Fellow Cellar Rat

Mike,

I was in (unit withheld), (class withheld).  I recently stumbled across info on you and the MRFF, so I looked at a few of your speeches, interviews, TV spots, etc.

I hope I offer words of encouragement and peace. You and your family show great courage in defending the Constitution and religious freedom.  As a Christian, I am ashamed so many who also claim to be Christians have so maliciously attacked you. I see no evidence from the Gospels that Christ would condone their methods.

I can’t imagine constantly having to circle the wagons and wondering where the next threat to your reputation or personal safety comes from. I hope you and yours can still find solace thru your religious practices and fellowship with those that are like-minded.

May God be real to you in hope, and his love a balm for this life.

(name withheld)


Hi (name withheld) –

Mikey Weinstein shared your email and asked if I’d be interested in sending you a personal note, which I’m more than happy to do.  Sorry that I’ve taken so long to respond — I’ve had a number of challenges arise in the past few weeks. Still, the time and effort that I invest as a volunteer supporter of the MRFF is an important priority to me, so I always return to it as soon as I can.
Like you, I’m a zoomie (CS-17, class of ’85).  I separated from the USAF shortly after the completion of my commitment.  For the past 25 years I’ve been in supply chain management, where today I’m a senior executive with a global chemical logistics company.  I’m also a lifelong, committed, and active Christian.
I think it’s safe to say that an email such as yours offers a tremendous boost of encouragement to Mikey, so I am very, very grateful to you for sending it. I continue to be amazed at the unbelievable level of hate, nastiness, vitriol, and threats that are leveled and Mikey and his family.  The fact that he continues to stay in the fight is testament to the strength of his character.
A few years ago, I sent a note of my own to the MRFF, after learning about the organization through media reports about the “so help me God” controversy at USAFA.  To be frank, my initial engagement was not as supportive as your own… although to be fair, my approach was still pretty open-minded, even if it leaned toward the critical.  More importantly, I was quite ignorant at the time as to all of the issues, and was pretty complacent in my comfort with the notion that Christianity should be prominent in American society and the military.  It didn’t take long, though, to do a bit of independent research and begin to see that the threats opposed by MRFF are very real, and that the stance taken by Mikey and MRFF, with respect to the Constitution and religious freedom in the military, is both principled and appropriate.
Since that time, I’ve done what I can to support the organizations efforts.  I think it’s especially important that grads like you and me, Christians who recognize the validity of MRFF’s mission, are as vocal as possible… particularly within the graduate community but even beyond that constituency.
If you’ve not already considered the following, I’d like to make a request of you….
Consider making yourself available to Mikey as a resource and an advocate, as I have done, to help take the MRFF message both to our fellow grads and to the larger military community.  If you and Mikey have not spoken yet, I’d also encourage you to arrange a phone call with him.  At a minimum, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the force-of-nature that is Mikey Weinstein.  Your support of MRFF’s efforts might be one of the most important contributions you can make to today’s US military… I know that it is for me.
Also, if you’d like to discuss anything I’ve shared here, or any other topic, please drop me a note.  I’d welcome the opportunity.
Peace,
Mike Challman
Christian, USAF veteran, MRFF supporter

Mike,

Thanks for the letter.  While I appreciate the effort you and Mikey are making, I prefer not to participate. I was in CS-33 while Mike was there, so I remember the passion and intellect he had even back then.  I hope both of you are making a difference in the US to protect our ability to be both good citizens and people of faith.
(name withheld)

Hi (name withheld) –

I absolutely respect your decision, but I will also admit to some curiosity, so I’d like to ask — if you feel that the mission of the MRFF is right and just, why would you prefer not to participate?
Know that I’m not poking at you at all… but your thoughts could be very helpful to us with regard to engaging other supportive grads in the future.
If you’d be willing to provide even a little bit of that perspective, I would be enormously grateful.
Peace, Mike

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