Lies?!

sounds to me like your organization is NOT for freedoms. Sounds like you want to make religion stand in the corner, and muzzle and bind those who practice it. And not let them have any say in the public arena. Aren’t you using your own deeply held views to attack and constrain others who don’t share your opinions? Sounds like you are using words to bend an shape the truth to your own liking. You are using a thin and fragile veneer of “standing up for the oppressed” to justify your livid oppression and antagonism of religion. Sounds like you have an axe to grind.

(name withheld)


Dear (name withheld),

I’ve been asked to respond on behalf of MRFF.

To borrow from your own email, “sounds” like you don’t know what you’re talking about. “Sounds” like you got your information from misleading news casts, i.e., Fox. “Sounds” like you never saw the research reporting that Fox followers are even more ignorant of the news than those who watch no television at all.

“Sounds” like your definition of “religious freedom” is to shove one religion down everyone’s throat, because you think that’s legal, ethical, and American.

“Sounds” like you should research that. You won’t believe the truth coming from anyone who doesn’t agree with you, and if I agreed with you, we’d both be falling for lies.

Oh, and one more thing: “Sounds” like you never served in our military, or you’d realize the importance of protecting individual service members from religious proselytizing and religious bias in their chains of command.

Sincerely,
A veteran and MRFF supporter


Hi (name withheld),

Given what you’ve said here, I think you’re not listening to the MRFF. You may be listening to the people who twist and purposely misinterpret what the organization stands for and what it does.

Just to clarify, no one here is trying “to make religion stand in the corner.” The vast majority of those involved with the MRFF are Christians. There are people of all beliefs and no belief among us and we share the view that everyone has the right to the belief of his or her choice. What we oppose is the forced proselytizing certain Christian fundamentalists who happen to be in positions of military authority push on those in their command.

We have no interest in “muzzl(ing) and bind(ing) those who practice” their religion, except when they push it on others in violation of the separation of church and state. They are free to believe what they believe and say what they choose to say when in church or in appropriate situations, but not when they are acting in a manner that imposes that belief on military personnel who are required to listen to them and suffer consequences when they don’t accept their viewpoint.

You raise and interesting point about “the pubic arena.” People are, of course, free to speak in the public arena, but they may not use the power of their station to require those under their command to listen, nor can they penalize them when they don’t accept their view.

Our “deeply held views” are a belief in the Constitution of the United States, a commitment to following its laws, and a dedication to ensuring that everyone in the military has an equal right to his or her personal belief or non-belief without suffering a penalty for it.

I hope this helps you have a better understanding of our organization and its work. And I hope it will help you better protect yourself from those who are putting out such bad information.

Best,

Mike Farrell


Hello (name withheld),

My name is Rick Baker. I’m a former Air Force Officer and rescue pilot and an MRFF volunteer.

I read your e-mail to MRFF and felt I should try to correct your misconceptions about MRFF.

We are currently addressing over 35,000 complaints from our young men and women in the armed forces (all branches) who have found themselves in the grip of supervisory personnel who are exercising command centered and coercive Christian based proselytizing. It is these 35,000 axes we are grinding.

It turns out that the most toxic of these Christian proselytizers are part of an emerging sect of Christianity known as “Dominion Christians.” If you are not familiar with this term just Google it for a chilling glimpse into religion run amok.

It is this caustic group against which MRFF is directing it’s actions and not those practicing under lawful conditions.

The actions of the Dominion Christians is clearly unconstitutional and must be addressed by discovery and reporting illegal acts to higher echelon chain of command.

We have no desire to disturb any legitimate Christian or any of the other many religions found in the military.

I hope this gives you a better picture of our efforts and I invite you to visit our web site at militaryreligiousfreedom.org for much more information on MRFF and our goals.

