I disagree with your quote

Mikey,

“When one proudly dons a U.S. Military uniform, there is only one religious symbol: the American flag. There is only one religious scripture: the American Constitution. Finally, there is only one religious faith: American patriotism.” sounds good at first, and many will not find fault with your statement, but I do. When taken to an extreme point, you have Nazis. They preached a pseudo religion based on Nazi ideals which created the Aryan race card for them. The Swastika was their religious symbol (specially in the SS), and Nazi patriotism led them to kill millions in the name of racial purity.

Religion, as viewed by millions (including myself), help temper rhetoric that can lead to patriotic extremism of the unholy kind. Obviously, you do not cater to religion in any form, but there are many who do. In combat zones, military personnel sometimes display religious views and beliefs as a form of mental therapy specially when their lives have been placed in jeopardy, yet you find ways to kill that effort when they feel they need it most. Just because you, and your followers decide not to avail yourselves of these methods does not mean others should or must follow your example. Chaplains are there to provide assistance and guidance of a religious nature, not to deny their views in an effort to appease atheists.

In today’s politically correct world a minority view, such as yours, seems to have greater power than it deserves, and our nation is that much poorer because of it. Our moral fiber has suffered greatly because it lacks the moral compass that religion provides.

I interpret the 1st Amendment as meaning the government can not dictate one religion over another to the people or force people to worship in a particular manner. It does not preclude the government from helping the people celebrate certain events during the year or exclude it from embracing the ideals they represent.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
(name withheld)

Gun control is like trying to reduce drunk driving by making it tougher for sober people to own cars.


Dear (name withheld),

Mikey has asked me to respond to your e-mail on his behalf, as he is currently inundated with work.

You make a good point in your opening paragraph about the dangers of runaway nationalism. I understand why you may think Mikey’s statements are an endorsement of such dangerous ideologies, but there is a significant difference between nationalism (which you describe though incorrectly attribute to patriotism) and true patriotism, which is a critical love of one’s country. Comparing our stance on obedience to the laws of the land for the sake of good order and the optimization of liberty to Nazism is a grotesque oversimplification of reality. While we love our country, we also object to those laws or policies which cause harm to people, any people, and actively pursue their reform.

We also clearly understand the real need for religion in the lives of many. There is no way to deny that religion makes millions of people like you happier and better people. In fact, 96% of our clients are Christians or Roman Catholics that have had their ability to freely and openly practice their religion the way they see fit obstructed by hyper-zealous dominionist Christians. We defend the right to display religious views and beliefs, but only in an appropriate manner. We will never stop someone from a banal personal expression of faith. Our interventions only occur at the direct request of clients (we don’t hunt for cases, they come to us) who have been in some way abused by people in positions of authority that have failed to respect the freedom of others.

If your moral fiber is suffering, that is a personal problem. The dwindling authority of the religious lobby is causing great pains in the hearts and minds of Christian theocrats who are seeing their grasp on our government loosen. Change can be difficult to acknowledge, but as with integration of racial minorities into our culture and giving women the right to vote, the mental anguish you feel at the sight of a non-Christian dominated government will come to pass. No one can assault your moral fiber but you.

If you think the 1st Amendment allows the government to help people celebrate certain religious events or embrace the ideals they represent, would you endorse a national recognition of Ramadan or a taxpayer funded monument to Mohammed be placed on public property? Would you happily pay your taxes to a government that applied those resources to the endorsement of the tenets of the Church of Satan? It would be nothing more than helping them celebrate and embracing the ideals they represent.

Being in the majority, does not give you the right to disenfranchise the minority in this country. In the words of Justice O’Connor, “We do not count heads before enforcing the 1st Amendment.”

Cheers,

Blake A. Page
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Special Assistant to the President
Director of West Point Affairs

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2 Comments

  1. Jesse Watson

    I truly agree with what (name withheld) states. I’m sure many Christians do. which cleary is why your attacking him so harshly “No one can assault your moral fiber but you. ” but if that’s truly what you as a group believe why are you fighting for others moral fiber?… enough said

  2. LJB

    Weinstein,

    I believe you are far removed from the views of military members who are actually fighting the enemy. Those who are actually fighting do not have time to complain to your office about chaplains and bibles within the military. There are far more greater problems to worry about. Oh and btw, your problem with the Air Force Academy oath, take a look at what just happend with the El Paso recall elections. Your liberal views are not welcome here. Thanks

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