Robins AFB Gate Greetings

Mr. Weinstein,

I’d like to let you know that your recent position on “gate greetings” proves your organization sucks.

It’s people and organizations like yours that are destroying the fabric of this once great nation.

In short, I hope you choke on your own arrogance. The United States would be a better place without you in it.

Respectfully,

(name withheld)


 

Hi (name withheld),

Got your respectful note.

How would you feel if the gate greeting was “I’ll pray for you”? How about “Allahu Akbar”?

Do you think having a member of the US military greeting people who come into a base met with one of those greetings would be appropriate? If so, you know less about the country you pretend to care about than you think you do. If not, think about it.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

Dear (name withheld)

Mikey has read your email and asked me to respond to you.

 

Our position on ‘gate greetings’ conforms to our laws. What the Air Force did ‘sucks’ by ignoring them.

 

“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. US, 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. ‘Have a blessed day’ violates all three.

 

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.

 

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.

 

We are NOT ‘destroying the fabric of this once great nation’ but the Air Force is by overstepping the boundaries set down by our laws and making their own out of thin air.

 

Your statement “I hope you choke on your own arrogance” has swept up all of those involve with MRFF. A few of those that you think are arrogant are:

 

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).

 

My guess is that these distinguished and honorable men – who know military law better than anyone – are not going to be very happy.

 

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/

 

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 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.

 

Our Mission Statement states exactly what we stand for:

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

 

Actually, the United States is a better place with Mikey in it because he’s trying to repair the fabric of this nation that is being shredded. All who understand our laws concerning religious neutrality in the government should be thanking him.

 

Because of our First Amendment rights – which you don’t seem to like in people who disagree with you  -Mikey and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation aren’t going anywhere.

 

Pastor Joan

MRFF Advisory Board Member


 

Dear (name withheld),

 
Thanks for your kind words. As someone who completed four tours overseas and fought for the religious freedom of any and all in the United States I’m somewhat, or completely, baffled by your inability to comprehend that religious coercion by the state (the state meaning the government) goes against the Constitution of the United States.
 
I can give you two suggestions for fixing this “problem” that you see:
 
1.) Crawl back into the hole of intellectual disengenuity that you climbed out of.
 
2.) Educate yourself on religious freedom.
 
While I very much expect you to do neither of those I figured I would offer my unsolicited advice. “Have a blessed day” is not only sectarian but also wholly unprofessional. I suppose when we have base guards giving greetings like “Allahu Akbar” or “A salam a Lakum” you would have a very different perspective.
Very Respectfully,
Paul Loebe
Special Projects Manager
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Chicago, IL

*Disclaimer: Although I am a Marine Staff Sergeant my views do not reflect the views of the Department of Defense, U.S. Marine Corps, or any affiliated branches.*


 

 

Hi Joan,
 
With regard to your response, it is much more eloquent and informative then the two other buffoons who also responded.
 
In saying this, you are incorrect in assuming I disagree with ones First Amendment Rights. In fact, I believe it is you who have successfully trampled the First Amendment rights of those gate guards who give the salutation, “Have a blessed day.”
 
Who is to say that the statement in question is a Christian statement? Does your organization presume that using the term “blessed” implies anything other than a simple well wishing?
 
With regard to your board, I could give two shits if they aren’t “pleased” with my opinion…again, an exercise of the right to free speech. Again, I must call into question your ability to respect the free speech of those to whom you disagree.
 
In saying this, of the three letters I’ve received from your organization, you are clearly the most intelligent of the group.
 
Have a blessed day.
(name withheld)
 

 
Dear (name withheld),
 
Thank you for this kind email.
 
I have not read the other responses to you, but I would not label them as ‘buffoons.’ Each of us involved with MRFF come from different backgrounds, life experiences and job positions. I come from a religious one.
 
Growing up in the church and later becoming an ordained minister, I was raised on obeying our authorities and the laws they enacted.
 
