here you go again making trouble for everyone else–all people have the right to worship “as they please”–if they are in uniform when they do it –so what??? God and worship being eliminated from everything is why this country is ngoing to hell, and its people like you and organizations like this are a big part of that problem. its getting very sickening hearing your name and this groups name flashing across the news causing more trouble. enough already.

(name withheld)


Hi (name withheld),

Sorry, but you’re wrong about all people having the right to worship “as they please.” We at the MRFF are very much in support of the right of all people to believe as they choose and of their right to worship in a manner consistent with their belief system and the law. But there are appropriate restrictions that must be placed on worship under certain circumstances.

I’m sure you’d agree that if a person’s belief included the practice of human sacrifice, it cannot and should not be allowed in our society. So you see, my point is that there are sometimes good reasons for restrictions on the manner in which one practices her or his worship.

In the military, for example, there are very specific rules laid down for very good reasons. Air Force Instruction 1-1, for your information, requires all leaders to avoid “the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates.” Given the nature of the hierarchical structure of the military, you see, it would be far too easy for one in a position of authority to feel the need to profess his faith to those beneath him in a way that would make the subordinate individual feel intimidated and fearful that unless she or he agreed and accepted that belief system there would be problematic consequences.

The laws and traditions of our nation, in fact, go so far as to require a separation between church and state for that very reason. The founders wanted to take care to promote religious freedom (which includes the right to have no religion if one so chooses). To do so, it was decided, that the government should be careful to take no position that might imply the favoring or promotion of one religion over another.

So, the MRFF acts when an event or an action of an individual or organization endangers the freedom of religious choice or belief by piercing the veil of separation between church and state.

I don’t personally agree, by the way, with your assertion that “this country is going to hell,” but if that is your belief you’re welcome to it. In my view, the very important work of the MRFF is strengthening our country by protecting the freedom of its servicemen and women to believe and worship as they choose, within the understood limitations of government service.

Perhaps this understanding will help you to feel grateful that the MRFF is there protecting religious freedom instead of becoming sick when you hear we’re out there doing our job.

Best,

Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)


Good Day, (name withheld) –

Mikey Weinstein has read your email and asked if I’d provide a response. I’m a volunteer who supports MRFF in a variety of ways; I’m also a Christian and an AF veteran. I’m grateful for the opportunity to respond because I think you misunderstand the MRFF mission, and particularly I think you’ve misinterpreted the nature of the concerns recently raised about the National Day of Prayer Task Force. Hopefully, the information that I provide here will help to clear up those misconceptions.

MRFF has never challenged the rights of individual military members to worship in whatever faith tradition they desire to worship. In fact, the opposite is true — MRFF is dedicated to ensuring that all members of the US Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom to which they and all Americans are entitled by virtue of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. You may be surprised to learn that the most clients and supporters of MRFF are people of faith (and the vast majority of those are Christians), although those ranks also include many good, honorable people who do not believe in God. What brings us all together is a desire to protect the rights of all soldiers, sailors and airmen, both believers and non-believers. We are not anti-Christian nor anti-religion — rather, we are pro-Constitution.

The concerns raised by Mikey and MRFF that made the news recently are not a challenge to the National Day of Prayer itself. The issue at hand is much narrower than that, and relates specifically to the proposed use of military resources at an event being held by a private, sectarian group, the National Day of Prayer Task Force. Part of their mission statement says that the goal of the Task Force is “to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families.” Personally, I think that is a wonderful goal and, as a fellow Christian, I support it enthusiastically. But it is a sectarian mission of a non-governmental entity, which means that having any sort of official support from military units is out of bounds. I hope you can see how such involvement could be taken as endorsement of a particular religious affiliation — once again, clearly out of bounds.

Thanks again for taking the time to write to MRFF, I hope the perspective that I’ve provided is helpful.

Peace,

Mike Challman
Christian, AF Veteran, MRFF Supporter

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