NEWS WITH VIEWS – Separating Truth From Lies (with MRFF rebuttal)

MRFF BLASTED IN “NEWS WITH VIEWS” OP-ED; MRFF STALWART MIKE CHALLMAN SHATTERS DETRACTOR ARGUMENT

“Separating Truth From Lies” (Excerpt)

By Donna Wasson

[…] The Freedom from Religion Foundation’s Founder and President is Mikey Weinstein, a self-hating Jew who could very well be the most caustic, rabid Christian hater on the planet. Despite his denials, the Occupant’s administration has contacted him on several occasions asking him to serve as a ‘religious tolerance consultant’, the irony of which is but a tiny glimpse of Obama’s mental illness. However, Mikey’s crown jewel is his organized attack on Christians in every branch of our armed forces.

He states “I founded the civil rights fighting organization the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) to do one thing: fight those monsters who would tear down the Constitutionally-mandated wall separating church and state in the technologically most lethal entity ever created by humankind, the U.S. military.” Read more

 

Click to read more at News With Views

 


A comprehensive rebuttal from MRFF volunteer and USAF Veteran, Mike Challman

Hi Donna –

I read with interest your article, “Separating Truth From Lies” and thought it would be appropriate, for two reasons, to send you a note.  One reason is to correct a factual error on your part; the other is to offer a personal perspective about a group that you have criticized in the article.
But before I do that, it might be helpful to give you a bit of my background.  I’m a lifelong, active and committed Christian, a military veteran (graduate of the USAF Academy and former USAF officer), and today a business executive.  I am also a supporter of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and provide volunteer assistance to this Constitutional advocacy group in a variety of ways.
Which brings me to the first item that needs to be clarified — the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), which was founded by Mikey Weinstein, is an entirely different organization than the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which is referenced in your Ron Reagan quote. They are two separate, distinct groups.  While I can understand that the similar names can, and sometimes do create some confusion, I’d have hoped that someone who is writing an article about one or the other would take care to be more accurate, especially given that the first quote you use from Mikey actually references the name of his organization.  So it would be a good idea to correct your error in the article.
The second reason I’m writing is equally important, and that is to provide my perspective on the MRFF, and specifically why it is that the work of our organization is neither anti-religion generally, nor anti-Christian specifically.
I have read the same articles, blogs, and editorials that you seem to be reading, and I understand very well the mis-perception of the MRFF that is propagated in some quarters.  My personal opinion is that the vast majority of that misrepresentation is committed by individuals and groups who actually know better, but whose agenda is served by telling and re-telling this lie.  So, in the spirit of the title of your article, “Separating Truth From Lies”, I’d like to offer to you the truth about the MRFF, from the perspective of someone who is both a Christian AND an MRFF supporter – positions that are not mutually exclusive.
The MRFF is 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. In support of that mission, our role is to advocate on behalf of military members who contact us when their individual rights are being infringed or threatened, and who often are not able to advocate for themselves because of the strict hierarchical nature of the military. In doing so, we actively support the rights of military members of ALL religious beliefs, including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Rastafarians, Agnostics, Atheists, and every other conceivable belief.
You may be interested to know that the vast majority of clients and supporters of the MRFF are people of faith… but that does not make us a ‘religious’ organization.  We are joined in our efforts by good, honorable people who are non-believers… but that does not make us an ‘atheistic’ organization.  Rather, we are a pro-Constitution organization, and take no official stand on the efficacy of any particular matter of faith or belief. Our position is the same as that of the US Constitution itself — that all American citizens, including the brave men and women of the US military, are equally entitled to the full protection of the Constitutional regardless of their specific religious belief (or non-belief).
So if we are not ‘against’ any doctrine or belief, then what are we ‘against’? Simply put, we are against inappropriate conduct that crosses the line guarding the Constitutional rights of all military members.  It matters not one bit the specific doctrines that are being promoted by those actions – the only thing that matters is whether or not it is a Constitutional action.  If it seems that the lion’s share of issues in which the MRFF gets involved are related to Christians, that is only because it is a subset of Christians who seem to cross the line most often.
Rest assured, the same actions in support of some other religious belief would get the exact same response from the MRFF.
In your article, you’ve highlighted some of the things that Mikey Weinstein has said in the past. You should know that, as far as I know, all of those quotes are accurate and that he stands by them. But you should also know that the brunt of Mikey’s criticism is not, nor was ever intended to be, ALL of Christianity. If Mikey is guilty of anything, it is only using language that allows for a misapplication of his words. The focus of his concern is the relatively small subset of Christians who are, in my opinion, rightly called Dominionists (even if they object to that label).  This is our brethren who believe that Genesis 1:28 gives them the authority to advance the dominion and dominance of their particular version of Christianity over all aspects of American society and government, including our military. Worse, they seem to believe that this promotion of their belief trumps the rights of anyone whom they consider to be a non-believer (often including other Christians who are not the ‘right kind’ of Christian).
So if you consider Mikey’s statements with that understanding, I think it is impossible to dispute his point.  Is he undiplomatic, unyielding, and strident?  Perhaps so.  But he is also a man of the highest moral character, and I’m proud to stand beside him.
As you might imagine, I’ve been accused more than once of not being the ‘right kind’ of Christian, and even of being no kind of Christian at all, because I support the Constitutional rights of people with whom I disagree on matters of personal religious belief. But that criticism is of no concern to me. I recognize that America is a pluralistic society of many religious beliefs, and our military reflects that diversity. Every military member is entitled to live and work in an environment that is free of undue or inappropriate pressure regarding personal religious matters.
Said another way, every military member (including every Christian) has an absolute Constitutional right to his personal religious beliefs, but the time, place and manner of expressing that belief must be appropriate, due to the unique nature of military organizations.
If you have any comments, or if you wish to discuss this issue further, I’m happy to continue a dialogue with you.
Peace,
Mike Challman
Christian, USAF veteran, MRFF supporter

