My Faith

Dear MRFF,

My name is (name withheld). I am a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Air Force and am currently stationed at Shaw AFB, SC. As one would expect, I have heard the news about the removal of some, if not all of the components of the Nativity scene that was located and positioned at Memorial Lake. While it is regrettable that your organization would take such an aggressive stance against Christianity, as a Non-denominational Christian myself, all I can say in response, is that despite these attacks (because let’s be honest, they are attacks on multiple levels), I am called to forgive and love you all the same.

This is not sparked by some seasonal impulse or Christmas-time compulsion, but a core belief that has been growing and developing within me ever since I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. While the human nature in me feels compelled to react in a defensive and ultimately counterproductive way, the Holy Spirit in me can only tell you that no matter what you do or say, God loves you and truly wants nothing more than to have a relationship with you. I know, call me crazy or irrational or a myriad of other epithets, but I’m serious when I tell you, although you don’t even believe in the God I am talking about, I can say on pretty good authority that you are in fact, loved. This is the narrative of the bible I wish would be more widespread, in that, despite our wicked nature as fallen creations, God loves us. It defies all logic, but then again, God is not bound by logic.

When I hear stories about individuals such as Mr. Weinstein, to me, there is a sliver of hope that God, as he did with Paul (formerly Saul), will turn someone who was once an enemy and killer of Christians, into arguably one the most renowned and famous evangelists to ever walk this earth (other than Christ himself). Believe it or not, if you will allow him, God can turn what was once considered not-so-good (from a Christian’s perspective) into something wonderful and beautiful. I only say this because as a believer, I want nothing more than to share the gospel with those far from God, ultimately, in the hope that they themselves will meet and develop their own relationship.

Here’s another aspect that you may not have considered. Once again, from a Christian’s perspective, what you are advocating for and fighting so vehemently against in terms of completely eliminating Christianity from all areas of Government service, comes really as no surprise to believers. What is encouraging is that the more God is marginalized across this country and the world at large, the more prophesy is being fulfilled and the more truth your actions are actually speaking in favor of Christian beliefs. So, as far as I can tell, what is happening all across the world, is exactly what was foreseen thousands of years ago–so I’m going to put that in the win column! 🙂

My faith, I feel, enhances my effectiveness and ability to lead as an Officer in the Air Force. I know you would disagree, but the beliefs I espouse are not just random thoughts that appear from time to time, and I do my best not to just pick and choose what to believe based on convenience or anything of that nature, but Jesus has done an irreversible work in me, a work that I don’t deserve. I try to apply all of Christ’s teachings to my everyday life and how I choose to lead. To me, what better example of leadership is there than from God himself? Christ encouraged selflessness and sacrifice and lived it every day. Above all else, he commands us to love one another and treat those how we would want to be treated. I hope these are not qualities you would discourage from members of your military. I’ll never be perfect, that’s not the goal nor intent, I am in need of a Savior because I can’t do this life alone and I thank God everyday for not giving up on me. This is the kind of conviction I pray the Holy Spirit will bring to you and anyone who may read this e-mail.

Here’s the bottom line. Whether you believe it or not, whether you like it or not, you are loved. Any person who would write hateful, vitriolic venom your way under the guise of being a “Christian” may need to re-examine their own beliefs. The last time I checked, the Lord I serve, that being Jesus Christ, the Son of God, by his example, would love you and accept you and most importantly, forgive you, for any action you would take against him. That’s the example and interpretation of the gospel I believe in and that is what I wanted to share with you today. No matter what actions or stance you may take against my Christian beliefs, I will never hate you for it. Instead, I will forgive you, pray for you, and love you as if you were a Brother/Sister in Christ.

Very Respectfully,

(name withheld)


Dear (name withheld),

I have been asked to respond to you.

We are not anti-Christian in anyway but the media deliberately withholds and
distorts the truth about us in order to anger Christians and send us email
such as yours.

Mikey is Jewish (not an atheist) and 75% of the Board, Advisory Board,
volunteers and supporters with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation
(MRFF) are Christian. Also, 96% of our soldiers clients (1 can represent 50)
are Christians. We support the rights of Christians more than any other
religion.

Though I don’t deny your sincerity towards your faith in Jesus (I do, too),
you’re the politest one to cloak your condemning words under the guise of
forgiveness and love by the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Let me show you what we Christians read from your email without the fluff
and self-righteousness.

Let me show you what we Christians read from your email without the fluff
and self-righteousness.

