MRFF, AU denounce religious coercion

Yet I do not see you speaking out against Islamic practices in the public arena.  Where are your loyalties?

(name withheld)


 

 

 Dear (name withheld),
 
Why would you think we need to speak out on what happens in the “public arena” when our organization deals with the military?
 
If there were Muslims laying down their prayers rugs and praying on the football field, we would be going after them and I’m sure you would be, too.
 
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 43,300 soldier clients (1 can represent many) are Christians – Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodist, Lutherans, Baptists, Evangelicals, etc. We fight for the rights of these Christians more than any other religion but it never makes the news. 
Mikey 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.
 
Where are our loyalties? They are to the Constitution, case laws and most importantly to our soldiers of all faiths and those with no belief system.
The Constitution and subsequent Supreme Court rulings uphold the separation of church and state and prohibits any government entity – which includes our military – from supporting or advancing any religion.
 
AFI (Air Force Instruction) 1-1, Section 2.12 reads in part:
“…leaders at all levels in the Air Force must ensure that 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.”
 
“Leaders at all levels” include the football coaches.
 
By allowing public prayer by the football players in Air Force uniform, command is officially endorsing one religion – Christianity.
 
 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 [in any form] 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 football players’ right to public prayer is constitutionally unprotected.
 
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
Prayer on the field fits into all 3 and therefore it is a violation of the Lemon Test under the Establishment Clause. Plus, it violates AFI 1-1 and Parker v. Levy.
Read these articles to get the full scope of what is truly going on: 
Read our mission statement and see that we are for prayer consistent with time, place and manner under the laws and regulations set forth above.
Check out the honorable and distinguished military personnel and people from all walks of life that support the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
 
I hope I cleared up any misconceptions about our stance concerning religious neutrality in the military – based on our laws.
 
If the Air Force would abide by their regulations and our laws, we wouldn’t be having this fight.
 
Let me know when you see another religion disregarding these laws in the military and we’ll be right on it.
 
Merry Christmas,
Pastor Joan
MRFF Advisory Board Member

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. Connie

    Again and again, until everyone is clear – The military is an extension of the government who represents us all (at least in theory). When a person in uniform expresses their faith they are officially endorsing one faith over all others. It doesn’t matter if a person believes to their core that their faith is the ONE TWUE faith. The government and military of the USA is designed to be secular.

    Why is this so hard to understand?

    Here are a few of my guesses – it’s not really about religion but about power. Actually that’s my only guess because throughout history it’s always been about power. Who gets to wield it against those that threaten the power, who gets to collect monies because of the power, and who gets to marginalize others to keep themselves in power.

    If religion was really about love, taking care of others, and living their life according to their tenets of faith history would be much different.

  2. Yeshua Warrior

    Connie,

    Anyone can express their faith while in the mililtary!!

  3. Yeshua Warrior

    Dear Pastor Joan,

    You are always saying that Mikey is Jewish and prays to the same Father 3 times a day, big whoop!! Does not mean that God ever listens to his prayers or answers them!

    Have you ever shared your faith in Christ with Mikey? if not, then Mikey faces an eternal existence apart from the God he prays to 3 times a day. Do you even realize that scripture says that salvation is of the Jews and the gospel is to go to them first? Do you believe John 14:6 where Jesus says, no man can come to the Father but through Me?! Just because Mikey is Jewish does not guarantee for him a place in heaven one day, He MUST accept Christ as his Messiah in order to have eternal life!

    So, Pastor Joan, will you stand by and watch Mikey go to hell, or will you offer him the way of salvation? Choose wisely!!

  4. gary

    what a waste of time. dont you have anything better to do? i guess not. now i am wasting time writing this because i feel i have to put an end to all the ridiculous blah blah blah that is spewed throughout the country. you are correct with your points about the constitution and government. i believe in our constitution, bill of rights etc 100% but this is a christian nation always has always will be. if they want to pray shut up and let them. if it favors christians good it should. you have valid points but running on empty in common sense. good day

  5. Connie

    Gary – I believe defending my country from a traitor like YW to be my responsibility as a citizen.

    It is obvious from your words you are a theocrat who believes Gods Laws before the Constitution in all things to do with governing people. This is the USA. No matter your personal lack of faith or belief in any of the thousands of religions available on the planet, if you are on duty/working while representing the government/military you conduct yourself in a secular and respectful manner.

    In my opinion the AFA football team is committing treason. Harsh? Why? They are breaking the rules, even though the authorties of the team gave the “official okey-doke”.

    I’m not touching your insistence that Christianity be given an unlimited get out of jail card. Well, maybe a little. Traitor. That’s you too.

