Your Cause is without cause

Mikey Weinstein, MRFF President, has read your email and asked me to respond on behalf of MRFF. Due to the length of your email and for clarity, I have responded to each point you have raised within the body of your email.

Sir or Ma’am,

I noted on your website that you claim to be a civil rights organization, protecting the rights of military members. I respectfully request you re-look your stance and the cause upon which your organization takes its purpose.

1. While most everyone would appreciate you paying attention to religious freedom, to focus on it the way you do, with hyperbolic and vitriolic statements belittles the points you try to make.

“I find it interesting you chose to use the word “belittles”, a word perfectly descriptive of the false statement that there are “No Atheists in Foxholes”. Any hyperbole and vitriol is simply a reflection of the same being spread by many of those who seek to create weaponized government paid missionaries within our armed forces. We’ll let our track record of success on behalf of our clients speak for itself. 96% of those clients being Christian’s themselves sick of being told they’re not the right kind.”

This is especially so when you target members of the Chaplains Corps. Also, your recent comments are completely hypocritical. You condemn a current Chaplain for invoking the words of GEN Eisenhower and demand the Chaplain be punished. However, you make no mention of GEN Eisenhower. Those were his words.

” The Chaplain who wrote the article in question made no mention of Eisenhower nor ever claimed he was invoking the words of Eisenhower. This is a constructed straw-man attempting to sanctify the false truism. This is not only hypocritical on your part, it’s naked pandering. ”

If you feel as strongly as your wickedly crafted words would indicate, then your failure to call upon the DoD to post-humously punish Ike is hypocritical.

“To seek posthumous punishment of someone who may have violated current military policy (AFI 1-1, section 2.11) would not only be illegal (e.g. ex post facto), it would be the ultimate hypocrisy. MRFF responds to client complaints regarding current actions. MRFF always responds to current personnel operating under current policies. ”

Military Chaplains come to the aid of service members 24/7, every day of the year. I’ve seen them at work and I can honestly tell you that I’ve never seen one push his faith on a service member. When service members are depressed, distraught, or suicidal, the Chaplains are often the second ones called and the first to make a difference – and they do it in such a way that you would never be able to guess what faith they practice. Naturally I speak only from my experiences, but they are more than just a few.

” 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. I’m very happy for your experiences a2. Of all the infringements upon civil rights, conducted by the military, the least damaging, least obtrusive, and least present is that related to religion and the expression thereof. nd those of others not actively or aggressively proselytized while in uniform. However, the logical fallacy created by the faulty generalization of your experiences is easily dismissed by numerous examples available throughout the MRFF website. One such powerful example of Chaplain’s using their position to impose their faith is presented in the video entitled U.S. Military being used as Government-Paid Missionaries (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB1UifGIqaw). This is a small collection of clips showing military chaplains (in their own words) and some of the many fundamentalist parachurch ministries that operate freely within the military clearly stating what their real mission is.”

2. Of all the infringements upon civil rights, conducted by the military, the least damaging, least obtrusive, and least present is that related to religion and the expression thereof.

“Interesting opinion based in no small part on your personal experiences alone.”

3. Survey court records and records of the boards for correction of military records throughout the service branches. You will quickly find many cases in which service members claim to have had one or more of their civil rights violated by the military. Of those cases, those pertaining to religion are few and far between. Due process, other components of free speech, representation, counsel, and fair and impartial application of adjudicatory proceedings not only far outweigh issues related to religious expression, but the tolling of these infringements is wide spread and severe. Lives and families are utterly destroyed by these actions. Every day throughout the military, members are administratively separated for unfounded reasons, by means of unjust procedures, and without any semblance of equal footing in the eyes of the law. A recent federal court decision stated that service members have no ‘Bivens’ type recourse for damages suffered while in the service, and that includes civil rights violations, no matter how severe. First of all, such jurisprudence could be used to justify the military turning a deaf ear to everything you say, so long as they don’t have institutional policies and actions that substantively deprive civil rights. Second of all, that court decision and the long history of abuse with regard to virtually every administrative action in the military, should be what an organization such as yours targets. If you claim to defend civil rights of military members, why not defend the ones that are violated and attack the causes for those violations and the damages they inflict?

