Keep up your awesome work! (with MRFF response)

Dear Mikey Weinstein and MRFF,

I’ve been following your news via email subscription the last couple
of years or so and want to say that I think you are absolutely doing
the right thing:

defending our Constitution and those who fight to honor it — against
those who would abuse our Constitution by attempting to remove
separation of church and state through imposing their beliefs on our
armed forces (to put it mildly).

I am the daughter of a WWII US Navy Submarine veteran, and though I do
not know much at all about anything related to the military, I am
certainly sensitive about the effects it can have on one who has served
during wartime.

With all that stress, why would anyone need more pressure —  pressure
to conform more rigidly to a religious faith one might not even believe
in?

The vitriol you receive is mind-boggling! :-0

I thought of you and MRFF recently as I read through Vashti McCullom’s
“One Woman’s Fight”: she fought to keep religious instruction
out of public schools…in the mid-1940s!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vashti_McCollum

and after two losses in the lower courts, she won in 1948, in an 8-1
Supreme Court decision.

(many school districts blatantly chose to ignore the decision, and many
still sent her hateful letters…)

I imagined you would probably be able to relate to her ordeal: fighting
for what she believed in (separation of church and state), the
unrelenting societal pressures on her and her family, and the vitriolic
“fan” mail she received…but also letters from around the globe
supporting her.

Her story really helped me to appreciate and respect what you do all the
more. 🙂

So I just wanted to let you know another person (me!) fully supports
what you do, in spirit! I’m not able to send MRFF a donation as I do not
earn a salary, though I work full-time as a volunteer with an
international women’s advocacy organization based in the UK (I
live on the east coast):

http://www.asafeworldforwomen.org

But I always read through the emails I get from MRFF and tell my spouse
and close friends about you and MRFF.  😉

All the best to you and your staff for the new year!

Kind regards,
(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Director of Volunteers and Interns, John Inman

Ms. (withheld),

     Mikey asked me to respond to your kind, and much appreciated email.  He asked me to do so because I, like your father, am a veteran of the United States Navy and a fellow submariner as well.  (27 years on active duty as a submariner {1979-2006}.)

     Reading your email, you seem to be familiar with the abusive email that Mikey, and his family, receive regularly.  I, fortunately, was never subjected to any of the strong-arm tactics, orders to attend church services, or any other constitutional violations that can (and do) occur in the military.

    Later in my career, I became more familiar with such occurrences.  By then I knew about the MRFF and, coincidentally, was in charge of a Navy Recruiting District.  I insisted that that every chaplain that we put in through my district would receive a personal interview with me. (I was the commanding officer, I could make such rules.)  I would remind them that they were charged with being the chaplain to everyone where they were assigned.  Also, that they weren’t allowed to proselytize to anyone.  I often wondered if some of those chaplains had their “fingers crossed” behind their backs when they told me they wouldn’t do such things.

     My parents raised me to be tolerant of all religions.  More by their actions than by any lecture or teachings. I had never witnessed any such abuse growing up.  I was so naive that I thought that people criticizing other citizens because they were Jewish, were limited to skin-heads, Neo-Nazis and KKK members.

     In spite of all its benefits, one of the drawbacks of social media is the ability is provides to bigots to spread their hate and misunderstandings anonymously.  Regardless of how much of it I read, I am still stunned by the level of hate and violence that those “Christian’s” spew to towards Mikey and the rest of us at MRFF.

     So again Ms. (withheld),  on behalf of Mikey and my colleagues at MRFF, we thank you for your support and your kind words.  Our best wishes to you and yours throughout the new year.

John E. Inman

Director of Volunteers and Interns

Military Religious Freedom Foundation

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