I am so offended after reading your statement. Your true colors were revealed when you said the following “Franklin Graham is a fundamentalist – a total enemy of the Constitution – an absolutely incredible Islamophobe,” Weinstein said. So by your comment we now understand why you are so aggressively attack the religious freedoms of the military. You support Islam, which is completely opposite of what this great country what founded on and stands for! Shame on you for supporting such an horrendous false religion who believes in killing innocent people, including children for their own horrendous ideology. Who hate America because we are infidels according to their religion! That you have decided to call Franklin Graham an enemy of the Constitution shows you have no clue what you are talking about. You represent only a MINORITY and we Christian Americans will not sit by and be silent by someone who is so intolerant of the Christian faith our country was founded on. No, we will not be silent, shame on you!!!!
Dear (name withheld),
I’m curious as to where you get your information on us as you obviously have no clue what the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) stands for and what we do.
You are also ignorant on the Constitution, case law and military law.
The Constitution protects the MINORITY from the MAJORITY (of which you claim to be).
Yes, we fight for the religious rights of Muslims in our country but we also fight for the rights of mainline Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, other faiths, humanists and atheists.
You have targeted Mikey with your judgmental attitude but you have also attacked the many people involved in the MRFF; the Board, Advisory Board, volunteers and supporters of which 75% are Christians. Ninety-six percent of our clients are Christian.
I don’t know what denomination of Christianity you adhere to but if you are a Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Evangelical or any other mainline Christian, then you are not wanted in our military because you are “not Christian enough” or the “right kind of Christian.” They also don’t want any atheists or humanists.
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.”
The only “right kind” of Christian the military wants is an Evangelical/Fundamental/Dominionist. They believe that we are in the last days and must cleanse the earth of all Protestants, people of other religious faith and those of no faith, so that Jesus can come back and rule for 1,000 years. This way of thinking throws out the book of Revelations where Jesus said He is coming back with His HEAVENLY ARMY and THEN rule for 1,000 years.
We mostly fight for the rights of the mainline Christians who on a daily basis are subjected to in-your-face proselytizing by their superiors of the Dominionist belief. They are beaten, harassed, advancements withheld, given poor performance ratings, put on “point” in our wars and drummed out of the military on trumped up charges – all in the name of Jesus.
People, like yourself, are being duped into fighting for the Dominionists by using ALL Muslims as a scapegoat when we are really fighting the extremists of them known as ISIS and Al Qaeda.
The extremists in Christianity are the Dominionists, who want every war to be a Crusade, our soldiers as “Warriors for Christ” and “government paid missionaries.” The Dominionists also want to kill every “infidel” of the Christian faith. We are also killing innocent Muslims; men, women and children but we justify it by calling it “collateral damage.” Shame on us.
Constitution of the United States
“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 the Establishment 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”
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 (including our military) 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.
As you can see, our military is secular and must remain that way.
America is not a Christian nation and tradition doesn’t make it one.
The Treaty of Tripoli
“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” (Ratified unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797, and signed by President Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797).
And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. (Genesis 17:20)
My question to Christians is why do they hate the descendants of Ishmael when the all-knowing God BLESSED them and never rescinded it?
MRFF Advisory Board Member
Few things speak louder that the ignorant ravings of a bigot, your e-mail is deafening.
As a Muslim, the target of your hatred, let me make a few things clear. Franklin Graham is one of the biggest bigot and Islam-hater in this country. this fact is made much worse because he unfortunately, commands legions of ignorant Christians who believe his voice comes from God Himself; that is how hatred spreads and genocides occur. His rants against Islam and Muslims, where, presumably, you ;learnt your hatred, are indeed, the antithesis of our constitution which states clearly, that there shall be no interference with any religion…not a religion approved by a collection of ignorant minds or by the popular group; ANY religion.
Now for Mikey. If you ever take the time to set your passions aside and (God forbid!) actually take the time to READ some of what he says, oyu would know that he does NOT support Islam, he supports the RIGHT of people to pursue whatever faith they want, without anyone trying to interfere. Right now, Islam happens to be the Target du jour but it was Judaism in the past, and it was Catholicism as well. I am pretty sure that if Muslims were to try to impose their faith on people, especially in the military, Mikey would be the first to oppose their activities.
Finally on Islam. You seem to have exhausted your knowledge of Islam and Muslims in the few words below. Unfortunately, your opinions of Islam do more justice to your fantasies, than to Islam or Muslims.
Islam recognizes EVERYONE who believe in ONE God, as Muslim; an “infidel” is someone who turns away from God, not someone who never knew who God is (2:136, 3:84, 5:48, 43:63, 2:62, 3:113-114, 41:43 and more). There is no call in the Quran, to kill or attack anyone who does not first initiate an attack on Muslims (4:94) and even then, forgiveness and mercy are noted as traits loved by God (42:36-40, 2:190-193, 41:34).
Of course, there are people who call themselves Muslims and do horrible things…invoking Islam, people invoke God to justify their atrocities all the time, what else is new? Name any faith and I will be able to give you reams of evidence where they “believes in killing innocent people, including children for their own horrendous ideology”, but I am not willing to dive into the gutter of trading faith-insults with you, just to “prove” one faith is superior to another.
Nobody is asking you or Christians, to “sit by and be silent”, we are just asking…demanding…that you keep your faith to yourselves and that you don’t try to ram your faith down other people’s unwilling throats.
