sanh.

My story is not unusual. Most of the MRFF clients, staff, and volunteers are veterans, often from multi-generational families like mine, and include active, reserve, and retired, from all branches of the US Armed Forces, holding ranks from enlisted through flag officer, with MOSs in all fields, including combat arms, representing eras from WW II, Korea, Viet Nam, on through Gulf I, and the present GWOT.

One of my respected MRFF colleagues is Rick Baker, a decorated USAF rescue pilot who pulled Special Forces SOG teams, Marine Recon teams, and downed pilots out of some pretty deep stuff on his two tours in Vietnam. He was wounded, and still sets off metal detectors.

Personal awards and decorations held by MRFF clients and staff are numerous, and include; the Purple Heart, Bronze Star w/ V, and Silver Star, as well as Army, Navy, and AF Crosses, and one Medal of Honor.

Mr. Weinstein is also the son of a Naval Academy graduate, and is a veteran himself, being an Honor Graduate of the USAF Academy. He served for 10 years a JAG officer, including service in the Reagan White House as a Special Counsel. His family has over three generations of service that include likewise distinguished service academy graduates, and members of the US Armed Forces. His (Christian) nephew is a GYSGT in the USMC in a Combat Arms MOS, who recently returned from another tour in the Sand Box. He is also a member of and supporter of the MRFF.

In addition to our other military credentials, the MRFF numbers graduates from all the Service Academies (Mr. Weinstein and his family alone boasts a number of Naval and Air Force Academy honor grads), as well as people with degrees through PhD from civilian colleges and universities.

I think you might agree that we are very familiar with the military services and can understand and relate to their needs

In addition to our military credentials, many of us also have academic credentials. In my case, that includes the BA in history and the M.Sc. in education, with a teaching credential in Social Studies – which, among other things, involves the history of this nation, its origin, and its government. In addition, history is a lifelong passion, and I grew in and around Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty.

I think you might agree that we are all very familiar with the nature of the military services.

We are also very familiar with the Constitution, which is the focus of our mission. The MRFF supports the Constitutionally and legally mandated requirement that there will be no established religion (i.e. no official state religion), and no religious test for office, as clearly intended by the Founders both in their words and documents, and as supported by subsequent decisions of US courts through the Supreme Court.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . ” (1st Amendment)

“. . . no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” (Article VI, Section III)

The MRFF is committed to ensuring that this boundary between church and state is maintained, and that the Constitutional rights to freedom of conscience for all Americans (particularly our servicemen and women) are not violated, and that they are not subjected to unwanted proselytization by any religious group whatsoever.

Placing a US Armed forces, DoD, or Pentagon crest (or that of any other branch of the military or government) is a CLEAR violation of the First Amendment, in that it wrongly implies government or military sponsorship of religion. US law and judicial decisions have expressly forbade any such show of “favoritism, preference, or elevation of any religion.”

This is not something new. Both Thomas Jefferson, patriot, author of the Declaration, statesman, philosopher, scholar, and our 3rd and arguably one of our finest Presidents, and James Madison, our 4th President, principal author, and considered “the Father” of the Constitution. opposed public or state-sponsored prayer, and a state-funded chaplaincy during their Presidencies.

While Madison relented once (under great pressure from the Congress and clergy) during the War of 1812, when he proclaimed a day of prayer. However, he later said such proclamations were not appropriate because;

“They seem to imply and certainly nourish the erroneous idea of a national religion.”

I have numerous citations which prove the point that America was founded by wise design as a secular nation. (See att. below)

MRFF’s Position on Faith

Neither Mr. Weinstein nor the MRFF are “for” or “against” Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or any other religion. On the contrary, as the name implies, the MRFF supports religious freedom and pluralism for service personnel of all faiths (or none), in accordance with the US Constitution and public law. Our founder, members, and supporters include people of many different faiths and belief systems, as well as free-thinkers and skeptics.

Mr. Weinstein, the founder of the MRFF, is of Jewish heritage, and his family circle of blended faiths includes observant Christians.

The MRFF staff is approximately 75% Christian (mainly Protestant, followed by Catholics), 15% Jewish, and 10% other.

While we have people of faith among us, we are (like the US itself) secular in nature, and we defend all US service personnel against violations of their Constitutional rights to freedom of conscience.

Who MRFF Represents, and Why

All MRFF cases are filed because of complaints brought by active duty, reserve, or retired service personnel or employees of DoD or other military agencies.

Currently, 96% of the over 34,000 MRFF cases are brought on behalf of professing Christians, (mainly Protestants), followed by Catholics (including Roman and Eastern Orthodox).

