Army Aviation Unit Symbol

A religious-freedom advocacy group has filed its second grievance in as many weeks with the Army, again demanding that imagery featuring a red crucifix be removed from Army signage — and this time, insisting the aviation unit involved change its logo and its nickname.

 

Really?

 

You people are fucking assholes. Get a Life – Get A REAL Job – Pricks!

(name withheld)


 

 

Good Day, (name withheld) –

Thanks for writing to express your concerns. I’m an MRFF supporter, a USAF Academy graduate (’85), a USAF veteran, and a lifelong, committed and active Christian.
I’m surprised that you can’t see, as a retired Army officer, the fundamental problem with the use of Christian imagery and terminology by US military units. As a Christian myself, the issue still seems very clear — The US military is not a Christian force, and does not have a religious mission. The US military is comprised of brave patriots of many religious beliefs, not just Christians. Our enemies today want to engage us in a religious conflict, and imagery such as this only strengthens the notion that we, too, are engaged in a religious war… when we are not.
Most critically, the Establishment Clause, as intended by our founders and as consistently understood by subsequent generations, prohibits our government (which includes our military) not only from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits actions that unduly favor one religion over another, or unduly prefers religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion.
In the final analysis, I really struggle to understand your objection to the concerns raised by the MRFF. There is ample historical imagery that more appropriately reflects the legacy of American bravery, honor, and sacrifice. Why insist on invoking an aspect of Christian history which has no connection to US military history, which adds nothing but confusion to a proper understanding of the US military mission, and which is an obvious violation of the Establishment Clause?
Peace,
Mike Challman
Christian, USAF veteran, MRFF supporter

Dear (name withheld),
We have a REAL job protecting the religious rights of ALL of our soldiers under the Constitution and Supreme Court rulings.
I’m surprised that as a retired LTC you weren’t aware of them.
We must operate according to the laws in effect today that have been built upon the First Amendment and not reach back in history and ignore them.
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 term 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. I’m sure they don’t think of themselves as “pricks.”
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).
We are not 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.
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
.
They broke the Lemon Test and Parker v. Levy – laws in effect today.
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

Language, (name withheld)… language. Didn’t your mother teach you better than that?

Yes, really. Are you aware of the implications of the logo and the crucifix? Is that what the U.S. military is supposed to be about?

I realize it’s easy, even for someone who is perhaps not fully aware of what’s going on, to dash off a snotty email, but one hopes for better from an officer. It makes me hope the (R) means what I think it does.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Connie

    Ah… the sound of bully theocrats losing their minds because they have to follow the same laws as the rest of us. It is music to my ears. 🙂

    I am so very sad MRFF has to be in the front lines but if anyone can turn the tide so we all think like adults it is you folks. This year I am thankful you exist and hope your holiday is amazing.

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