1-212th Aviation

As a soldier that fell under the Crusaders for a period of time, I believe targeting this unit is insulting to everyone that serves.  You claim to be pro-military, yet your organization is just another organization that is trying to strip the few remaining traditions that still exist in Army Aviation.  This unit has tremendous legacy and thousands of aviators have fallen under them.  I believe you are making a huge mistake setting them in your crossfire, and it is an embarrassment to the entire military as a whole.  Christianity and Christian symbology from centuries ago are not the enemy.  The fact your anti-Christian organization has even made in my Facebook feed is a sad testament to the times we live in.

(name withheld)


 

Dear (name withheld),

As an administrator of the MRFF Facebook page, I have no idea how it got into your feed because you are not a member.

 

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. In fact, 96% of our 43, 021 soldier clients are Christians. We fight for the rights of Christians more than any other religion.

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

 

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.

 

Just because the crusader name and cross have been there for years doesn’t make it legal.

 

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.

 

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 (which is subservient to the Establishment 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.

 

The crusader name and cross fits into all 3 and therefore it is a violation of the Establishment Clause.

 

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 crusader name and cross broke both the Lemon Test and Parker v. Levy and is constitutionally unprotected.

 

Here are a few of the military people involved with the MRFF who we thank for their service and rely on for their expertise on religion in the military:

MRFF Board

 

Major William E. Barker

Board Member – Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV

 

MRFFAdvisory Board Members (Past and present military personnel)

 

Edie Disler– PhD, Lt Col (Ret), is a 25 year veteran of the Air Force who served as an ICBM crewmember, an Executive Support Officer to the Secretary of Defense, a conventional arms control inspector, a speechwriter, and USAFA faculty professor.

 

Robert S. Dotson–Retired brigadier general.

 

Robert T. Herres– A Naval Academy graduate with a 36 year career in the United States Air Force, he also served a three-year assignment as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the first to hold that position. (December 1, 1932 – July 24, 2008)

 

Kristen Leslie – An Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Yale Divinity School and consultant to the United States Air Force Academy on religious matters.

 

Eagle Man, Ed McGaa – Is an enrolled Oglala Sioux tribal member, OST 15287. After serving in Korea, he earned an undergraduate degree from St. Johns University, MN. He then later rejoined the Marine Corps to become a fighter pilot.

 

Rev. MeLinda Morton – An ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She is a former Chaplain in the United States Air Force, most recently serving at the United States Air Force Academy.

 

George Reed – A faculty member in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego. Before joining the faculty in 2007 he served for 27 years as a military police officer including six as the Director of Command and Leadership Studies at the U.S. Army War College.

 

AA “Tony” Verrengia  – A retired Air Force Brigadier General, He was a Master Navigator that served in air transport operations positions for many years.

 

John Whiteside – He is one of only a few military aviators to possess both Senior Command Air Force wings and aircraft carrier qualified Naval Aviator wings, in addition to having been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism in combat during Operation Desert Storm.

 

Lawrence Wilkerson – Distinguished Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. His last position in government was as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff (2002-05).

 

If the military would abide by the laws and the media would stop the lies, distortions and omissions concerning religion and the military, we wouldn’t be having this fight.

 

Pastor Joan

Advisory Board Member


 

Hi (name withheld),

I’m sorry you fell. Was it on your head?

It’s sad that you don’t understand the damage “Christianity and Christian symbology from centuries ago” does to our military and our nation, but if racist and religious symbolism is a valued “tradition” the loss of which is considered an insult by you or anyone else, the state of our military is a serious concern.

The fact that you label the MRFF an “anti-Christian organization” is an example of the shallowness of your personal ability to comprehend what is actually going on in these “times we live in.”

The Crusaders! My God. How brain-dead does one have to be to fail to appreciate the wrongheadedness of such a title for a U.S. military unit today? If you want to laud the “thousands of aviators” who gathered together to spend their energies defending this country, we’re with you. But let’s savor the memory of their courage, their talent, their dedication and their willingness to risk their lives for their country, not cling tearfully to the memory of a stupidly inept name and symbol that someone should have had the class to reject long ago.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

Mike,

I must have hit my head a little too hard on my desk when I saw what your organization was trying to accomplish with respect to 1-212th.  I’ll admit I jumped to conclusions about your organization without doing proper research, and I have no problem owning up to that.  Thank you for taking your time to write a lengthy response; however, I found the response from Joan to be much more informative.  I hold my position that what you’re trying to accomplish is ridiculous, and it makes an issue out of something that should be nothing.  I don’t know when the military got in the business of catering to easily offended and weak-willed individuals.  And for the record, I have deployed to Afghanistan as a UH-60 MEDEVAC pilot and trained under the outstanding soldiers of 1-212th.

Respectfully,
(name withheld)

Hi (name withheld),

I’m glad Pastor Joan was helpful. Did her reply help you understand how far off-base you were with the “anti-Christian” shot?

You’re welcome to your position and can hold it as long as you’d like. But tell me, would you find it at all disturbing if, for example, a fine young fighting unit of the U.S. military chose to call itself the “SS,” or perhaps the “Gestapo,” and chose as its symbol a swastika?

Thanks for your service.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Connie

    Pastor Joan said: If the military would abide by the laws and the media would stop the lies, distortions and omissions concerning religion and the military, we wouldn’t be having this fight.

    I was going to comment, to add my two cents if you will, but what Pastor Joan said is perfect and bears repeating everywhere. Thank you. 🙂

  2. Yeshua Warrior

    There is nothing wrong with having a Crusader logo for a military unit, and only now is it a problem because Mr. Mikey Whinestein gets all bent out of shape. I wonder when Mikey will also ask the Army or Marines to remove the patch on military personnel who are in tank commands that says “Hell on Wheels.”? Hell is just as much a religious notion as are Crusaders!

    Do you know how many colleges there are today, which receive federal funds that their mascot is a Crusader? Granted the most of them are religious schools except for one, North Greenville University who have a Crusader Knight with sword on their football helmets, now do you think any of them care about offending radical Islamists?

    Since when should care about pissing off our enemies? I will willingly piss off a radical Islamist by making fun of their pedophile prophet Mohammed. I am sure that our military forces had no problem in pissing off the Nazi’s and Japs in WWII, while we flattened all of Germany with our bombers, and radiating the Japs in Japan!! Gen Patton would roll over in his grave if he knew what has happened to our military today, I bet he would shot Obama in the head for treason and shoot MIkey for stupidiy!

    I wonder if Mikey was the same age during the Vietnam War if he would force the Navy to change the name of one of their aircraft the A-7 since it was known as the “Crusader”

    Mikey so concerned that we don’t incite Muslims to hate us, when they need no incitement at all, they have always hated us, because according to the Koran, they are to kill the infidel, that is you, me and Mikey especially since he is regarded as Jew Pig to them! Radical Islamists are like cockroaches that just need to be exterminated down to every last man, woman and child, since they teach and train their women and children to hate and kill every Christian and Jew! Every Muslim who is unwilling to kill another Muslim should get out of our military now!!

    ISIS is like the Cannanites of Israel’s old testament times, and God told the Israelites to wipe out every man, woman and child of them which was Israel’s enemy!

    I wish every Crusader battalion, squadron or whatever happy hunting and kill the radical Islamists. As Patton use to say, “we want to make the enemy spill their blood, rather than us spilling our blood, and to use their guts to grease the wheels of our tanks!”

    God bless the military and the USA!!

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