The 4% balance of cases includes Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs, as well as Pagans, a few atheists, agnostics, and other free-thinkers.

The great preponderance of our cases involve abuses of authority and violations of the Constitutional guarantees of freedom of conscience by a specific sub-set of aggressive radicals who style themselves “Christians” and who are becoming increasingly entrenched and powerful in the military in all braches and MOSs at ranks up to and including flag officer ranks. They are known by a number of names, but we use the generic term of one of the main branches (“Dominionists”) for convenience. I attach some specifics re: Dominionism below.

I hope that this information will help you to better understand the nature of the MRFF and the nature of the struggle we are waging against a large and growing enemy with deep pockets and strong political and economic backing, and who constitute a far greater and more urgent threat to the Republic.

As an agnostic for many years, I feel very strongly about these issues. While chaplains and other uniformed personnel certainly have a right to their own opinions and to free speech and thought, all service personnel are, as you should know, governed by certain rules and regulations (including the UCMJ) which govern their speech and actions to a greater degree than that of ordinary citizens, in order to maintain the good order and discipline within the armed forces necessary to a military force. These orders include not denigrating any service person based in their race, ethnicity, gender or creed. In addition, the Chaplain’s Code of Conduct expressly forbids such denigration.

Therefore LCOL Reyes, by denigrating atheists, has violated several articles of the UCMJ and the Chaplain’s Code. While I am not personally in favor of punishing him (other than perhaps having him attend a few courses to refresh him on his duties and increase his sensitivity awareness), he should be made to understand that he has crossed the line and that it will not be tolerated, the same as if any other serviceman or woman had broken regulations.

In addition to the other materials mentioned above, I attach a copy of the letter I wrote to Lt. Col. Reyes below, which I think will explain my feelings on this matter.

Again, thanks for writing us with your concerns.

I remain, sir,

Semper Fidelis,

F. J. Taylor
USMC (Ret.)

To support the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, or to learn more about their efforts on behalf of United States military personnel, go to:

I have read most all of what you have written to me. I skimmed for the most part and caught the places the Holy Spirit led me to. You see I am guided, not forced, but led by a gentle hand in my life.

(name withheld)

Dear (name withheld),

I am sorry to hear that, because deep historic and political issues require more than skimming — they require close, careful, and complete reading and scholarship. Unfortunately, history, unlike scriptural reading, doesn’t fare well when it is glossed over, even if you believe you are being guided by a supernatural force.

For that matter, even spiritual reading requires close attention and careful scholarship. I personally think theology has been ill served by the modern trend to put it into the hands of those not trained in the discipline.

In times gone by, it required attendance at an accredited theological seminary, the study of classical languages such as Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and / or Aramaic, the meanings of the verses in the context of their history and times, and the attainment of a degree to become a minister.

Now any uneducated yahoo can pick up a Bible or other scriptural work, declare themselves a minister, and start saying whatever they want to do about it.

> It was my choice to believe in someone I can’t see. It was his choice to come to me when I asked him to. I am sorry that Mr Weinstein was confronted with people who I consider not to be Christians but radical maniacs who consider themselves Christains. Rushdoony was an idiot that had obviously never had a real encounter with the real “Jesus”. He borders on the Pharasees, law givers, with stone cold hearts, unteachable spirits who thought they knew how to run God’s business and sadly thought they were doing what God wanted. He probably never asked God “Why won’t people do what is right in your sight” and love them and set an example as a Christian, he probably said “God, if they won’t believe the one the only way and do as I do and have the same actions and attitudes that I do as a Christian, then they will be punished and beaten into submission. What a slap in God’s face who is and always will be pure love. Rushdoony needed a lesson in “walking in love”.

I agree, and it is clear from your words that you are not one of the Dominionists, but a sincere Christian trying to live your life by the principles of your faith. The MRFF has no issue with you or those of your ilk.

Sadly, Mr. Rushdoony and his followers and Dominionist fellow-travelers not only don’t believe as you believe, but would actually think you were “not Christian enough” or the “wrong kind” of Christian. They believe that THEY are the only “true” Christians — and if you were still in the service under their command, you would be punished for your temerity.

If they gain the power they seek over this nation and the world, you would be next in line for the camps — right after the gays, non-Christians, Mr. Weinstein, me, and all the others they had “judged” and found wanting.

> I have walked in love since my hand was raised supernaturally in a church service at the age of 18 and I asked God to forgive me of my sins. I became a believer at that point but did not come to know Jesus as a true believing Christian until I was 27 and asked him to be Lord of my life, during my divorce. The opinions and beliefs I have had since that time has solidified my belief in God and his moving in my life, at times supernaturally. It has confirmed to me he exists and that He has his protecting hand on my life.

