Hello.

Dear Military Religious Freedom Foundation,

Can somebody in your organization please explain to me what Mr. Weinstein is referring to with his comment IRT the recruiting poster in Phoenix when he said the following;

“The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is delighted that the Constitution has been adhered to by the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. But whoever, in any way, shape or form, allowed that poster to be designed, prepared and displayed, those individuals should be aggressively investigated and very visibly punished.”

I am asking in his reference to the Constitution, what section, or paragraph, or article is he referring too?
I am asking why he wants the people who designed the poster to be punished? What did they do wrong?

Thank you very much for your time,

(name withheld)


Hi (name withheld),

I’d be happy to explain that!

It is MRFF’s position that the US Constitution established a secular government. Secular does not mean “anti-religious” – it means that the government must remain neutral toward all matters of religion. This principle is enshrined in Article 6 Section 3 (The “No Religious Test” Clause). It is found in the First Amendment which both (1) protects private, personal Free Exercise and (2) prohibits Congress from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.  The Supreme Court (who the Constitution names as the ultimate interpreter of these words), has ruled that it applies to not just Congress, but by extension to all entities created by Congress and not just to creating an entire state church, but also to any laws giving preferential treatment to religion. Finally, the principle of secularism is enshrined in what is lacking from the Constitution: zero mentions of God. “We the People” created the union, solely by the use of reason, without claiming any divine influence or divine authority. This was not a trivial omission, but a deliberate omission that was heavily opposed by churches of the day who knew exactly what it meant – the Constitution explicitly created NOT a Christian nation, but a secular one!

And yes, we believe that a person in uniform who swears to uphold the Constitution must do so. The person who used government resources to create a government poster violating these Constitutional principles was wrong. First of all, he didn’t go through the proper channels to make the poster and didn’t have approval, which is grounds for minor counseling action even if the poster had no other problems. But the fact that the poster explicitly violated the Constitutional principles previously described lead us to think that a more serious reprimand is in order.

Here’s a little further reading if you’re interested:

The US is not a Christian nation (or a “Judeo-Christian” nation):
http://www.alternet.org/story/155985/5_reasons_america_is_not_–_and_has_never_been_–_a_christian_nation
 
Secularism is not anti-religious:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2011/jul/07/secularism-neutrality-religion-atheism

Happy MLK day!
Dustin Chalker
MRFF Non-Religious Affairs Advisor


Hello Dustin,
First of all thank you very much for replying to my email.

Though I can tell you we disagree on a few things, I have made notes
below.

Based on your explained understanding of the Constitution, why
isn’t your organization focusing some of your time on Washington
DC and their outright disregard of the U.S. Constitution,and not
on a few faithful soldiers who fight for our rights, yours and mine
to believe, understand, or intrepid the Constitution the way that we do.

(name withheld)


Thank you for your reply, Bob.

I can respect our difference of opinion without beating a dead horse here. I’d just like to add that many of us are involved in other kinds of pro-Constitutional activism. I think it’s important to defend the Constitution on many different fronts. But MRFF’s specific mission is focused on the military – (1) protecting individual free exercise, (2) preventing unconstitutional religious tests, and (3) fighting institutional establishment of religion (which we regard as including encroachments of any size or degree, even if some consider them minor). Other realms of politics and government simply aren’t within the scope of MRFF’s mission, though we 100% support maintaining Constitutional integrity on all front! Have a good day sir!

Best regards,
Dustin Chalker

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