This is after all, America.
Jafar “Jeff” Siddiqui
Dear (name withheld) –
Mikey Weinstein has read your message and shared it with me. I’m an AF veteran and lifelong, committed Christian who supports the efforts of MRFF. As such, I think it may be helpful that I take a moment to respond to your note, as I think that it indicates a significant misunderstanding of the MRFF and our goals.
Simply put, MRFF supports the Constitutional rights of US military members with regard to religious belief. More specifically, we are dedicated to ensuring that all members of the United States 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.
So to say that we “aggressively attack the religious freedoms of the military” is simply wrong. What we oppose are the efforts of anyone who uses a position of authority to proselytizer or promote a personal religious belief (of ANY type) to their subordinates. Please note that we have no issue with the leaders’ right to his/her own religious belief or practice — in fact, the scope of our mission includes defending the leader’s religious rights, too. But when it happens that a leader uses his position or the color of his authority to promote a particular sectarian belief, then he has overstepped the boundaries of his own rights and entered an area where he infringes on the rights of his subordinates. That is what MRFF opposes.
As for Rev Graham, I’ll merely say that if he wishes to be a friend of the Constitution where the US military is concerned, he only needs to do two things:
(1.) fully support the right of every military member to hold whatever religious belief the member wishes (including non-belief and also including Islam and every other faith tradition); and
(2.) oppose efforts by military leaders to prostelytize or inappropriately promote a personal sectarian belief to their subordinates.
Thanks for writing.
Christian, AF Veteran, MRFF Supporter
Dear (name withheld),
I think you may have misunderstood what Mr. Weinstein of the MRFF meant in his description of Franklin Graham.
Mr. Graham. Like his father, is truly a “fundamentalist Christian” which puts him on the same belief level as an Islamic Taliban.
Mr. Graham is in favor of a “Christian Nation” achieved by Christian takeover of local, state, national and world governments. He believes that the Bible should replace the US Constitution and Biblical Law supercede American Civil Law. This makes him a religious extremist. It also makes him a traitor.
Mr. Graham has tried numerous times to insert his Christian beliefs and doctrines into American government function, like holding prayer sessions at the Pentagon and requiring American Armed Forces to participate in exclusive Christian services.
Mr. Graham leads people away from Democracy and would place them all back into religious slavery, dominated by the clergy and church officials like in the dark ages.
Often, when a religious leader gets elevated by his congregations to a level of leadership that turns political such as Jerry Falwell, John Hagee, Pat Robertson, etc., he begins to believe in his own elevation as God mandated and begins to act more like a high ranking government official than a clergyman.
MRFF’s true colors are Red, White and Blue and we subscribe to the US Constitution in it’s entirety and operate solely under it’s provisions.
I invite you to visit our web site at militaryreligiousfreedom.org to find out more about MRFF and our work,
Thank you for your concern.
Capt. USAF (Ret)
Dear (name withheld),
I’m sorry to hear that you were offended by Mikey’s comment about Franklin Graham. I’m sure it’s discomfiting to hear such things said about someone you obviously admire. But what exactly is it that so offends you, if I may ask?
It is clear that Mr. Graham is a fundamentalist, is it not? He, like you, apparently, disdains Islam, a faith that is and has been practiced by decent, caring, thoughtful people across the world for centuries. Whether you like it or not, and more to the point whether you understand it or not, Islam is a belief in God that sustains millions of peaceful and loving human beings in spite of the terrible things some Islamic extremists are responsible for. I think it is extremism rather than the Islamic faith that is to blame for some of the horrors you cite here, and extremism is sadly present in Christianity as well as many, if not most belief systems. Mr. Graham publicly denounces Hinduism and, I fear, many other long-standing religious belief systems that do not accept Jesus as their personal savior. But as passionate as his personal belief may be, the condemnation of other people’s beliefs rather seems a bit unChristian, wouldn’t you say?
Mr. Graham’s assaults on homosexuality in a society that has come to understand and embrace the realization that some people are born with a same-sex orientation is also an area wherein the extremity of his views call into question his understanding of Jesus’ teachings, in my view. Do you share his point of view on this issue as well?
It appears to me that Mr. Weinstein’s opinion of Mr. Graham is, even though you don’t share it, not off the mark, which explains why Mr. Graham is a figure of some controversy.
But in your message you quickly segue from offense at the comments about Mr. Graham to what you claim to perceive as Mr. Weinstein’s attack on the religious freedom of those in the military. Here, again, your perception is incorrect. Mr. Weinstein and the MRFF believe strongly in the U.S. Constitution and the laws of our country, which allow for the freedom of religion, and he and the rest of us who are supporters of freedom are committed to defending the right of people to believe as they choose. We do not insist that people believe a certain way, as Mr. Graham apparently thinks should be the case, but rather believe strongly that one of the great strengths of our nation is the protection of the freedom of thought and belief in our people. And that freedom must especially be protected for those in our military, who are too often besieged by fundamentalists who insist that they and only they know the true path to God and anyone who doesn’t follow that path will burn in hell.
And some, like Mr. Graham, earn half a million dollars a year selling this point of view.
So, again, I’m sorry you find Mr. Weinstein’s words to be offensive, but if you’ll take an objective look at the reality of the world around you, I think you’ll find he’s right on the mark.
(MRFF Board of Advisors)