Simple Questions

Hello. I was looking around your website after being introduced to it through Facebook and I have a simple question that I hope you will respond to. That question being: Are you looking to support religious freedom EQUALLY as support freedom from religion? I read in your introduction that this organization was designed to do both, but was a bit confused when I began reading about your accomplishments that centered around “defeating” Christian crusades. Isn’t the same Constitution you cling to, the one that Christians cling to?

(name withheld)


Dear (name withheld),

The rhetorical separation between “freedom of religion” and “freedom from religion” is a distinction without a difference.  To have freedom of religion we must have freedom from religion.  I know it’s a popular trope nowadays to say something along the lines of Americans having freedom of but not from religion, but let’s unpack what that would actually mean.

Freedom of religion means that any individual is free to practice the religion of their choosing.  If, in a complex society, a group of individuals in positions of legal authority were to coerce their subordinates into the outward expression of faith against their will, freedom of religion of the subordinates would be violated.  Do you agree with that statement?

In considering freedom from religion, let’s imagine that a citizen wishes to practice an uncommon religion, but is instructed by their superiors that the religion they’ve chosen is incorrect and should be changed.  In that case, the subordinate would naturally wish to have freedom from religion being imposed on them.  Would you agree with that statement?

You’ve asked went we oppose Christian crusades, and celebrate overcoming them.  My best answer to that is because crusades are universally known to be morally reprehensible.  There is no version of history that paints crusades as venerable campaigns.  If you believe that forced religion, the definition of crusades, is a good thing then we’ve already discovered the fundamental difference in our viewpoints.

Blake A. Page
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Special Assistant to the President
Director of US Army Affairs


Hi (name withheld),

 

Mikey has read your email and asked me to respond to you because he is busy preparing for a book signing/speaking engagement tonight.

 

Your kind email is among the few we get from our detractors who have not taken the time to check out our website – as you have done – to find out what we really do.

 

You asked: ‘Isn’t the same Constitution you cling to, the one that Christians cling to?

 

Yes, it is, and the majority of Christians abide by it, but there is a small sect of Christianity called Evangelical/Fundamental/Dominionists (not all Evangelicals are Dominionists but all Dominionists are Evangelicals) that have managed over the past three decades to hijack our military. It is this sect we fight against.

 

MRFF is made up of more than just Mikey. There is the Board, the Advisory Board, volunteers and supporters. In fact, 75% of those involved with MRFF 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.

 

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 military law.

 

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)

 

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 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/

 

This is exactly what our Department of Defense wants; our Christian military under the likes of Constantine.

 

Again, these Dominionists are also pre-millenials who believe we have to take dominion over the whole world, 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.

 

These dominionists also believe that during Jesus’ rule, they will be put in places of authority to rule over the people because they have done such a good job for Him.

 

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 their 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.

 

Also, please go to our About section and click on Foundation Voices. You will see a list of the distinguished and honorable men and women that support us. This list is not exhaustive because there are a total of 200 people that are involved in MRRF in some capacity.

 

I hope this answers your questions but feel free to contact me again if you have anymore.

 

Sincerely,

 

Pastor Joan

MRFF Advisory Board Member


 

Good Afternoon, (name withheld) –
Mikey Weinstein has read your email and shared it with me, asking that I provide a reply to you.  I’m a Christian and USAF veteran, in addition to being a volunteer who supports MRFF in a variety of ways.  I appreciate the gracious tone of your email — too many of the notes we receive are decidedly nasty.
You’ve asked — Are you looking to support religious freedom EQUALLY as support freedom from religion?
In a word, yes.  That is exactly what we endeavor to do.  You mention that you’ve been looking around the MRFF website, so you may have seen our mission statement.  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.
I’ve been involved with MRFF for a few years now (having started out as a potential critic but ultimately coming to understand and appreciate the need for a group such as MRFF to advocate on behalf of military members of all beliefs (including non-belief).  Having spent nearly ten years in the military myself, first at the USAF Academy and then as an active duty Air Force officer, I fully appreciate the unique challenges that military members face.  One of those challenging areas is the occasional impropriety of leaders or other superiors who use their position to promote a personal sectarian belief.  Every leader and superior has a right to his belief — but none has a right to misuse his authority to favor that belief over other beliefs.
I often tell people, when I was in the Air Force, I shared my faith every day — but I did so in how I treated others, and in how I strove to be a servant leader, and in my efforts to imbue all of my words and actions with the tenets of my Christian faith.  But I never explicitly proselytized or promoted by religious beliefs to my subordinates?  Why?  Because it was not appropriate for me to do so in my leadership capacity.
You’ve made a distinction in your question between freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion.  I’d ask you to consider that the distinction is a bit of a false dichotomy… they are really two halves of the same coin.  Whenever an individual expresses their own freedom OF religion, he must also recognize that other individuals have a equal right to be free FROM that particular belief, if they so choose.  This is especially true in a military environment, which is incredibly hierarchical and in which subordinates are trained from the first day of Basic Training to listen closely to, and to follow the orders of, their superior officers and NCO’s.  As a result, opinions that are expressed by leaders and other individuals of higher rank take on a degree of importance that really has no parallel in the civilian world.  So it is important that military leaders always ensure that any personal beliefs they share are only shared in an appropriate time, place and manner.
As to your observation that many of the situations in which MRFF finds itself involve Christians — well, as a Christian myself I’m sorry to say that you are correct. But it’s not a case of MRFF seeking out Christians to oppose.  Rather, the sad truth is that most of the military leaders who cross the line happen to be Christians. That is at least in part due to the fact that Christians comprise a majority of the American population, but it’s also due to specific efforts by a small percentage of Christians to promote the dominance and dominion of Christianity over our governmental institutions, including our military.  These Dominionist Christians, who as I said are small in number but very aggressive, care little for what the US Constitution says because they believe it is their God-given mandate to advance the cause of Christianity in these institutions.  This runs exactly contrary to the protections that the Constitution offers to ALL citizens of ALL manner of belief or unbelief.
Nonetheless, we do not stand AGAINST any Christianity or any other specific sectarian belief… rather, we stand FOR the rights owed to military members under the Constitution.
Hope this information is helpful.  I’d be happy to discuss further, or to address any questions or comments you may have.  Thanks again for writing.
Peace,
Mike Challman
Christian, AF veteran, MRFF supporter

Thank you first, for your service to our country, and second, for your response to my email. I have been doing a lot of reading in the Gospels lately (with Easter approaching) and I have found that Jesus was more gracious than many of us who call ourselves followers of Him. It is by our fruit that they will know the truth; not by forcing anything on anyone. Jesus did not force Himself, He offered Himself. Again, thank you for the clarification.
Your sister in Christ,
(name withheld)

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