Hate Mail?

Hello, I viewed some of the so-called “hate mail” and much of what I saw was an expression of free speech and diversity. Now either your group “hates” free speech by labeling it as “hate” because it opposes your position, or your group simply “hates” that much of what is said may actually be true. Either way, hating on others for having an opinion that opposes your own shows a lack of equality, imposes a double standard, and is a form of discrimination. Additionally, it could be viewed as a form of supremacy because you elevate your position above others. Stop the real hate NOW! – Active Duty Service Member



Hello (name withheld) –

Thanks for writing to the MRFF. I find your note intriguing so I’d like to offer a response. I’m a Christian and USAF veteran, in addition to being an MRFF supporter.
What I find interesting is that you indicate that you’ve read “some of the so-called ‘hate mail’, and much of what you saw was an expression of free speech and diversity.”
I don’t have the benefit of knowing exactly what you read, so maybe you can help me out with a few things —
Into which of those categories do you put the anti-Semitic insults that are hurled at Mikey Weinstein?
How about the fervent wishes that the members of Mikey’s family would suffer terrible illness?
How about the notes that express a deep desire for all MRFF supporters to experience great pain, suffering and even death?

How about the heartfelt prayers from some of my fellow Christians that we should all burn eternally in hell, or the similar notes that gleefully insist such an outcome is already assured and is something these good Christians will relish?

Most of all, how about the threats of physical violence — just where would you categorize those?
Now, you may view such nonsense as ‘diverse free speech’. I don’t. To me, the appropriate criticism of an MRFF position would be to cogently express an opposing view. Even better would be to offer a rational defense of that differing opinion. We do get notes from intelligent individuals who have the ability to write coherently and with good spelling and grammar.
But we get plenty of the other kind, too. I regularly see emails from individuals who self-identify as Christians and then proceed to spew an unbelievable string of insults, profanity, and derision. Hateful? It is if they worship the same God whom I worship.
How about you? Just how inappropriate, nasty, and wrong-headed does an email need to be, before you consider it hateful?
Mike Challman
Christian, USAF veteran, MRFF supporter

Dear (name withheld),

Free speech means that private citizens are free to speak whatever they see fit.  It doesn’t mean that any party can put forward an idea without it being mercilessly dissected by other private citizens practicing free speech.  Any American citizen is free to say hateful things.  We’re free to criticize them.  There’s no infringement of anyone’s rights taking place when we participate in the enduring debate.

We do believe we have well constructed views of civics.  We even believe we’re right.  We believe that the US constitution is the supreme law of the land.  Guess that makes us constitutional supremacists then?  We do think you should keep that oath you swore to defend it.

Blake Page

Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Dear (name withheld),
While you were viewing “some” of our “so-called hate mail”, did you also stumble across the vulgarity coming from Christians? Maybe you saw some of the death threats hurled our way? Did you read any responses that gave the legal argument for our position? Did you take the time to read our mission statement? Did you read Mikey’s bio? Did you check out the military personnel and others from all walks of life that are on the MRFF Board and Advisory Board?
No, you didn’t, otherwise you would have understood us.
Here’s the TRUTH that the media, Christian organizations and the military won’t tell you.
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 but you won’t hear this.
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 or denigrate another religion according to the Constitution, Supreme Court rulings, and the Unified Code of Military Justice. 
What we do is not “hate” but upholding the laws and regulations of those things listed above.
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 or no faith 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.
The 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
Our military is constantly breaking the Lemon Test and Parker v. Levy that our Supreme Court ruled on.
As an “active duty service member” you rely on and obey your superior officers. We rely on the following military personnel for their expertise on religion in the military:
Board Members
Major William E. Barker – As well as overseeing JROTC operations as District Military Instructor for Albuquerque Public Schools, the 28th largest school district in the country, U.S. Marine Corps Major Barker is the Chairman of New Mexico’s 1st District Democrat Congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham’s Academy Selection Team and was recently appointed to the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission representing City Council District 9.
Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV – The last American official to confront Saddam Hussein before the 1990 Gulf War, he has had a 20-plus year career in Intl. relations, and held numerous senior government appointments, including Special Asst. to President Clinton and Sr. Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council.
Advisory 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).
By lashing out at Mikey with your own “opinion” and hate fest (which you fail to see), you have lashed out at all of the military personnel listed above and those involved with MRFF.
You are fighting for your opinion to be heard and we are fighting for the rights of ALL of our soldiers under our laws. Your opinion does not trump their rights.
You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
You gave us your opinion and I gave you the facts – whether or not you want to believe them.
If you are a Christian, you must follow the teachings of Jesus.
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:1-2
As a Christian, I join Mikey and the MRFF family, in making sure that our secular, government entity – the military – obeys our governing authorities. The Christians on those bases are not and will bring judgment on themselves.
Here’s what the bible says about you:
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26
All of the military personnel listed above will be receiving your email with this response. We also have liaisons on almost every base in the world to which we send out an email blast of all incoming emails and their responses, to be dispersed to our soldiers, clients, volunteers and supporters in their respective areas. You will also be able to read your very own hate mail – filled with your opinions – on our website.
May God have mercy on your soul.
Pastor Joan
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Hi (name withheld),

I suspect you’re being somewhat selective in your reading if you choose to defend “much of” what comes our way. If you missed the obscenities, the antisemitism and the threats I’d suggest you take another look.

Of course free speech allows for a lot of pretty awful stuff, but just because people are free to express themselves in an ugly manner doesn’t mean it can’t be properly characterized. Nor does it mean we don’t have the right to respond.

Those who oppose our reading of the constitution are certainly free to do so and say so. If they want to enter into a dialogue, some of our supporters take the time to accommodate them. But it’s a waste of time to respond to people who utter vile, nonsensical or simply disgusting assertions and don’t know how to disagree or even communicate in a reasonable manner.

You, for example, have posited an “either/or” hypothesis here that is more than a bit silly. Either we label attacks “hate mail” because they oppose us or we so label them because they are true? Are you serious? Am I to take this suggestion as an honest assertion that deserves an honest response?

Let me suggest that if you’re actually confused about us you have a number of choices. One I’d suggest is that you look up the MRFF mission statement, read it and think about it.

Of course, you have no obligation to do that; you can continue to hold the view you seem to have begun with, which appears to be that we are dishonest, in need of psychiatric care and a detriment to ourselves and society. None of that is true, in my opinion, but it does us no harm if you choose to cling to that belief. You see, despite your opinion and your willingness to pretend hate mail is free speech, we will continue to do our work protecting the religious freedom of the women and men in the military and enjoy the honest appreciation that comes our way from the thousands who have profited from our efforts.


Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)

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