We are glad you have found a belief system that works for you, and we respect your right (and that of all people) to believe what you want. Where we draw the line is at people like Rushdoony, North, et al, who intend to force their brand of Christianity upon all of us (including you) if they gain power, “by ballot or bullet” and “lead” us to their version of Jesus “in chains, if necessary.”

> It is too bad that Mr Weinstein or you did not run into someone who has truly has had an encounter with a true and living God.

Actually, we have met many Christians like you — many of them are clients of or volunteers for the MRFF. We respect their obviously sincere faith, as well as our Jewish, Muslim, and other faith practitioners, and our free-thinkers. We all respect one another and don’t claim to have the “only true” belief system.

As I believe I mentioned, Mr. Weinstein’s family is a one of blended faiths (Jewish and Christian), and we have evangelical Christians, as well as ordained ministers. One of these was formerly a member of a Dominionist congregation who, after over 30 years in her congregation, finally “awoke” to tbhe fact that what they were teaching was not biblical. She left, despite the relentless harassment she received as an apostate. Another had his church burned down for voicing support for the MRFF and its mission.

If you wish to speak to one of them about the MRFF, I can arrange it.

> I pray for blessings on you and your family for soon I believe that you too will have an encounter with the one, true, and living God.

Thanks, Jim. We appreciate your kind thoughts and prayers. They are much different from our usual dose of vile venom from others who profess to be Christians. Here are a few we received:

> mikey I just cannot wait until your made dead and punted to hell by The Lamb where youll burn forever for foursaking Jesus’ love for you and for keeping our army under youre spell of your father satan. very soon now. oh and we pray your whole famly and the mfrr is made dead by The prince of Peace and also burn with you naked in hell for time imemorial.

I found this one HILARIOUS!!! In addition to the usual array of garbage, mis-spellings, grammatical mistakes, incorrect punctuation, and other errata, “punted to hell by the Lamb” conjures a mental image that is beyond compare!! This is one of those times I wish I could draw, so I could do a ferocious looking lamb in some football gear punting a cartoon Mikey into Hell before a cheering crowd of these idiots !!!!

> Our pastor told us of your cripple wife. No doubt having multipole sclerosis is a just punishment for your evil. Oh but she does deserves it and more suffering too. Soon. He said you have sons and daughters too. They are all part of it too. We have a good and blessed plan for you now. We have prayed on it. Our church’s prayer chain is launched today. We will pray day and night for your fall. May you experience pain beyond all understanding. For eternity. May Christ Jesus take your wife and sons and daughters to hell this day. before your very eyes. May Christ Jesus take all who do there evil in that MFRR to hell this very day before your very eyes. May you live forever in flames as Christ Jesus sweeps you to hell eternal this very day. Pasor ended his sermon by saying that there is no amazing grace for a wretchs like you. Your wife. Your sons your daughters. And all of those in that MFRR. Your suffering for all time is fulfillment of His Word and Prophesy.

This is positively glowing with “Christian love” eh, Jim?

> Saw the pictures of you and your family in the book. Too bad for you. And worse for them. We prayed at the retreat this weekend that they will surely burn for all time. In the unquechable fires of hell. For your willing sins. John 3:36. Mark 9:43. We prayed that Wilson and Wilkerson will also burn in hell for your sins, Michael Weinstien. We prayed that you will be the last to burn. So that you may first experience the divine eternal suffering of your wife, children and Wilson and Wilkerson. Our Lord and Savior has promised us this. That He will make our prayers for you to witness those you love and care for suffer come true. It is already written. 1 John 5:14-15. Your time draws near. You think all is peaceful and secure for yourself and those you harbor. But there is no escape. 1 Thessaloninas 5:3. You will watch them all burn in chains forged by the Son of Man. And then you will burn, son of satan.

And this one was fun. I refer to this type as the “KKKristian.” It is also a prime example of what I was saying about the Nazis and fascists being Christians, not atheists.

> your a fucking barking dog jew weinstien. you and your little group of mffr queers are all jews. one and all. includin jewbassador jew wilson. and col. lawrense wiljewerson who is the house nigger of that niggerjew colin powell. you all have no right to stop our armies from being the warriors for Christ. for which our christian nation was formed. for Christians. by Christians and only Christians. meant to spread the gospel of The Lamb to the world held prisoner by jew killers and there international fellow travelers. we know what you want mickey The Big Jew weinstien. and your evil jew blood and the animal blood of your family and friends will be spilt by the counless gallons in vain. we will laugh with the Lord as the Christ slaughters all of you. hitler was the only one to stand up to your jew filth. He saw you subhumans for what you are. we who follow the Christ will never let you win for the devil. America’s armies live and fight for The Word of the Christ. praise the Lord Jesus who will finish what hitler started. you have no chance and no prayer.

