Quit Targeting American Christians!

Dear Sirs,
     Quit targeting American Christians.  We are afforded the same rights as you.  Christians serve honorably in the United States Military.  Just as racism is not tolerated in the United States neither are organizations such as your which assassinate our Freedom of Religion.  I suggest you change your intolerant ways & become lovers not haters!
Have a Blessed Day!
(name withheld)

Good Afternoon, (name withheld) –

Thanks for writing to the MRFF.  Mikey Weinstein has read your email and shared it with me, asking if I’d be interested in offering a reply.  I’m very happy to do so, because it appears to me that you hold some misconceptions about purpose and goals of MRFF.

But before I address that misunderstanding, it may be helpful to let you know who I am. First thing to know is that I am not a PR mouthpiece or any type of ‘spokesman’ for MRFF — I’m just a regular guy, a husband and father of three, who volunteers a portion of my time to support MRFF in a variety of ways, including email correspondence.  I am also a lifelong, committed and active Christian;  USAF Academy graduate (’85);  veteran USAF officer;  and now a business executive in the supply chain management arena.

Like you, I sent an email to the MRFF a few years ago, expressing some concerns that I had after learning of the MRFF through news reports out of my alma mater (USAFA).  The issue being addressed back then was whether or not the phrase “so help me God’ should be required of cadets when they take the honor oath.  I’ve been a Christian my whole life, and I will confess two thoughts that I had at that time — first, I saw absolutely nothing wrong with requiring SHMG.  And second, I presumed that MRFF only wanted to impinge upon the rights of Christians such as myself.  So I wrote to Mikey Weinstein and expressed my doubts and concerns, which led to further dialogue and discussion with MRFF.  Ultimately, this led to a specific effort on my part to become better educated about the Constitutional issues at the heart of the matter, and to become more informed about the issue of religious protections for all members of the US military.

By the end of my effort, I had become firmly convinced that there is a legitimate need and role for a Constitutional advocacy group like MRFF to work on behalf of all military members of all beliefs (including non-belief).  And I had also become convinced that, if I am serious about my belief that the Constitutional protections of religious freedom extend to all Americans (even those with whom I do not agree) that I should put my money and time where my mouth is, and become active in the efforts of MRFF. And so, that is what I’ve been doing for the past few years… and I can tell you unequivocally that it is entirely possible to be both a devout Christian AND an supporter of the MRFF… because the MRFF is neither anti-Christian specifically nor anti-religion generally.

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.  As such we are not “anti” any particular religious belief — rather, we are pro-Constitution.  We believe in the absolute right to religious freedom of ALL members of the US military of ALL manner of religious belief and non-belief. So we believe that Christians have an absolute right to their Christian beliefs… and Jews to Jewish beliefs… and Muslims to Islamic beliefs… and the same goes for Buddhists, Druids, Atheists, Agnostics, Free-thinkers and any other conceivable manner of belief or creed.

You are exactly right that Christians serve honorably in the US military — as do believers and non-believers of every other stripe.  All are good, honorable people who have chosen to serve our country at great personal sacrifice.  And all of them are entitled to live and work in a military environment that respects and supports all of their beliefs equally.  In order to achieve that end, it is incumbent upon all military leaders and organizations to ensure neutrality with regard to sectarian beliefs.  That does NOT mean that any military member (of any rank) is to be denied their right to personal religious beliefs — but it DOES mean that the expression of those beliefs needs to be done in an appropriate time, place and manner.

I assume you were prompted to write as a result of recent news stories about Robins AFB and the “Have a blessed day” gate greeting.  I’d ask you to consider, in light of the perspective that I’ve just shared, whether it is appropriate to include a blessing as part of an official, or even just sanctioned, base greeting.  As a Christian myself, I have no issue with the notion personally– I think we would all be wise to seek God’s blessing in all things.  But the US military is not a Christian organization — in fact, not a religious organization of any type — so to give prominence or preference to a sectarian belief (even one with which I agree) runs counter to the US Constitution and to applicable USAF guidelines.

You should also know that the response from MRFF in this situation would have been EXACTLY the same if, instead of “Have a blessed day”, the base security forces had elected to give an Islamic greeting like “Assalamu Alaykum”, or a Hindu greeting such as “Namaste”, or a Jewish greeting such as “Shalom”…  or even, heaven forbid, something like “Welcome to Robins AFB and remember that religion is the opiate of the masses.”  The issue is not the sectarian content itself in the greeting — the issue is that it is inappropriate to favor any particular belief in any sort of official or formal military setting.

Similarly, to return to the incident which prompted my own outreach to MRFF — I hope you would agree that it is inappropriate (and ironic, as well), to require non-believing cadets to say “so help me God” in the honor oath.  In essence, it was forcing some cadets to lie while professing the commitment that they will not “lie, cheat, or steal”.  So as a result of the challenge from MRFF, the mandatory aspect of SHMG was eliminated.  This does not in any way infringe on the rights of Christians and other believers — they are still free to say it.  But USAFA itself must maintain neutrality in the matter.