Sincerely,

Rick Baker
Capt. USAF (Ret)
MRFF Volunteer


Dear Mr. Ferrall,

From my perusal of your website and from the responses I have gotten from those in your organization, it is obvious to me that I and your organization are on different sides of the political spectrum. I detect that your organization is clearly coming from a liberal political stance. I’m confident it is just as clear to you that I am a conservative. The debate really comes down to the controversial topic of what does freedom of religion really mean, correct? I would say, and our constitution says it is one of our certain “unalienable” rights. that means to conservatives that it can’t or should not be taken away or restricted. It is plain to me that many including your organization are working to pretty severely limit where religion is practiced. I would say that is anathema to our constitution and detrimental to society, despite “interpretations” and public policy practiced to the contrary by some . I have no animosity toward those who hold to a different view. However, I obviously think they are part of a and freedom endangering movement. We also obviously hold different interpretations of the 1st amendment. From a straightforward reading I, and most other conservatives, do not see what part of “…make no law…” is not understood. Obviously laws and policies limiting religious practice are being put into place. If, as you say there is abuse because of “imposing their views on others” (of which I am very skeptical is widespread)by some (more likely I think it is hyper-sensitivity, and intolerance by those opposed to religion), then deal with it on a case by case basis. Don’t throw stones at religious practice in general in the military or other public arenas. Christianity does much good and is a comfort to millions. Eliminate its influence and society will bear ugly consequences.

Have a good day,
(name withheld)

p.s. below, I am including text from e-mail sent to others who have responded to me.

Respectfully, I disagree with your assessment. I would like to share some thoughts. I have a great appreciation, thankfulness for and support of our people in uniform. I have never personally served in the US armed forces. However I do have several close family members who have served in the Marines, Navy, Air-force, and Army, Almost all of them are Christian and all not now serving received honorable discharges. NONE of them are happy with the discrimination starting to be practiced against religion and especially that targeted against the Christian religion. The attack is obvious, systematic, and predictable. These Vets and current soldiers fought and are fighting in the world arena to promote and win freedoms such as our own so that others may have a chance at freedom. It is a travesty that in a country founded on the principles of freedom of RELIGION and PRESS, and SPEECH that we are loosing those freedom’s. In a free country all are supposed to be free to participate in society, in the PUBLIC realm and influence public policy. If, as is being promoted, practice of religion is only allowed in the non-public arena, that sounds like a muzzle, a cage, a prison cell. That is not freedom that is oppression. None of the Christian chaplains I know of “shove one religion down everyone’s throat”, (its just an accusation based on the dissenting opinion of the hearer) they are practicing their right of freedom of speech and they are there to help. Christian’s in general are the largest most compassionate, benevolent and loving group in society and minister to all manner of people groups, like minded or not. They are trying to promote the betterment of our culture. Why do some complain that these doing good are out of order? There are thousands of Christian groups on the local, national and worldwide levels that give relief to the hungry, dis-advantaged and oppressed. When America goes to war, there are Christian relief organizations that go to care for the victims of war! What other Country does that on the scale of the U.S.? That is distinctly a Christian idea, to love even ones enemy. That is not an intrinsic or natural response. Why would anyone want to discourage such an influence in society? Even if some are offended by the Christian religion, can’t they man up (or woman up), politely decline and let it pass? I expect that for the most part many do. However there is a growing trend for extreme reaction against anything some don’t like, especially anything resembling Christianity. Is this a mature or reasonable response that respects others rights and beliefs? Our rights include freedom of religion (not from the influence of), freedom of the press (not censorship), and freedom of speech (not freedom of silence of those you do not want to hear). I do not agree with your assessment at all that there is undue influence. I think that is an exaggeration being promoted by intolerant “Christo-phobes” ( I do not intend the term to be derogatory). If pacifists (which I am not) are deeply offended by war and the military, is the proper response to eliminate the military in order to placate that group? No. Everyone in society has different Ideas. I thought tolerance was being promoted. Is tolerance only embraced for those whom you agree with? that is not tolerance it is bias. Allowing freedom of ideas encourages a healthy society. Is the reason some have such spitefulness towards Christians is that they become convicted of the conditions of their own hearts? I think this is absolutely the reason. (I’m not suggesting that all who promote this agenda are driven by this response, but I am suspicious that many are. With others it is purely their ideological worldview). No person has ultimate control of the thoughts of another. Sane people (most of society) have control of their own thoughts. No one can control your own thoughts unless you allow them to. If this supposition is accepted, then if one feels some lasting and undeniable impression in ones own mind that he can’t deny or choose to expel from his thinking, then it must be from someone or something other than another person. If the influence of a Christian brings God’s conviction to the person, no matter how kind the Christian’s influence, a person sometimes reacts negatively against the Christian when they are in reality rejecting the conviction of God. If someone falsely accused me of cheating on my wife but I knew I was innocent, the accusation would be unpleasant but I would feel no guilt. However if the accusation were true, I would justly feel guilty (and at the same time probably mad at the person who outed me). Guilt can be a healthy emotion if it convinces you to refrain from future harmful offenses. Guilt is painful. But God, the Christian God of the Bible offers forgiveness, an erasure of guilt over past offenses. He also offers Power. Power to live one’s life in a wholesome and prudent manner. That is a response that makes for a robust and thriving society. Why would we want to discourage that in any way? The US Constitution charges our Congress to (…make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…) Our public policy and law is starting to be laced with anti-free exercise implications in violation of the free exercise clause of the Constitution. Everyone living has committed offenses against someone. We are all fallible. That being the case, shouldn’t we promote patience with our fellow man and not react by restricting the legitimate freedoms of others? I urge you to re-think your stance on this. The reason given by some to justify their position is that they receive many complaints from those offended by the exercise of religion. What about the complaints by religious folks saying their rights are being trampled on? are they being treated with the same dignity, or are they being condemned? Please endeavor to keep our society free for all.