Dear MRFF,

My name is Joseph Mitchell. I am a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Air
Force and am currently stationed at Shaw AFB, SC. As one would expect, I
have heard the news about the removal of some, if not all of the components
of the Nativity scene that was located and positioned at Memorial Lake.
While it is regrettable that your organization would take such an aggressive
stance against Christianity, as a Non-denominational Christian myself, all I
can say in response, is that despite these attacks (because let’s be honest,
they are attacks on multiple levels), I am called to forgive and love you
all the same.

This is not sparked by some seasonal impulse or Christmas-time compulsion,
but a core belief that has been growing and developing within me ever since
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. While the human nature in me
feels compelled to react in a defensive and ultimately counterproductive
way, the Holy Spirit in me can only tell you that no matter what you do or
say, God loves you and truly wants nothing more than to have a relationship
with you. I know, call me crazy or irrational or a myriad of other
epithets, but I’m serious when I tell you, although you don’t even believe
in the God I am talking about, I can say on pretty good authority that you
are in fact, loved. This is the narrative of the bible I wish would be more
widespread, in that, despite our wicked nature as fallen creations, God
loves us. It defies all logic, but then again, God is not bound by logic.

When I hear stories about individuals such as Mr. Weinstein, to me, there is
a sliver of hope that God, as he did with Paul (formerly Saul), will turn
someone who was once an enemy and killer of Christians, into arguably one
the most renowned and famous evangelists to ever walk this earth (other than
Christ himself). Believe it or not, if you will allow him, God can turn
what was once considered not-so-good (from a Christian’s perspective) into
something wonderful and beautiful. I only say this because as a believer, I
want nothing more than to share the gospel with those far from God,
ultimately, in the hope that they themselves will meet and develop their own
relationship.

Here’s another aspect that you may not have considered. Once again, from a
Christian’s perspective, what you are advocating for and fighting so
vehemently against in terms of completely eliminating Christianity from all
areas of Government service, comes really as no surprise to believers. What
is encouraging is that the more God is ma rginalized across this country and
the world at large, the more prophesy is being fulfilled and the more truth
your actions are actually speaking in favor of Christian beliefs. So, as
far as I can tell, what is happening all across the world, is exactly what
was foreseen thousands of years ago–so I’m going to put that in the win
column! 🙂

My faith, I feel, enhances my effectiveness and ability to lead as an
Officer in the Air Force. I know you would disagree, but the beliefs I
espouse are not just random thoughts that appear from time to time, and I do
my best not to just pick and choose what to believe based on convenience or
anything of that nature, but Jesus has done an irreversible work in me, a
work that I don’t deserve. I try to apply all of Christ’s teachings to my
everyday life and how I choose to lead. To me, what better example of
leadership is there than from God himself? Christ encouraged selflessness
and sacrifice and lived it every day. Above all else, he commands us to
love one another and treat those how we would want to be treated. I hope
these are not qualities you would discourage from members of your military.
I’ll never be perfect, that’s not the goal nor intent, I am in need of a
Savior because I can’t do this life alone and I thank God everyday for not
giving up on me. This is the kind of conviction I pray the Holy Spirit will
bring to you and anyone who may read this e-mail.
Here’s the bottom line. Whether you believe it or not, whether you like it
or not, you are loved. Any person who would write hateful, vitriolic venom
your way under the guise of being a “Christian” may need to re-examine their
own beliefs. The last time I checked, the Lord I serve, that being Jesus
Christ, the Son of God, by his example, would love you and accept you and
most importantly, forgive you, for any action you would take against him.
That’s the example and interpretation of the gospel I believe in and that is
what I wanted to share with you today. No matter what actions or stance you
may take against my Christian beliefs, I will never hate you for it.
Instead, I will forgive you, pray for you, and love you as if you were a
Brother/Sister in Christ.

You will forgive us? For what? For defending the Constitution and military
law?

The Air Force has strict laws on religion.

BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE

Air Force Instruction 1-1

7 August 2012
2.11. Government Neutrality Regarding Religion. Leaders at all levels must
balance constitutional protections for an individual’s free exercise of
religion or other personal beliefs and the constitutional prohibition
against governmental establishment of religion. For example, they must avoid
the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal
religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment
for any religion. Commanders or supervisors who engage in such behavior may
cause members to doubt their impartiality and objectivity. The potential
result is a degradation of the unit’s morale, good order, and discipline.
Airmen, especially commanders and supervisors, must ensure that in
exercising their right of religious free expression, they do not degrade
morale, good order, and discipline in the Air Force or degrade the trust and
confidence that the public has in the United States Air Force.