  6. Yeshua Warrior

    Connie,

    You truly are a piece of work. First you call me a radical terrorist and now you call me a traitor. If you stood in front of me and told me that, I would spit in your face and slap you silly. First of all, regarding me being a terrorist, maybe you should look up the definition of what terrorist means and secondly what terrorists do, I do not lay down IED’s along the roadside to blown up American troops, I do not wear a suicide vest and walk into a pizzeria in Israel and blow up innocent civilians, nor do I launch rockets at innocent civilians and hide behind my children and make them my shield from being shot. I am not cutting off peoples heads if they do not convert to Christianity. Just because I want everyone to know the truth of the gospel about the free gift of salvation there is Christ does not make me a “terrorist.” Secondly you call me a traitor, really, how so? I would also say how dare you. I come from an almost Marine family, father and two uncles served in WWII, and brother and cousin in Vietnam. I am one of the most patriotic and pro military people you will find! My father and two uncles would roll over in their grave at how our military has become, that we are not afraid to kill the enemy at any chance compared to today. They were willing to shed their blood and die if necessary to defend the rights of you and me to exercise our religious freedoms according to the 1st Amendment.

    I have taken the liberty to look of the definitions of what you claim I am:
    Terrorist : “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.”
    Traitor: “a person who is not loyal to his or her own country, friends, etc. : a person who betrays a country or group of people by helping or supporting an enemy.”

    You also said that the AFA football players committed treason by praying in the end zone, really?
    Treason: “the crime of trying to overthrow your country’s government or of helping your country’s enemies during war.”

    So you tell me, how is football players praying trying to overthrow their country or helping the enemy during the time of war?

    You want to know who the real traitors and treasonous people are, first of all Bowie Burghal, who deserves to swing from a rope for walking off his base and asking where the Taliban are. Finally the other people would be that monkey ear Muslim who calls himself, president, vice-president Biden, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, for they are traitors and treasonous towards the American people, the military and our best ally Israel. I would like to see all swinging from a rope some day for their high crimes and misdeamnors against the American people and our military!!

  7. Connie

    YW – you are fond of saying you have a first amendment right to say what you will and too bad if someone is hurt or insulted by your words. Guess you really don’t practice what you preach.

    As for slapping me, place a hand on me and we will see what happens next. I am well aware of your habit of advocating violence for those you find to be ‘other’. Again, you do not follow the teachings of your saviour and therein lies the basis of our disagreements. Here is a question for you – why would Jesus Christ command his followers to love their enemies when you consistently talk about killing them? Are you saying you know better than Jesus?

    I like your attempt at deflection – but we were talking about the AFA and you. Using your definitions:

    ***************************
    Terrorist : “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.”
    Traitor: “a person who is not loyal to his or her own country, friends, etc. : a person who betrays a country or group of people by helping or supporting an enemy.”
    Treason: “the crime of trying to overthrow your country’s government or of helping your country’s enemies during war.”
    **********************************

    The AFA football players took an oath to uphold the Constitution. They deliberately ignored that oath to make a show of faith while in uniform which shows endorsement of religion – their religion. Perhaps treason is a strong term, but the deliberate in your face show needs a deliberate in your face response.

    I agree, you are not physically beheading people if they don’t convert, but you regularly dehumanize anyone you consider ‘other’, disrespect any religion that is not yours, and proselytize ad nauseum earning you the label of spiritual rapist in my book. Rapists want to cause fear which also makes you a terrorist.

    You’ve commented before – God before Country. The bible before the Constitution when governing people. Seems pretty clear to me – you are a theocrat which is not compatible with democracy.

    Sharing YW, the key word is sharing. It’s not you versus the gays, abortionists, and all the folks you wish would go away. Instead we are all one giant family which needs to figure out how to get along. If you don’t want to do that, then yes, you are a traitor and I pity you for not understanding that fact.

  8. Angel santiago

    Mikey, and company, are way too PC.

    I’ll go one further: you’re idiots. As an officer, we finish off our oath of office w/ a simple, yet powerful phrase: “so help me God.” If someone is not believing of that, they need not take the oath. Furthermore, if I say ‘God Bless you” or “Merry Christmas” to a non-Christian, it is not an insult. It is an extension of grace from my belief system. It is not a slam on anyone else’s beliefs, but an extension of good will as a human being.

    Please use your time and effort to positively contribute to society, instead of wasting all of your time fighting for something that is senseless. Americans can have different faith and still be united in what is good in the world. Orgs like yours work continue to work on dividing all of us.

    -fin

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