Please consider this.

Also I want to express a heartfelt thanks to you personally for your service to Our Country.

Regards, (name withheld)

p.s. in regards to your reference to “Dominion Christians” I’ve heard it used primarily by those hostile to Christianity and those that fear “theocracy” and who use the term derogatorily and direct it to all Christians in general. Most Christian’s seek to influence and bring about changes to society for the better, and obviously do so according to the principles they believe in and do so fervently in hopes that there convictions will be manifest in public policy. Many other groups, secular or religious do exactly the same. There can, no doubt, be those who hold errant views. However, with all respect, I very much doubt that this is more than a tactic to justify expulsion of Christian influence in the military. I am very concerned that in this country we are headed down the road to persecution of those who do not hold to the “correct” views promoted by those in power. It has happened before in history, and it was always ugly.


Dear (name withheld),

have no problem with your political position, but I do have a problem with your insisting that you know the MRFF comes from an adversarial position, “a liberal political stance.” There is no political litmus test (come on, there are several instances where people of faith were dismissed merely because they were people of faith, and “free thinkers,” such as your organization, refuse to let others think freely) being involved with the MRFF, period. Just as our number includes people of many different faiths and belief systems, including those having no faith and what are called ‘free thinkers,’ the same is certainly true of their political views. And I don’t see how there can be much difference of opinion about the meaning of ‘freedom of religion.’ People are free to believe (but not practice) what they choose. We are in agreement that this is one of our “unalienable rights.” Where we part company is that you insist on believing that we are “working to pretty severely limit where religion (again true religion is practiced not just “believed”) is practiced.” We are not. We are, however, strong believers in the separation of church and state (our interpretations on what this means differs) as laid out in our nation’s laws. As the law holds, the government, and that includes the military, cannot promote, (our government has promoted Christianity since before day 1) promulgate, or appear (the implications here are severe and have the effect of making religion impotent) to be promoting or promulgating, one religion over another. Period. (?? in your viewpoint) (this is a typical liberal interpretation)

