About this org.

I’m curious….. Are the people supporting the efforts of the Organization primarily  atheists or agnostics.   I find it Interesting that so many people are bent on changing history.  Why is it important now after 200plus years.  We are finding that some religions are being treated differently too. Some are favored over others. Just curious…..thanks

(name withheld)


 

Dear (name withheld),

Rarely do we get an email asking what we are really about instead of believing everything they read and hear. You’re a gem amongst the tremendous amount of hate mail we receive.
 
I will be more than happy to respond to your curiosity.
 
We are neither an atheist organization nor are we anti-Christian. Mikey is Jewish (and prays to the same Father we do 3 times a day) and 80% of the Board, Advisory Board, volunteers and supporters (244 in total) of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) are Christians (Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans, etc. In fact, 96% of our 42, 711 soldier clients are Christians (Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Evangelicals, etc.) We fight for the rights of Christians more than any other religion.
 
Christians listed above are under extreme emotional distress and persecution by an extreme fringe of Christianity better as known Dominionists. Though this sect only makes up about 10% of the Air Force Academy- but hold 85-90% of all chaplain slots – they are the most vocal and allowed to run roughshod over the other 90%. They crave media attention in the hopes of drawing in those mainline Christians – which THEY persecute – outside of the academy to come to their defense and it’s working very well.
This is what the military thinks of the faith of those Christian denominations listed above:
 
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 in our military all the way up the chain of command towards mainline Christians; they should be stomped out and they’re doing everything from harassment, in-your-face religious proselytizing, poor performance ratings, advancements withheld, kicked out the military on trumped up charges in order to force their view of Christianity on our soldiers to make them convert or else – all in the name of Jesus.
 
Let’s not forget the Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and those of other beliefs or no belief that are subject to the same abuse.
 
This is what we fight against.
 
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) does NOT act on its own but at the request of our soldiers’ and their complaints of the blatant disregard and trampling of the Constitution and the Military Code of Justice; blurring the lines between the separation of church and state. Every complaint is vetted by Mikey who was a JAG lawyer at the Air Force Academy for 10 years; worked in the West Wing under Ronald Reagan; and held positions in private practice. 
 
Our military is secular – which includes those of other faiths or no belief system – and it must not advance one religion over another according to the Constitution, Supreme Court rulings and the Unified Code of Military Justice. Religious activities must be in the hands of the Chaplains on Chapel grounds, not in the hands of the Commander on base-wide grounds.
As defenders of the Constitution we fight for the separation of church and state.
“…but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” (Article I, III)
 
This means that from the President to Congress to the military – no one’s job is based on their religion.
 
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion (Establishment Clause), or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (Free Exercise Clause).”(First Amendment)
 
The Establishment Clause means that you cannot favor one religion over another even though it is in the majority. This clause respects the RIGHTS of all religions. Our military is SECULAR and there are people of other faiths that don the uniform that love this country. 
 
The Free Exercise Clause means that our soldiers are free to exercise any religion they want or no religion at all but cannot elevate one God above others.
 
“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.
 
In 1878 “separation of church and state” became part of the Establishment Clause BY LAW.
 
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.
 
Government action violates the Establishment Clause unless it:
1. Has a significant secular (i.e., non-religious) purpose.
2. Does not have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion.
3. Does not foster excessive entanglement between government and religion.
 
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 their own rules on religious neutrality and on September 1, 2011, then-Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, issued a memorandum for all USAF commanders that stated plainly:

“Although commanders are responsible for these programs, they must refrain from appearing to officially endorse religion generally or any particular religion. Therefore, I expect chaplains, not commanders, to notify Airmen of Chaplain Corps programs.”

In Air Force Instruction 1-1, USAF top brass laid down the letter of the law in regards to religious proselytizing:

“2.12. Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause. Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.” (emphasis added)”

 
Though Christianity is in the majority, they cannot have preferential treatment. As former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said “We don’t count heads when enforcing the First Amendment.”
 
Please read our Mission Statement and you will see that it conforms to the laws, rules and regulations mentioned above.
 
I hope I have cleared up any misconceptions you had concerning our mission.
 
Pastor Joan
MRFF Advisory Board Member

 

 

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