Our military is a government entity and must remain secular. All religious
holidays, feasts and obligations are to be in the hands of the Chaplains on
Chapel grounds. This is legal and we encourage it. The Christians can put up
a tree, a Nativity scene and any other decorations they want on their
grounds – not any place on base they want.
We are not taking your religious freedoms away. You are still able to go to
the church of your choice, read your bible and celebrate Christian holidays.
To say that we are doing that is a real stretch.

You have been deceived.

Pastor Joan

MRFF Advisory Board Member


Pastor Joan,
>
> Thank you for your response! And please, call me (name withheld) :D! I apologize if I
> came across as fluffy or self-righteous. If anything I was trying to
> express how your organization’s actions make me feel as a Christian man in a
> non-threatening and uplifting manner. As much as it pains me to say, the
> perception that I’ve garnered from your website and some of the things I’ve
> read (from your website) regarding the great lengths your organization takes
> regarding the expression of Christianity specifically was troubling. It may
> not have been your intent to come across that way, but the was the
> perception that was created (for me anyway) solely from the information put
> out by your organization.
>
> I hope my words didn’t come across as condemning, but if so, that was not my
> intent and I apologize if that is how it was interpreted. I’m glad I came
> across as polite because that is how I am trying to approach this situation.
> I harbor no ill-will towards you or your organization and I am doing my best
> (or as best I can through e-mail haha) to put into practice what I believe
> and ultimately, share Christ’s love with anyone and everyone who will take
> the time to listen.
>
> Thank you for taking the time to respond to my correspondence and I pray you
> have a wonderful Christmas, a Happy Holiday, and I hope you enjoy your time
> with family during this fantastic season!! I’m thinking 2014 is going to be
> pretty amazing and I can only imagine what God has in store!! Be Blessed
> Pastor Joan and whenever you have some free time, maybe you could check out
> www.Newspring.cc. Newspring is the church I attend and they have an amazing
> website! Anyways, I hope I haven’t come across as argumentative and if
> nothing else, maybe we can just agree to disagree :).
>
> Very Respectfully,
>
> (name withheld)


Dear (name withheld),

> Thank you for your kind response.
>
> We get so many hate emails and some with death threats, that yours was
> refreshing. We are inundated with emails and there are many of us that
> respond to each and every email. After a while they all blur into one. I’m
> sorry, too, for offending you in any way.
>
> Our website does not contain information that we are privy to that leads us
> in the directions we chose because we cannot post that.
>
> We don’t chose every soldier’s complaint because we don’t want to step
> beyond the Constitution and military law. In fact, if you go to our website,
> click on “About” and then click on “Foundation Voices” you will see many
> distinguished military personnel that we rely on for guidance.
>
> We are not trying to rid Christianity but we are trying to stop an extreme
> form of it.
>
> US Army chaplain MAJ James Linzey, who, in a 1999 video, described
> mainstream Protestant churches as “demonic, dastardly creatures from the pit
> of hell “that should be “stomped out.”
>
> This is what is going on in the military today all the way up the chain of
> command. Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Evangelicals, etc. are
> told that they are not the “right kind” of Christian and going to hell. This
> Chaplains words – “stomped out”- is exactly why 96% of our clients are
> Christian. They are being harassed, sometimes beaten, given poor performance
> ratings, withheld advances and sometimes drummed out of the military on
> trumped up charges.
>
> I and MRFF believe that ALL Christians have the right to practice their
> faith in – whatever denomination they choose – under the Constitution.
>
> The Nativity incident happened because some “volunteers” placed it by a
> lake. On base there are designated areas for religious decorations because
> our military is secular and the lake is not one of them. We are not against
> a Nativity at all but it must be placed where military law tells them. The
> base knew it was wrong and immediately had it moved.
>
> Joey, believe me, if MRFF was anything like I read and hear in the news I
> would have left a long time ago. But it’s not because I am privy to stuff
> and know the inner workings that allow our mainline Christians to be treated
> in a very un-Christian manner.
>
> Please do me a favor and contact me when you come across anything that
> portrays us as un-Christian. I will tell you the truth on it.
>
> Keep in touch!
>
> Your sister in Christ,
>
> Pastor Joan

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