Hi Mike~
Your email was very interesting and I appreciate you taking the time to write. First of all, I am well aware that the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation are two distinctly different outfits, supposedly with different goals who happen to be headed by the same individual. There was no misunderstanding on my part, nor was there any intent to misrepresent Mr. Weinstein to anyone.
I agree 100% that every military man or woman has a Constitutional right to his/her personal religious beliefs. However, in all the years I’ve been aware Mr. Weinstein, I have NEVER, and I mean NEVER heard him go after Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Satanism or any other “religious” belief system. EVER. He concentrates on Christianity and proceeds to make mountains out of molehills.
I also agree that no one should have the religious beliefs of a superior officer shoved down their throats, nor should they be coerced into participating or even enduring the religious traditions or worship services they find offensive or in direct opposition to their personal beliefs. BUT, how ANYONE could possibly find the presence of a Bible on someone’s desk to be threatening or offensive in any way, is simply beyond my comprehension. How can homosexual soldiers, who years earlier would have been court-martialed for their proclivities, deliberately seek out a military Chaplain who is an avowed Christian and expect him to give them positive counsel or affirmation of their relationship, when they know good and well that such a relationship is an abomination in the sight of his God?
You know why, Mike? Because they’re setting him up. Because there is a concerted and overt campaign of persecution against Christians in this country by this wicked, pagan administration which extends to civilians in businesses, schools (including private), and those who serve in our military. Again, you NEVER hear of gays targeting Muslim bakeries or florists or bed and breakfast establishments, demanding those business owners kow-tow to their lifestyle choices. And for good reason—the Muslims would probably take them out back and cut their heads off. The LGBT mafia know full well that Christians will try to work out a solution without a fight.
Is there one Christian that you know of that would be so freaked out, fall on the floor suffering some kind of psychological spasm if they walked into their commanding officer’s office and saw a Koran on the corner of his desk? Of course not! We’re not the ones who go into a conniption fit when others ‘offend’ us. We’re put upon just about every day by mainstream society, and you well know it. If you don’t experience persecution because of your witness for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then perhaps it would be a good idea to take a good look how you are presenting yourself as a believer. Maybe no one can tell the difference between you and Joe-Blow on the street.
I am 51 years old, have been a Christian for 44 years and I have YET to encounter one of these Dominionist Christians. If I ever did, I would be happy to set them straight because what they believe goes against what the Word of God teaches. Also, I have NEVER seen a fellow Christian trying to ‘force’ their beliefs on another person and if I ever did, I would also take them to task.
Jesus never forced Himself on anyone and we are not taught to force the Gospel on anyone either. We are commanded to ‘tell them’ the Good News. If they are open, we tell them more. If not, we shake the dust off and move on. I have a very difficult time believing any Christian in the military would try to force Christ on subordinates.
I do find it interesting that Muslims seem to get preferential treatment, though. That’s most likely a reflection of the beliefs of the “Commander-in-Chief.”
You find Mr. Weinstein to be a man of impeccable character?! Seriously? Compared to Ted Bundy, I suppose I would agree. However, I don’t think a man who openly labels Christians as terrorists, monsters, frauds, hypocrites, homophobes, and who blames them for the Holocaust, Inquisition and the Crusades to be a man of impeccable character. Mikey has actually physically threatened to beat up those he disagrees with, like some fat, school-yard bully. He paints all Christians with the same exaggerated brush, which is unfair and disingenuous at best and plain lies at the least.
Again, I have never heard him launch into a tirade over any other religious belief system other than Christianity. He is a toxic, caustic, hate-filled, lying, lost man in need of the Savior. I cannot fathom how you could stand to be in the same room with him if you are a redeemed child of God, saved by the blood of the Lamb and a believer in the inerrant Word of God. Perhaps I overestimate you? Perhaps you overestimate your relationship with the Lord.
Perhaps you are of a liberal mindset that likes to cherry-pick out of scripture what you want to believe, choosing to ignore the harder teachings such as picking up your cross every day and following Him. I have no idea what your beliefs are Mike, and I cannot begin to judge your heart, nor is it my place to do so. But it REALLY concerns me that you are a part of ANY organization Mikey Weinstein is involved in. He doesn’t need your help persecuting your fellow believers. He needs to get saved before he faces the wrath of God.
For the last time, I agree with the premise that all members of the military should be welcome to their personal beliefs with regard to whatever god they believe in, or don’t believe in. If Mikey wants to deny the obvious existence of God, goody for him. I won’t argue with him. But he has NO right to try to curtail the free exercise of anyone’s religion either. I’ve heard of military personnel being reprimanded for wearing a simple cross. Gimme a break! If that were a pentagram with a Baphomet head, no one would say a word and you know it. Not even Mikey.
Thanks for hearing me out. I know where you stand, and you know clearly where I stand. I have absolutely no desire to debate you on any of these issues. Thank you for writing and God bless you and yours. And may Mikey find the love and peace of the Savior he so obviously needs.
Donna Wasson