Hope you find this information helpful. If you’d like to discuss further, or if you have any questions or comments that I can address, I’d be happy to continue this dialogue.  Thanks again for writing to the MRFF.

Peace,

Mike Challman
Christian, USAF veteran, MRFF supporter


 

 

Dear (name withheld),

 

Mikey is swamped with hate mail and asked me to respond to you.

 

First I need to clear up that Mikey is NOT an atheist. He is Jewish and prays to the same Father we do three times a day. The media and others know this but because the word ‘atheist’ would rile up the Christians better and faster than saying he is ‘Jewish’, they choose to be deceitful.

 

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is made up of more than just Mikey. There is the Board, the Advisory Board, volunteers and supporters of which 75% are Christians. A full 96% of our 40,600+ soldier clients (1 can represent up to 50 and 1 represents 100) are Christians – Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodist, Lutherans, Baptists, Evangelicals, etc. We fight for the rights of these Christians more than any other religion but it never makes the news.

 

We also rely on our military supporters for their expertise in all matters concerning the military and religion. To name just a few that you may heard of:

 

Board Member – Major William E. Barker

Board Member – Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV

Advisory Board Member – Lawrence Wilkerson – Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff (2002-05).

 

The following link has a full list of those on the Advisory Board but does not list the 200 volunteers and supporters world-wide. We also have a liaison on almost every base in the world.

https://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/about/foundation-voices/

 

The majority of Christians abide by the Constitution, Supreme Court rulings and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but there is a small sect of Christianity called Evangelical/Fundamental/Dominionists (not all Evangelicals are Dominionists but all Dominionists are Evangelicals – I am an Evangelical) that have managed over the past three decades to hijack our military. It is this sect we fight against.

 

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.”

 

This is the thinking of the military of today throughout the chain of command all the way to the Pentagon. They believe that the only “true” Christian is one that is “born-again” and has a “spiritual birthday.” All mainline Christians (see above) and those Christians born before 1952 when Bill Bright made up the 4 Spiritual Laws are destined to hell.

 

This thinking is destroying our military from the inside and it is being perpetrated from the Pentagon down to the lowest soldier in a leadership position. It has taken “morale, good order, discipline and unit cohesion” and shredded it beyond recognition, all in the name of religion.

 

If you belong to one of the mainline Christian churches mentioned above, then we are fighting for you, too.

 

We fight for the rights of all soldiers under the Constitution and the laws of our country.

 

Imagine being in the military and being told that it has the right to proselytize you anytime and anywhere to accept their form of Christianity as the only true one; that you must bow your head and listen to ONLY a Christian prayer at mandatory events; that you are a Warrior for Christ; that you are government paid missionaries; that you must cleanse the whole world of other religions and atheists so Jesus can come back and rule 1,000 years; and that your very career, advancements and retainment is based on that religion.

 

This is what we fight against. Our mainline Christians, those of other religions and atheists should not have their careers held hostage by a “religious test” against the Constitution.

 

“. . . no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”   (Article VI, Section III)

“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 fit into one of these three, then it is a violation of the Establishment Clause.

Then there’s 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 Air Force has not only trampled the Constitution but the Supreme Court Ruling on religious speech in the military, too.

 

Our military is a government entity and must remain secular. Any person that wants to don the uniform of a branch of our military is free to do so with the express admonition from the Constitution and Supreme Court ruling to not exalt one religion over another.

 

The following video will show you that our soldiers – including Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, other religions and atheists – are being FORCED to endure religious proselytizing in mandatory settings. Also, those that are in boot camp are not even allowed to eat or sleep until they break down and accept their form of Christianity.

https://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2012/06/shocking-video-mrff-reveals-u-s-military-being-used-as-government-paid-missionaries/

 

Again, these Dominionists are also pre-millenials who believe we have to take dominion over the whole world (using our military), cleanse it of all religions that do not believe in their sect and non-believers so that Jesus can come back and rule for 1,000 years which throws out the book of Revelations where Jesus said He is coming back with His Heavenly Army, cleanse the earth and then rule.

 

The book of Revelations is the ONLY book in the whole bible that has a curse on it. John said:

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelations 22:18-19)

The bible also says:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” (Romans 13:1-2)

I wouldn’t want to be that Christian that replaces Jesus’ heavenly army with our military and reap the curses according to Revelations or ‘incur judgment’ if I disobey the laws set forth by our ‘governing authorities.’

We are not anti-Christian but are trying to stop this sect from ruining the lives and careers of our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, those of others religions and non-believers.

 

The reason it seems that we are picking on Christians (not all Christians even though they are being swept up in religious fervor against us for the dominionists purposes) is because this sect is the ONLY one over stepping the bounds of our Constitution, case law and military law.

 

Our Mission Statement states exactly what we stand for:

https://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/about/our-mission/

 

And, yes, we fight for freedom of religion under a specific time, place and manner and freedom from religion because our military is secular and must remain that way.

 

The bottom line is that saying “have a blessed day” by those in the military goes against all that our country’s laws stand for.

 

I’m not in the military (I did work for the military under contract from 2003-2004) so I am free to say,

 

Have a blessed day.

 

Pastor Joan

MRFF Advisory Board Member

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