As the comedians used to say, “I’ve got a million of ’em!”

Honestly, as I have said many times before, you couldn’t make this shit up.

> He is the only God of all the Gods who really does live and move and have his being in all of us.

Well, I know you believe that, and we respect your belief, but you must realize that many other faiths also believe that their version of deity is also “the only true” deity. That is why the Founders (many of whom were theists or at least deists of one sort or another) established the US as a secular Republic and prohibited the establishment of any religion, because they’d seen what established religions (even Christian religions) bring — war, persecution, torture, and murder (re-read the info I sent you).

I think their approach (allowing full and complete freedom of conscience to all) was the wisest. One of their influences (besides the Enlightenment) may have been the attitude of the Native Americans towards religion — which was that each Indian approached the Tonka Wakan (The Great Mysterious) in his or her own way, individually. They had no liturgy, scriptures, churches, or priesthood. Only the shaman to help guide the seeker to his own vision quest.

> Satan, if you believe in him, tried to take over from God and the one true living God threw him and 1/3 of all the heavenly beings out of heaven an into the universe.

Well, as an agnostic tending towards atheism, I personally don’t believe in him either (though some of the Christian MRFF folks probably do), but I am of course familiar with the biblical story of the Fall.

> That is where we get the so called “Aliens” from. They are the fallen angels who have to use technology to get around and to use the technological “magic” to fool people into believing they are aliens heralding the coming of their “one true god, satan” with all his lying powers and mighty wonders. I am speaking of truths that you never hear about because some Christians don’t even believe what I am telling you. God led me to you thru the article written by the Chaplain. How do I know what I told you is true about the aliens? I have been a science fiction buff from the word “go” and I prayed about UFO’s. I believed what I prayed about and believed that who I was praying to would hear me, He Did! Expect the unexpected and it will happen.

That is certainly an interesting “take” on the subject, and one I have heard before from several other sources. However, you are correct in stating that some Christians don’t believe as you do — in fact, I’d wager that many would say that was unbiblical.

As for me, I’d say that while it is not only possible but likely that there are aliens of some sort out there (given the magnitude of the universe, it seems unlikely that we are the only planet that has developed life), I am not sure that they are “fallen angels” or that they worship satan.

However, I respect your right to believe that is the case. After all, there have been a few MRFF clients who are self-described “Jedi Knights” who believe in “The Force.”

You see, the Constitution doesn’t discriminate or allow the government to declare that one religion or doctrine is “true” — in fact, it expressly forbids it. MRFF follows the Constitution in that regard. The reason 96% of its clientele is Christian is a factor of the predominance of that religion in the country — not the MRFF showing favoritism.

All of which again proves the prescience and forethought of the Framers. As Madison so cogently said;

> “Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?”

Who indeed, but a blind zealot?

Under our secular Constitutional Republic, all freedom of conscience is protected — yours as a Christian who believes he is personally supernaturally directed by a deity and believes that aliens are fallen angels, other Christians who may differ from your views, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and all other theists of any description including Pagans, and of course me as an agnostic, and my fellow free-thinkers, including atheists. In case you missed it in your skimming, let me repeat Jefferson’s views. Writing in his autobiography about the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, he said;

> “…a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word ‘Jesus Christ,’ so that it should read ‘a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion,’ the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.”

As I said earlier, Madison agreed and said much the same thing in his autobiography.

So what it boils down to is this; under the Constitution and the laws of this land, you are free to believe whatever you wish and worship as you please (within such reasonable civil legal constraints, such as no human sacrifice, child abuse, etc.) — but so is every other American citizen. You are free to try to interest others in your religion (if you are a civilian). But you are NOT free to continue to attempt to proselytize when you have been asked by another citizen to desist, any more than you are free to continue to try to sell them soap or some other commercial product. You see, your right to your belief ends when it collides with someone else’s rights to their belief. The analogy frequently used is that your right to swing your arms ends at my nose.

I hope that our exchange has helped you to understand the MRFF and its position on these matters. All Americans of any faith (or no faith) who believe in the Constitution and a free society should be in synch with what the MRFF is doing — which is upholding the secular Constitution which allows everyone to believe as they see fit.



F. J. Taylor
USMC (Ret.)

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