Good Morning, Donna –

Much to respond to in your email, and I shall do so when I have a moment — but in the meantime, just this….
MRFF and FFRF are not “headed by the same individual”.  They are entirely separate and unconnected organizations. One is in NM and other, I believe, is in WI. Mikey Weinstein founded and heads the MRFF. He neither founded nor heads the FFRF… because, you know, it’s a different group in a different place, doing different things, founded and run by different people and everything. Different. So not the same. At all.
That said, without question there is a substantial misunderstanding on your part — either that, or a deliberate intent on your part to misrepresent simple facts.
Does your supreme confidence, about how right your opinions are, prevent you from even considering that you may be mistaken about this fundamental and easily proven error on your part?
I really shouldn’t have to do your work for you, but your reticence suggests that you probably won’t do it yourself, so I’m including two links. If it’s not too much trouble, you really should check them out.
I know very little about the FFRF (because it’s an entirely different group than the MRFF), but a simple Google search took me to its web page (link is below) where I learned a little bit about it.
You, too, will learn that a lady named Anne Gaylor founded the FFRF in 1978. It is worthwhile to note that she is a different person than Mikey Weinstein, who founded the MRFF in 2005.
Next is a link to the MRFF, which someone may have mentioned to you is a different organization, formed in a different place at a different time by a different individual with different reasons for creating his Foundation.

http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/about/Hopefully this clears things up.