“Quite a lengthy argument for what can be summed up as “Just look the other way; they’re bigger fish to fry”. An interesting argument particularly in light of international conflicts and internal pressures directly impacting the U.S. Military. In regards to international conflicts, I think I read somewhere recently that our nation is extremely concerned about and supportive of SECULAR democracies forming in the Middle East in the wake of both U.S. military action (Afghanistan & Iraq) and the ‘Arab Spring’. Meanwhile we have an extremely active movement in this country known as Christian Dominionism & 7-Mountains Theology (please feel free to research the terms if you are unfamiliar).
While you are entitled to your opinion regarding the relative importance of civil rights issues, so is MRFF on behalf of our clients and country. Thanks for the advice, but we’ll stick to focusing on our clients rights and their obvious intersection with the U.S. Military conflicts and pressures listed.”

Do not underestimate the damage done, largely unseen, by administrative proceedings. They are devastating, virtually unchecked, totally lacking of oversight, and their whimsical nature strikes at the heart of justice and all the rights our Constitution was designed to secure. Yet, your organization says nothing. But when a Chaplain echoes the words of a former General, you are up in arms.

” We’re well aware of the damage done by administrative decisions, MRFF responds to them daily. We’re also aware that the environment perpetuated by the false statement that “There are no atheist in foxholes” not only denigrates the combat service of atheists, it projects a weakness of character onto atheists that leads to this type of administrative proceeding affecting the military careers of atheists:
The United States Marine Corps (USMC) maintains in its doctrine that a “Lack or loss of spiritual faith” is just cause to increase scrutiny of any given Marine. This clause is present in at least two USMC publications, including Marine Corps Base Quantico’s Headquarters and Service Battalion Order 5100.29 and Training and Education Command Order 5100.1.
“Lack or loss of spiritual faith” is included as a “Guidance/moral compass issue” in both of these documents under a list of risk indicators for use by “leaders at all levels” to “identify and address risky behavior or events that may lead to risky behavior, as soon as possible.” This apparent character flaw is juxtaposed with such things as “lack of courage,” “history of psychiatric hospitalizations,” “past or current substance abuse history,” and being “anti-social.” In the simplest terms, it is the current official position of the United States Marine Corps that those who do not profess a religious belief or choose to leave their religion are to be considered a potential hazard to themselves and the Corps and be placed under greater scrutiny than their peers.
The documents go on to include directives on how to convene a “Force Preservation Council” with the mission to evaluate and assist Marines that are identified as high risk through the checklist of undesirable traits (such as lack of religion).
(source: The United States Marine Corps Officially Declares ‘Lack of Spiritual Faith’ as a Sign of Instability, by Blake Page, Huffington Post, 7/25/2013)
An unconstitutional religious test by any other name is still an unconstitutional religious test. The combat service of an atheist, and there have been many, is no less valuable to the U.S. Military and the Constitution its members are sworn to uphold than Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Agnostics, whatever. Furthermore, this administrative process would go unseen and unchallenged if it were not for MRFF and its clients bringing this to light and challenging it. We chose not to look the other way.”

During the current period of downsizing, service members are going to need every bit of assistance they can get as administrative measures to reduce the force are going to wreck lives, destroy families, soil reputations, end careers, and add to the unemployment line. There has never been and never will be a time when trampling fundamental rights under the boot of military authority can be seen as a productive activity for our military and its obligation to support and defend the Constitution. The fact that your organization wishes to attend to that issue is laudable.

” No argument here. ”

But, to have a positive effect, you must go after the problems that exist, that demonstrate impropriety, and inflict the greatest damage

” MRFF stands by its positive effect on the impropriety of holding one religion above others (or no religion) in a military sworn to uphold the Constitution of a secular representative democracy. To ‘look the other way’ would facilitate almost un-imaginable damage on our clients civil rights and our national interests.”

Thank you.

“Thanks for sharing your concerns/opinions,”
Andy Kasehagen

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