Can’t be separated

Hello,

My name is SGT (name withheld), a US Army veteran having served in Afghanistan, and currently serving as a Civil Affairs team sergeant in the USAR. I am a devote follower of Christ, and freely practice my faith as a service member. I understand your organizations desire to see a military void of religious influence, and I will tell you: that is NOT possible.

I honestly commend your organization for its efforts in the pursuit of total freedom in its “purest” (read: literal) sense, but you are at best misguided and at worst propagating a lie. The lie being that a military can exist void of religious influence. Now, in the spirit of fairness, I will freely admit that though my faith calls for a responsibility of its believers to share their faith; that doesn’t necessarily suggest I “plaster the walls with it.” However, it does suggest that I share my faith with those who are lost and looking for direction.

Now, brother, let me tell you, if you’ve ever been in a situation where your life is in danger, then you understand perfectly well the desire to find Higher authority in moments of great crisis. The problem with your organizations mission is the attempted quelling of that desire in an effort to somehow sterilize the military. You can’t do it. No matter how hard you try, when someone sees their buddy bleeding out, they are going to plead with God for help. Moreover, its dangerous to that soldier/marine/airmen/seaman’s well-being if you tell him that its unacceptable to try to cope with that loss by reaching out to whomever they worship.

I don’t believe you are intentionally doing this to our troops. I’ve read the transcripts from both of your posted email sections titled “fan mail” and “hate mail” (which, by the way, the posting of hate mail as if it were a badge of honor makes you seem like a group of teenage Internet trolls). In those emails I found that you’ve responded to people with the argument that though your staff is comprised of many different people from many different walks of faith, you all agree that keeping religion and the military separate is in the best interest of the troops. Though you all may be of different faith backgrounds, I believe the one thing you all have in common is a critical lack of understanding in battlefield mentality.

It is that lack of understanding that is allowing you all to believe the lie that religion has no place in the military. Wars are fought for many different reason, the people that fight in them do so because they believe in something greater than themselves. I’m not saying everyone will believe in the exact same thing, but what I’m saying is they will believe in something, and it will tie in closely with their service to their country.

I apologize for the lengthy email, and if you are still reading, I would like to thank you for your obvious devotion to military servicemen and women. I understand that you do not hate those military members who do openly practice their faith. My only objective in this email was to point out the untruth of a possible separation between faith and service.

Thank you and God Bless,

(name withheld)


Hi (name withheld),

Thank you for your earnest E-mail and your dedicated service to America.

My name is Rick Baker and I am a former Air Force Officer and rescue pilot having served two consecutive combat tour of duty in Vietnam. I am also an MRFF Volunteer and have been asked to respond to your note.

First, I must tell you that we at MRFF have no desire to see a military devoid of religious influence. Our mission is to guarantee each and every member of the Armed Forces the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution.

Our vision is a military in which each individual, irrespective of his faith or non belief is protected by constitutional provision and military regulation.

The problem as we see it is that some religious groups believe that the Christian religion is the heart of the military and attempt to convert non-Christians or influence existing Christians to become more responsive to militant religious activity.

These groups, such as the Officers Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ Military Mission have become quite well established in the military and exercise a growing influence. The major offender is the Dominion Christian Organization, which places extreme Christianity above all else.

My experience in combat as a rescue pilot was that we attended many wounded air crew and often other service branch members and even civilians.

The severely wounded rarely vocalized anything except moans and groans. The less severely wounded seemed to be angry about what happened and many were cursing the enemy as they were treated. There were a few who used terms such as “Oh God, am I going to die?” But the majority called out to family, loved ones, wives, husbands and children in their hour of danger. They may well have been thinking about God but unless I missed it, were more concerned with family.

I was raised a Catholic and in situations where we received severe battle damage I can remember being very afraid of only one person and that was my crew chief who was going to come unglued, as he considered our aircraft his “baby” and couldn’t stand seeing it take any fire. I do recall praying that he would be calm and allow me to live.

Thank you for your note and your consideration.

Rick Baker
Capt. USAF (Ret)
MRFF Volunteer

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