Peace,
Mike

Mike, I must apologize. I now understand what you were trying to tell me about the difference between the MRFF and FFRF. I was under the impression that Mikey was founder and President of both. He is responsible for the MRFF alone. I will be sure to write a correction in my next article as I strive to be as accurate as possible. It appears I’m human after all!  <32F.gif>
Donna Wasson

Hi Donna –

Thanks for this follow–up note.  I must admit some disappointment, though, that you seem to suggest that you won’t fix the current article.  In my view, that puts you in the same class as other conservative commentators who allow misinformation about the MRFF to perpetuate.  And at a minimum, I would think that you would want each one of your articles to be as truthful as possible, for the sake of Truth itself.
If I may be direct, there are actually two things that I think should be corrected in your current article. First is the obvious error that connects Mikey Weinstein to the FFRF, which if nothing else creates unnecessary confusion.
Second, and speaking as a fellow Christian I believe you should remove your assertion that Mikey Weinstein is a “self-hating Jew”.  For either one of us to presume to know the heart and mind of another person, and to know how someone feels about himself, is in my view a patently un-Christian judgement.
As you point out in your note, our capacity to commit errors proves our humanity. But as Christians, our devotion to the Truth is demonstrated when we acknowledge our mistakes AND make a sincere effort to rectify them. To allow either untruthful or un-Christian assertions to stand seems to suggest a willingness to obfuscate the Truth.  I’d ask you to prayerfully consider whether you think such a stance should represent your witness.
More to follow on the other items in your previous email, when I have time to give it the attention that it deserves.
Peace,
Mike

Mike, you are assuming that I will not correct my mistake about Mikey having no connection to FFRF. I plan to explain that in the next article I write. Geesh, it’s been all of what, 36 hours?! Gimme a break, sir! I work a full-time job and have a family to take care of, in addition to finding the time to write. Besides, I have NO control whatsoever over which articles of mine the website chooses to publish. They may never publish another thing I submit!
I will be more than happy to correct my mistake in my next article WHEN I have time to write one. OK???
Donna