So, when the Nativity scene at Shaw AFB was set up by the officers of the base in a place where it appeared to represent the religious view of the U.S. military, (I feel you are stretching this. It’s silly.) (so for example, if a person whose religion promoted pacifism, who works as a cook or medic, objected to military uniforms or open weapons display for the reason that it promoted the religion of those who promote just war theory, would you ban uniforms and weapons? its the same thing. You can’t get around the fact that to keep people free there must be toleration not restriction. it violates the law and does injury to the separation of church and state. (again, in your opinion) However, when it was moved to the chapel grounds where it belongs, we no longer had a problem with it. (Until someone decides or objects that it doesn’t belong their either) It’s really very simple. There is nothing about our position that is “freedom endangering,” to use your phrase. What we are doing is protecting the freedom of every member of the service from being victimized (I have noticed those in your organization use very strong and incriminating words for those you don’t like. it smells like guilty before proven lanquage” by what is known as the tyranny of the majority. (every member? or only those who are on your side?)

You express skepticism about the possibility that cadets and men and women in the military are being forcibly proselytized. (sounds as if you are forcibly proselytizing your position on others. I have read several of the livid and nasty letters from your organization. Patience is a virtue.) If you want to cling to your position without investigating the reality, (your position is the only reality?) that’s your choice, but if you’re truly concerned about people imposing their views on others and subverting their ‘unalienable rights,” we have some pretty shocking experiences for you to hear about and learn from.

If, on the other hand, you’d rather hold to your view that it is only “hypersensitivity and intolerance by those opposed to religion,” it will be clear that this is your ideological position and you’re going to stick with it no matter what the facts may be. (again, you are the only ones who can correctly judge fact? ) -WF


Dear (name withheld),

Well, it appears this is a waste of time. It appears you’re incapable of hearing what I say, and I’m sorry.

The separation of church and state is not a matter of opinion. It is the law.

In the Supreme Court decision titled Lemon Vs. Kurzman 1971, the court ruled that government may not advance, promote, recommend or proselytize one religion over another or religion over non-religion.

If you choose to interpret what I say as being “liberal,” that’s your privilege. I think yours is an ideological fixation and nothing I say will be accepted because of it.

No “people of faith were dismissed merely because they were people of faith” to my knowledge. However, if “people of faith” break the law, it’s possible they’ll be forced to suffer consequences. If you have evidence of someone being dismissed simply because he or she is a person of faith, please let me know.

Contrary to your assertion, the MRFF does not refuse to let others think freely. In fact, protecting people’s right to do so is the point of our existence. At one point above, you seem to suggest that we keep people from practicing their faith. You say, “true religion is practiced,not just ‘believed.'” If “practicing their faith” means having an arm of the government such as the military promote a religion, then we would oppose it because it is against the law (see above). If practicing their faith means having superior officers require their subordinates attend services or listen to sermons of a faith they don’t share, we would oppose it for the same reason. If practicing their faith means criticizing or degrading the belief system of a member of the military by superiors or those who constitute the majority view, we would oppose it for the same reason.

Regarding your assertion that “our government has promoted Christianity since before day 1,” you are simply wrong. Washington was a Deist, Adams a Unitarian, Jefferson admired Jesus as a great moral teacher but was deeply skeptical about Christianity and wrote a version of the Bible in which he excised all the miracles and suggestions of divinity. Madison was a strict church-state separatist, opposing chaplains in the Congress and the military, refusing to allow government-issued prayer proclamations and vetoed giving government land for a church.

Your example about pacifism is entirely off-point. We’re happy to have people believe whatever they choose, we just don’t want the government involved in telling people what religion they should follow or forcing people to accept having one faith promoted over others.

I trust all of this will fall on deaf ears as you are stuck in your belief system. Well, you’re welcome to it, but the law says no arm of the government can force it on members of the military.

Mike Farrell

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