the Bible in the Air Force

Dear Mikey:

You sorry little sack of shit! Our men and women fight and die to give us the right to practice our religion wherever we want but you and other dicks want to take away that freedom. You need to read the Bill of Rights it says freedom OF Religion not freedom from Religion. How does it hurt anyone if our men and women in uniform want to read a Bible, it doesn’t you just want to trample on the rights of Christians. I haven’t heard you bitch about Soldiers being able to wear Muslim Scarves, why not, because like other pricks you only want to persecute Christians. Persecution is proof that Christ is right and he scares the crap out of idiots like you. You can’t run and hide.

(name withheld)


Dear (name withheld) –

Mikey has read your email and asked me to respond on behalf of MRFF. I am a volunteer who supports the organization in a number of ways, one of which is to help with email replies. It is important to Mikey that everyone who writes gets a response and has the opportunity for some dialogue about areas of concern. In your case, to be very frank, I’m not sure that you are interested in dialogue. I’m also not entirely sure if you are a Christian although I am guessing that you are… although the insults, profanity and general nastiness of your note seems decidedly un-Christian. I should mention that I am also a Christian, a USAFA graduate (’85) and an AF veteran. So despite my misgivings, I will still offer to you the same sort of response that I strive to give to all correspondents. If you are interested in having further dialogue, I’d be more than happy to do so (provided the tone is more polite).

I do agree completely with one thing you said — the brave men and women of the US armed forces fight and die to protect our rights and liberties, one of which is the freedom to practice whatever religious belief we wish, without interference from the government. That also means they fight and die for the right of people to believe things besides Christianity, and the right of people to have no religious beliefs at all. No one at MRFF is trying to take away anyone’s religious freedom — on the contrary, our sole focus is to ensure that the rights of all military members are protected and that no specific religious belief is promoted, favored or advanced over other beliefs (including non-belief).

You seem to believe that MRFF is trying to keep people from reading the Bible. This is patently false, so I’m glad to have the opportunity to correct your misconception. For starters, the majority of both supporters and clients of MRFF are Christians, and many more are devoted to other religious faiths. We fully support and will defend the right of EVERY military member to hold any religious belief. The ONLY thing we oppose is inappropriate proselytizing, which is prohibited by both the Constitution and military rules.

I’d also suggest that you might benefit from reading more about the Bill of Rights and what it says about religious protections. You are correct that it provides freedom OF religion for every individual — but it also offers freedom FROM government-sanctioned religious preference or pressure. In the case of the military, the “government” is the military leaders; the people who are subordinate to those leaders are entitled to freedom FROM any religious pressure, preference or proselytizing by those leaders.

Again, if I look past the nastiness of your email, I do think you raise some understandable concerns and I’ve tried to answer them as directly as possible. If you would like to discuss any of these items, or anything else further, feel free to reply to me at this email.

Peace,

Mike Challman
Christian, USAFA graduate, AF veteran, MRFF supporter

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