Hi Donna,

It appears that you misread my note, as I made no such assumption about your intentions. I merely opined that, in my view, a more timely correction to the existing article would be appropriate.  I don’t feel that I was pushy in how I stated my position, nor did I put any sort of time limit on it, so the excited tone of your response is probably overkill.
You are certainly free to disagree with my opinion that your article was sloppy, erroneous, and contained at least one unnecessary and inappropriate judgement. You might also keep in mind that when you write articles for publication, it’s entirely possible that you might get feedback of a type other than fawning praise.
With regard to your other, longer note that you sent in reply to my first correspondence — I respect that you “have absolutely no desire to debate you on any of these issues”. Personally, I enjoy these debates and I’m always edified by them, but I’ll never drag an unwilling participant into one. But I think it is fair to have an opportunity to respond to your thoughts and assertions, just as you did in response to me.
You accuse the MRFF of unfairness with regard to the situations in which we get involved. You say that you have never seen the MRFF “go after Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Satanism or any other ‘religious’ belief system. “ Later, you say, “I have never heard [Mikey] launch into a tirade over any other religious belief system other than Christianity.”
First thing to correct – we never ‘go after belief systems’. In every case in which the MRFF gets involved, we challenge conduct, not beliefs.
Second, there is a valid reason why our involvement seems to involve Christianity most of the time.  It is because it is military leaders who claim to be Christians who are most often doing things that threaten the Constitutional rights of other military members. You can certainly object with, “Well, that’s not me,” but you can’t deny that it IS them… and they claim to be our Christian brethren.  Part of the reason for the predominance of issues involving Christians may be due to the majority of Americans being Christian, but that is likely not the only reason.  You say that you’ve never encountered a Dominionist Christian, but I have. They won’t call themselves that, but they will insist that our governmental institutions, including our military, should bend to Christian influence and predominance.
In all of the time that I have been involved with the MRFF, I’ve known of no incident where we declined to address unconstitutional actions because the beliefs involved were Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Satanic, or any other non-Christian belief.   If you are aware of one, I’d love to hear the details. Otherwise, your accusations are not credible and are based only upon your biased opinion of what you believe we may or may not do in the future.
You are free to hold whatever opinion you wish about the MRFF and where we will, or will not, get involved on behalf of US military members – but at least be honest about it.
Further, you should recognize that the situations in which MRFF involves itself are always triggered first by a request for assistance from a military member.  We’re not lurking about and attacking unsuspecting individuals.  Military members who find themselves in a tight spot because of the inappropriate actions of a superior are often not in a position to advocate for themselves, due to the extremely hierarchical and tribal nature of the military.  So it is vital that they have an outlet such as the MRFF to get assistance.
As to your strong opinions about the gay rights movement, I’ll just say that the MRFF specifically focuses on Constitutional protections of military members, so we have no involvement with “bakeries or florists or bed and breakfast establishments”.   That said, my personal belief is that no American should be the object of discrimination in the public square on the basis of someone else’s opinion of them.  But that is a separate discussion than the purpose and mission of the MRFF.
I do find curious your claim that Muslims get “special treatment”.  If you have examples of this being the case in the US military, please share them because I am not aware of any such cases.  And again, if you don’t have evidence then you may want to rethink your assumptions.
I will, however, address your comments about the current situation involving Chaplain Modder. You said, “How can homosexual soldiers, who years earlier would have court-martialed for their proclivities, deliberately seek out a military Chaplain who is an avowed Christian and expect him to give them positive counsel or affirmation of their relationship, when they know good and well that such a relationship is an abomination in the sight of his God?”
Your court-martial reference is a non sequitur, which I assume you mention because you feel it gives the rest of your statement some sort of moral heft, even though it’s got nothing to do with Modder’s situation.  More importantly, you display a significant lack of understanding about the role and obligations of a military chaplain.  Every chaplain knows that part of his duty is to provide support of military members of all beliefs, not just those of his own particular denomination.  So in a very real sense, those who enter the military chaplaincy understand that they have to support two distinct commitments – one is to their particular denomination, and the other is to the military as a whole.  At a minimum then, Modder is being disingenuous by acting like he has no obligation to support the needs of military members who don’t share his religious beliefs. From what I’ve read, Modder did more than just hold to his sincere religious beliefs.
The last item on which I’ll comment is your assertion that there is not “one Christian” who would strenuously object to the promotion of another religious belief.  On the contrary, I’d say there are many who would freak out if they faced the same situation that some non-Christians are forced to confront.
Take a moment to consider this scenario –
I’m sure you are aware of the recent controversy over the use of “have a blessed day” by the gate guards at Robins AFB. What do you think the reaction would have been from the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, or similar organizations, if the greeting that was sanctioned for use as part of the official base greeting had been “Assalamu Alaykum”, or “Namaste”, or even “Remember that religion is the opiate of the masses”?  For that matter, what would your own response have been?
I can assure you that the response from MRFF would be EXACTLY the same in each of those cases, because the issue is not the religious belief itself, it is the constitutionality of the behavior. But I’d wager that the groups I mentioned above would absolutely lose their minds if a non-Christian greeting was being promoted. That is the simplest way I know to illustrate that the MRFF is a pro-Constitution group, and is neither anti-religion generally, nor anti-Christian specifically.
Thanks for allowing me to share some additional thoughts.
Peace,
Mike

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3 Comments

  1. Yeshua Warrior

    Mike Challman shatters the detractor, really?? Mike did not say much but quote the same old comments that everyone in Mikey’s foundation says every time. Donna Wasson hit the nail on the head in pointing out that Mikey only focuses on Christians, I have yet to read one article by him about his fellow Jews, Buddhists, etc. Would Mikey be just as upset if hey walked into a commanders office and saw the Book of Mormon on his desk let alone a Koran, I think not. Mikey plain and simple has it out for us Christians and I think it all stems back to his academy days when he says allegedly he was hazed and beat up by fellow cadets for being Jewish done by Christians. If that is true then I challenge him to present copies online of any incident reports made by him to his commanding officers of these alleged attacks. I think that these alleged attacks and any corresponding reports are as fictitious as Obama’s birth certificate of being an American born citizen.

