Religious Freedom

I was angered once again about the attacks on Christians in America. We have as much rights to say what we believe. Last time that I checked we are still a free country. We are suppose to be tolerant of other religions, so why aren’t you tolerant of us (Christians)? These soldiers dedicate themselves for freedoms in this country, yet you want to take them away. Shame on you and everyone else that doesn’t seem to stand for freedom to choose our religion. I am a born-again believer and this makes me want to shout it from the mountaintop even louder. I dare say that this gets me fired up to spread the word that Jesus Christ died on the cross for everyone’s sins including yours. God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son so no man shall perish, but have everlasting life. The only freedom I want to know is that Jesus Christ paid for. I sincerely pray that you will leave Christians alone and let them share the Gospel to everyone. May God bless you and this nation!!

Sincerely,

(name withheld)


Dear (name withheld),

I’m very sorry to hear that you have been led to believe that we are an anti-Christian organization. Nothing could be further from the truth! We stand up for the religious rights of all personnel in uniform. The statement you made is grossly erroneous and I hope I can clarify just what it is that we do.

Currently MRFF has over 39,000 clients. Of those clients 96% of them are practicing Christians who come to us for help because they are afraid of what will happen should they approach their chain of command for help. Most of the time our clients are persecuted. So the Christian persecution you read of in the news and on the internet is all too real. What they are not telling you, however, is who the persecutors are. The people conducting these egregious and wholly unConstitutional acts against our clients are none other than extremist Christians. They will tell our clients they “aren’t Christian enough” or “aren’t the right kind of Christian” and then pursue official courses of action to correct this mistake. That is the truth of it.

That is unConstitutional, immoral, and unconscionable. It is something we don’t and won’t stand for. These same extremist Christians then run to the press when we stand up against their religious bullying and claim they are the ones who are being persecuted. They twist the truth, spin lies, and try to make us out to be the bad guys. We receive lots of death threats from them – thousands in fact – but we cannot and will not back down because allowing our clients to be oppressed with nowhere to turn is not an option.

I’m very sorry that you have been misled by whomever was giving you your facts. If you truly have any more questions I am ready and willing to converse with you.

Very Respectfully,
Paul Loebe
Special Projects Manager
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Chicago, IL

*Disclaimer: Although I am a Marine Staff Sergeant I do not speak on behalf of the Department of Defense, United States Marine Corps, or any affiliated branches.*


Sorry if I got this wrong. Two questions: 1. Are you a born again believer? 2. Is Mikey Weinstein associated with this organization?

(name withheld)


Dear (name withheld),

1.) I am not a born again believer. I am the rare exception to the case in this organization. If you so desire I can forward you on to one of the many who work here that are.

2.) Mikey Weinstein is the President and founder of this organization.

Again, what you hear in the media and proclaimed across the internet are smear campaigns against what we really do. I am available should you have any further questions.

Very Respectfully,
Paul Loebe
Special Projects Manager
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Chicago, IL

*Disclaimer: Although I am a Marine Staff Sergeant I do not speak on behalf of the Department of Defense, United States Marine Corps, or any affiliated branches.*


I have read some of the statements that Mikey Weinstein has said on the internet. He sounds like he doesn’t represent your organization very well. I hope that he really isn’t saying the items that I have read such as he wants to beat up people and F… this and that. If someone wants respect than they should speak in an intelligent manner, don’t you think? He seems that he doesn’t want religion in the military at all. Is it true that he asked the Col. to censor the other Col.’s letter about his Christianity? If this isn’t true then I am sorry that someone is not reporting the truth, but I am glad to get to the bottom of this. If it is true, then I wholeheartedly disagree with the action.

(name withheld)


Dear (name withheld),

We are NOT attacking Christians in America. If this were so, I and the other Christians involved with the MRFF would not be here.

As far as the military is concerned, not all Christians are created equal. If you are an Evangelical/Fundamental/Dominionist, then you are welcomed into our modern day military. If you are a Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Evangelical (not all are Dominionists), etc. then you are ostracized because you are “not the right kind” or not “Christian enough.”

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.”

If you are not a dominionist then they want you stomped out and you’ve been duped into fighting for them.

I am a born-again Christian, too, but I don’t believe that we are to take dominion over the world by cleansing it of “not the right kind” of Christian, those of other religions or those of no affiliation, so that Jesus can some back and rule 1,000 years. This dominionist thinking throws out the book of Revelations which states that Jesus will come back with His heavenly army and cleanse the earth…not us.

As a Christian how would you like to be -?

Told you’re not “the right kind” of Christian or not “Christian enough?”
Told that you are going to hell because you do not believe in the Christian sect they do?
Given poor performance ratings because you won’t accept their sect?
Denied advancements because you are of a different sect?
Verbally abused with in-your-face religious proselytizing against your own religion?
Driven out of the military on trumped up charges?
Put on “point” on every mission?

And, there is more…so much more that our soldiers deal with every day from the dominionists in leadership positions in our military..

Christians in military do not have the same freedoms as the civilians do. Our military is secular and must remain that way under our Constitution and subsequent laws. Whoever wants to don the uniform of our military – regardless of his/her faith or no faith at all – is free to do so. Their oath of enlistment is to America and our Constitution – not the Christian bible.

If you got your information on us from reading an article, then you have been misled by an omission of facts.

The first is the Lemon Test.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment (Establishment Clause) of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise (Free Exercise Clause) thereof . . . “(1st Amendment)

The Establishment Clause comes before the Free Exercise Clause for a reason; the Free Exercise Clause is subservient to theEstablishment Clause – not the other way around as some Christians would like it to be.

“Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.” Thomas Jefferson, to the Virginia Baptists (1808) ME 16:320.

