Nomination Letter for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize

Thorbjørn Jagland

Chairman

Norwegian Nobel Committee

[Address Redacted]

Dear Chairman Jagland and Norwegian Nobel Committee Members:

Founded in 2005 by U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) honor graduate, lawyer, former White House legal counsel and businessman Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has courageously stood virtually alone to defend the brave and selfless men and women in the United States Armed Forces from the predations of an aggressive and entrenched group of belligerent, narrow-minded religious extremists. Borne of the bitter knowledge of religious harassment bordering on outright torment experienced by Mr. Weinstein and his sons, as well as his daughter-in-law, at USAFA, MRFF has made an indelible mark on the dialog regarding fundamentalist religion’s role in the enormous American national security apparatus. In consideration of the powerful and undeniably influential role the MRFF has played in undertaking this needed defense against fundamentalist Christian extremism in the ranks of the armed forces, I am honored to submit my nomination of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

It bears noting that the United States is unique among nations in terms of its military expenditures, with the Department of Defense’s base budget increasing from $390 billion in 2001 to $540 billion in 2011 – a dramatic increase of 38 percent. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, this staggering sum (which doesn’t even include military medical payments, veterans benefits, aerospace spending, or military aid to foreign governments) accounts for 45 percent of world military expenditures. Thus, the MRFF’s fight is of singularly paramount importance to buttressing the fraternity and security of future generations in all nations.

Mr. Weinstein has ceaselessly cautioned the world about what, precisely, the church-state separation wall’s potential collapse would mean: “The frightening prospect that our conventional and nuclear forces–technologically the most lethal organization ever created by humankind— [would fall] into the hands of a Christian Taliban.”

Were it not for the horrific abuses of the civil rights and religious liberties of U.S. servicemembers and the indigenous peoples of southwest Asia, the MRFF simply would not exist. These abuses have ranged from routine abuse spanning casual bullying and name-calling to lethal hazing, mandatory attendance at “Christian rock” concerts and prayer services, “Spiritual Fitness Tests,” and myriad forms of vicious religious disrespect, witch-hunting, bigotry, prejudice, marginalization, dehumanization and sectarian discrimination. This staggering crisis of religious intolerance and injustice has swelled the ranks of MRFF’s client base to over 35,000 active United States servicemembers, veterans, and civilian personnel; nearly 96% of whom are practicing Christians (Roman Catholic and Protestant) who are brutally mistreated due to a perception that they aren’t the “right type of Christian.”

The invaluable services MRFF provides include legal aid, counseling of a therapeutic nature, mutual support network-building among servicemember clients, fiercely outspoken media advocacy, and direct interventions throughout all echelons of the Department of Defense (DoD) for the purpose of redressing client grievances. On a limited budget derived from supporter donations alone, MRFF has managed to employ an impressive array of media tools, as well as vigorous federal and state litigation, to halt so-called “Dominionist” theocratic Christian nationalism’s onward march within the ranks of the U.S. military and military academia.

MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein has been no stranger to controversy; successful civil rights fighters rarely are.  I strongly hope that the Norwegian Nobel Committee doesn’t allow this fact to dissuade it from choosing the foundation as a most deserving recipient of the world’s most prestigious award. It is precisely MRFF’s boldly vocal, aggressive, and direct approach that has resulted in the protection of servicemember civil rights in the face of a withering campaign of fundamentalist religious extremist intolerance that targets the rights of American racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities.

In light of MRFF’s countless accomplishments and the important work it continues to devote itself to, it is my sincere hope that the Norwegian Nobel Committee takes into full consideration my nomination of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Sincerely,

[Name redacted]
[Organization redacted]

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