    I also find it interesting that on his bios I have read that it states he was an honors graduate at the Academy but yet there is no mention of where he got his law degree from, why is that, most people in their bios will not only put where they did their undergraduate studies at but also where they did their graduate work at if they did any. Could Mikey be ashamed of where he got his law degree from, maybe it was from a not so recognizable school like Harvard, where Sen. Ted Cruz was first in his class and where one of his professors Allen Dershowitz, a fellow Jew no less, has said that Cruz was the best student he has ever had!!!

    Donna Wasson mentioned above asked Mike Challman, if he is a man of impeccable character then why as a believer would he ever want to hang around with him? MRFF constant says that the majority of their clients are people of faith, hmm, what faith? I would say that the so called Christians that support his foundation are faux Christians at best and not Christians according to true biblical standards. Jesus even said many will say Lord Lord, but Jesus said depart from me because I never knew you! Many people if they are not Jewish, Buddhist etc, will say they are a Christian, yet they what some of us evangelicals call them “ChriEasters” for they only attend church twice a year on Christmas and Easter.

    I hear Mikey also throw around the term “Dominionists” and I can say as a being a born again Christian for over 40 years and been in ministry for over 30 I have never met one yet. Mike Challman calls these “Dominonists” as a subset within Christianity but in all my studies of the Word of God I do not find any subsets mentioned within Christianity.

    I purport that MRFF is nothing but an anti-Christian hate group with Mikey as its main leader of hate against all that is Christian. What is also interesting is that Christian Fighter Pilot.org has mentioned that in 2013, Mikey reported chartiable contributions of around $700K and Mikey took 42% of that as income. That is more than the CEO’s of other major non-profits make. Sounds to me that he is fleecing his flock and would make a great prosperity gospel preacher.When you even look at his home on Zillow, it is a pretty swank abode for a non-profit leader.

  2. judgeedee

    Hey Mike,

    Donna is a typical sanctimonious idiot with a lot of very bad ideas. As I read her reply, I just has to laugh, as she clearly thinks you are the wrong kind of Christian and that she and her knucklehead ilk can read a bible better than you can. No doubt thinks everything is literal and inerrant and can’t be told otherwise, and from this view thinks she has two tickets to Paradise. I find this type of person hard to sympathize with.

    I am not sure why Mikey hasn’t gone after anyone other than firebrand bible thumpers, but maybe it’s because those specific types are the ones causing the problems. I am sure Mikey would defend a Fundamentalist who was forced by his Native American superior officer to inhale a smudge stick. Or something. Like that’s going to happen.

    And yes, reading the terrifying rhetoric by people who can’t can’t tell Islamic extremism from the overwhelming majority of everyone else who practices the faith is causing me to make common cause with the MRFF on a daily basis. Who but a fool would take opportunity to retell the old saw that Obama is a Muslim when he clearly is not! That’s not helping your cause, Donna. Not with me, anyway.

    Dominionists are real. Between Right Wing Watch and Hate Watch, these guys are pretty thoroughly tracked, and I know they hate it. I think the reason Donna doesn’t see them anywhere is because she fits right in. They all look like her, and she looks like them, and that settlez it. Hate gays? Waving your bible? Wanna go to the prom?

    Donna, to clarify, the USA has a mostly Christian people, but we remain plurastic, a nation of laws that answers exclusively to the Constitution and to no other document. The comparison is in the constitution of the early Connecticut colony where Christ is openly called out by name as the sovereign and lord of the state. Now that’s what I call a Christian Nation!

    I have sat on the sides while every Fundamentalist chump on the Internet blasts out that the MRFF is an atheist organization who persecutes. And so this post is snarky. It’ just that I don’t recognize my party as it slouches towards Bethlehem to be born, and I don’t like what’s happening to my country. I think the MRFF does a good service, and that Mikey is fighting the good fight for our military, and that more people are inspired to speak up about this than ever before.

  3. judgeedee

    Following up re: your rebuttals to Donna, I admire your technique. It’s very sober and focused on the facts of the matter. Perhaps there is a better path than ridicule when debating someone I don’t respect.

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