This is his second known use of the term “wall of separation,” here quoting his own use in the Danbury Baptist letter.

This wording of the original was several times upheld by the Supreme Court as an accurate description of the Establishment Clause.

“Jefferson’s concept of “separation of church and state” first became a part of Establishment Clause jurisprudence in Reynolds v. U.S., 98 U.S. 145 (1878). In that case, the court examined the history of religious liberty in the US, determining that while the constitution guarantees religious freedom, “The word ‘religion’ is not defined in the Constitution. We must go elsewhere, therefore, to ascertain its meaning and nowhere more appropriately, we think, than to the history of the times in the midst of which the provision was adopted.” The court found that the leaders in advocating and formulating the constitutional guarantee of religious liberty were James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Quoting the “separation” paragraph from Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, the court concluded that, “coming as this does from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured.”

The Supreme Court heard the Lemon v. Kurtzman case in 1971 and ruled in favor of the Establishment Clause.

Subsequent to this decision, the Supreme Court has applied a three-pronged test to determine whether government action comports with the Establishment Clause, known as the “Lemon Test.”

Lemon Test:

1. Any law or policy must have been adopted with a neutral or non-religious purpose.
2. The principle or primary effect of any law or policy must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion.
3. The statute or policy must not result in an “excessive entanglement” of government with religion.

If any government entity’s actions fit into one of these three, then it is a violation of the Establishment Clause.

The second is the Parker v. Levy:

“This Court has long recognized that the military is, by necessity, a specialized society separate from civilian society… While the members of the military are not excluded from the protection granted by the First Amendment, the different character of the military community and of the military mission requires a different application of those protections. … The fundamental necessity for obedience, and the consequent necessity for imposition of discipline, may render permissible within the military that which would be constitutionally impermissible outside it… Speech [to include religious speech] that is protected in the civil population may nonetheless undermine the effectiveness of response to command. If it does, it is constitutionally unprotected.” (Emphasis added) Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733, 1974

The third is the Air Force has strict rules on religious neutrality. This is binding on everyone in the Air Force.

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.

So, no, the Stinger cannot post only Christian articles with undertones of proselytism.

Mikey – who is Jewish and NOT AN ATHEIST (they know this but you wouldn’t get as angry if YOU knew this) – is the face and Founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) but Mikey does not work alone. There is the Board, Advisory Board, volunteers and supporters of which 75% are Christians. A full 96% of our clients which number over 39,000+ soldiers (1 represents 100 and others represent 50) are Christians which makes us the biggest supporter for the rights of Christians in the military.

We DO NOT act on our own but on the request of our soldiers who are facing religious persecution (mainly to CHRISTIANS) from their dominionist military superiors and peers. Each complaint must be vetted before taking any action by Mikey who was a US Air Force JAG for 10 years and he also spent over three years in the West Wing of the Reagan Administration as legal counsel in the White House.

You are free in the civilian world to proselytize in any form to whomever you please. Those in the military cannot.

I hope this clears up any misconceptions you have of us.

Pastor Joan
MRFF Advisory Board Member


Dear (name withheld) –

I’d like to take a moment, for several reasons, to respond to your note. First, because you had the courtesy to sign your name, something which many people do not do when they write to MRFF (and I will show you the same respect by signing my name, too). Second, because you are clearly an educated person, so I suspect that you have reached some conclusions as a result of inaccurate and/or incomplete information about MRFF and our goals. And finally, because I am a life-long, committed, active Christian myself and so I know very well that MRFF is neither anti-Christian nor anti-religion.

The key thing that I would ask you to understand is that no one at MRFF is trying to keep any military member from the right to choose and practice his or her own religion. In fact, we support, and will defend, the right of all members of the United States Armed Forces to 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. That means we support the rights of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Druids, Free Thinkers, and every manner of believer and non-believer.

My guess is that you wrote to MRFF after reading one of several articles currently in circulation that describes MRFF as an “atheist” organization that is trying to interfere with the religious rights of military members. Said bluntly, this is a lie… and many of the sources that are perpetuating the story know that it’s a lie. But the lie serves to support their narrative of a ‘War on Christianity’ so they tell it anyway. But as I said earlier, I am also a Christian and I believe that it is wrong to tell a lie, even if (or perhaps especially if) the goal is to advance Christianity.

The story in the news is about a military commander who used his authority and position to promote a personal religious belief. This is wrong, and not because MRFF says so — it’s wrong because the US Constitution says so and the specific rules and instructions in the Air Force that guide commanders on this topic say so. The issue is NOT whether the commander is entitled to his belief – he certainly is. But his subordinates are also entitled to choose their own beliefs without influence or pressure from their leaders. When a commander publishes an essay in the base newspaper that says, “cast it [your cares] upon the Lord and He will sustain you”, he is using his position to promote a specific and personal religious belief. Even if his intentions are benevolent, he is over the line. Keep in mind that there are many in his command who are not Christians. I’d ask you to consider whether they might conclude that their own personal religious beliefs, being misaligned with the commander, may have an adverse impact on their role and place in the organization. I suggest that such a response is entirely likely, and that is why commanders must take care as to the time, place and manner in which they make declarations of their personal religious beliefs.

Again, there is little in your note with which I disagree, or which conflicts with the goals of MRFF — the impression you have of MRFF as an anti-religious organization is misinformed. We believe that everyone, including Christians, have a right to believe what they choose to believe. But we also believe that military leaders will respect the rights of their subordinates to make their own choices, and not use the color of their authority to promote a religious agenda.

Thanks again for writing.

Peace,

Mike Challman
Christian, AF Veteran, MRFF Supporter

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