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (Romans 13:1-2) 
 
I don’t want to “bring judgment” on myself.
 
When I worked for the military – even though I had a background check and badge – I had to go through a screening before I could get on base. When it was done, the soldiers always said “have a nice day and be safe” or “have a great day and be safe.” The greeting at the gate sets the tone for the whole base.
 
I worked with military people, civilians and the families of deployed soldiers of all religious beliefs and those of non-belief. The atmosphere on base was of religious neutrality according to our laws.
 
The reason why we say “have a blessed day” comes from the Christian belief system is because there is a three decades long history of one sect pushing it to the forefront.
 
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  and those Christians born before 1952 when Bill Bright made up the 4 Spiritual Laws, are destined to hell.
 
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.
 
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. 
 
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.
 
Another thing is that because I hold a position with MRFF, I am privy to information the civilian world is not.
 
Besides the Constitution and the Supreme Court ruling on the “Lemon Test”, Parker v. Levy lays out in no uncertain terms, that freedom of speech – including religious speech – is not protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution in the military.
 
As far as me “clearly the most intelligent of the group” I have to differ with you. I have seen the work of the other two and the rest of those involved with MRFF, on other occasions,  and sit back in awe. I often wonder how I was even asked to join and consider myself the least of all of them.
 
If you have other questions, please feel free to ask.
 
May God bless your socks off!
 
Pastor Joan
MRFF Advisory Board Member
 
 

 

Dear (name withheld),

I am writing in response to your March 14, 2015 email to Mikey Weinstein regarding the gate greetings at Robins Air Force Base.  According to your email, The Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s position concerning these greetings “proves” MRFF “sucks.”  I am disappointed that you believe the U.S. would be a better place without people who are committed to ensuring the Constitutional rights of our brave men and women in uniform.

 

MRFF is dedicated to ensuring the religious freedom of all members of the U.S. Armed Forces.  When this freedom is compromised through unwanted religious proselytizing or discrimination, MRFF is called upon to protect the Constitutional rights of its clients.  The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution not only guarantees the free exercise of religion, but also prevents the government from endorsing any particular religion.  Because the military is a branch of the government, it is bound by this Constitutional mandate. 

 

This brings me to the issue of gate greetings at Robins AFB.  When Air Force security forces tell visitors to “Have a blessed day,” they are acting on behalf of the Air Force in endorsing Christianity over other faiths.  This is not a matter of a few visitors or MRFF being “sensitive” or “offended” as a result of the greeting – It’s a matter of Unconstitutionally creating an environment where one religion (in this case, Christianity) is established as the only acceptable faith on the Air Force Base.

 

You may believe there is nothing wrong with telling someone to “Have a blessed day.”  In many circumstances, you would be correct – there is nothing unlawful about that phrase being uttered by a mother to her child on his way to school or by a homeless person to a kind citizen giving him a dollar – even if these things occur on a military base.  However, when said by a person in uniform acting in his/her official capacity, it is an Unconstitutional establishment of religion.  I suspect you would demand action if you were greeted with “Shalom” or “Alhamdulillah” when entering a military base.

 

Contrary to your assertion that MRFF is “destroying the fabric of this once great nation,” MRFF is actually protecting the fabric of this still great nation.  If you link the greatness of this country to the establishment of “Christian” values, you are not only misinformed, but you are sadly unable to appreciate the freedom that truly makes this nation grand.

 

Finally, if anyone is in danger of choking on arrogance, I sincerely suggest that you chew your food very carefully.  It is extremely arrogant to believe that because you disagree with something, it is inherently wrong.  I don’t think anyone can pull off wearing yellow eye shadow, but I don’t write nasty emails to cosmetic companies telling them to stop making it.  If anyone is destroying the fabric of the nation, it is people like you who seem to believe that Constitutional rights are privileges granted only to people with the same belief system as you. 

 

Blessed be,

 

Tobanna Barker

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