Stop hating christians

Please stop this sinful hateful language and behavior toward those who express their religious freedom in this country!

 

Though I am proud to be a veteran and Christian citizen of this country, I am sickened that you represent out country.  I am greatly disturbed at your recent hateful speech toward men and women in uniform who express their beliefs publicly….just as you have done in the media and on your website. Your actions are shameful and quite embarrassing!

 

By conscience I cannot support your organization.

(name withheld)


 

Dear (name withheld),

No one here is asking you to support us.

 

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 – Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodist, Lutherans, Baptists, 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.

 

You have been duped by the media that left out pertinent facts.

 

AFI (Air Force Instruction) 1-12.12, which 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 Establishment Clause.

 

Read this article to get the full scope of what is truly going on: http://www.csindy.com/IndyBlog/archives/2015/12/02/usafas-tebow-prayer-stirs-controversy

 

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.

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

 

Check out the honorable and distinguished military personnel and people from all walks of life that support the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/about/foundation-voices/

 

What would you say if this was going on? It was created by the MRFF Graphic Artists..

 

 

<image003.png>

 

If the military obeyed the laws and regulations listed above, we wouldn’t be having this fight.

 

Tradition does not trump our laws.

 

Pastor Joan

MRFF Advisory Board Member


 

Hi (name withheld),

We don’t consider either our language or our behavior hateful. And we don’t have any problem with people expressing their religious convictions, as long as they do it appropriately. You see, in the military, because it is part of the government, there is a proper time, place and manner for such expressions. Officially, as part of a military unit, organization or body, one must keep her or his belief to oneself. In chapel, mosque, temple or other place of worship, one can express away.

There was nothing hateful about the expression of disgust with the ostentatious Christian promotion done by the USAFA team. As a matter of fact, the charge made against the Academy for this improper act was made on behalf of cadets and some members of the team who feel it is inappropriate but fear that openly opposing it will cause harm to their careers. This feared harm is a very real part of their presence at the Academy and on the team because of the zealotry of the promoters of a particular sect of Christianity in positions of authority there.

I don’t know if you, as a proud veteran and Christian, believe in condemning those, even other Christians, who do not share your particular belief. If you do, shame on you. If you do not, work up a bit of your Christian compassion for those who are discriminated against because they do not toe the denominational line at the Academy.

And ask your conscience what you might be inclined to do if presented with this:

<image001.jpg>

Best,

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

Thanks for your reply.  Perhaps I do not have the whole picture, but it was my understanding that these players did keep their “belief to oneself”.  I have not heard how these players “forced” their beliefs on others or “forced” others at the school to endorse their religious beliefs.  I am curious to hear how other cadets “feared harm” as a result of this. Is there any objective evidence of this?… because I certainly would be outraged if this were true.

 

As you have endorsed your graphic artist’s “what if” version of players bowing down on carpets to Allah as Muslims do, I am certain that Muslims would find it offensive if you endorsed a graphic art of them portrayed as praying to El Elyon (God Most High) rather than to Allah.  What I do find as a positive parallel is that the players in the graphic art (just as the actual players huddled on their knees) are not forcing others or striking fear into other cadets not taking part in their freedom of religious expression. I am not finding this true in your statements and articles; if Christ does not exist and is a false deity to you, where is this animosity coming from? You seem to only condemn one particular faith in your webpage and emails; this is not fair nor impartial.

As a “compassionate” person, I am concerned for you and want to leave you with these verses; please allow your conscience to weigh their content as you may:

(Psalm 78: 38-39) Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.”

(Psalm 103:13) “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”

(name withheld)


 

Hi (name withheld), to believe. That’s your privilege, of course, but let me just say that you clearly don’t, as you suggest is possible, have the whole picture.

 

Your understanding is not correct. What you have heard has not given you the whole picture. However, it is not my job to provide the “objective evidence” necessary to educate you to the reality of the situation. If you care enough to look into it with an open mind I’m sure you’ll learn some things that you may find to be rather disquieting.

The graphic artist’s rendering was provided only to make the point, as you may have missed, that had the demonstration of religious devotion by the team been to another faith the reaction would have been quite different. And the hope was that any discomfort felt by any member of the audience to that display might then be useful in sensitizing them to what someone of another belief may experience when the team kneels in Christian prayer.

I know of no one who has said or even implied that “Christ does not exist and is a false deity.” How have you come to raise such a question in communication with us?

The preponderance of references to the forced Christian proselytizing you noted is a result of the preponderance of complaints about forced Christian proselytizing. We occasionally have had to deal with over-zealous atheists and problems with assorted other issues, but the single biggest problem we are asked to help with is created by a sect of Christian believers who are so sure theirs is the one and only true faith that they condemn any and all who do not fall in line, including Catholics and main-line Protestants.

Thanks for your concern. As far as your references to compassion are concerned, I believe it was Jesus who reprimanded pious leaders of his day for being people who “preach, but do not practice.”

Worth thinking about.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

Mike,

 

I understand that you cannot provide objective evidence to answer my questions, but how can MRFF come to conclusion that what these football players did was offensive, harmful to others, forceful, etc. if MRFF did not observe something that was offensive or violating rights of others? What did they do that forced others to endorse what they were doing, or what did they do that caused other students at the academy to feel fearful?

 

Everyone should be able to freely and respectfully express their religious beliefs, whether this involves Buddhists, Agnostics, Muslims, or Christians.  By you targeting these players, you are actually expressing your personally beliefs and quite frankly, forcing these players to adopt your beliefs.

 

Can you please clarify how your are protecting religious expression (in this case)?  Can you also please clarify what the limits of religious expression would be in this situation? If what the players expressed is considered religious and a prayer, what did they pray about (content) that you are wanting to limit?  Did they say something that should be limited, or was the action of simply getting on their knees something that should be limited?   I am confused.  How did their words or actions disapprove of the beliefs of others?  What did you observe or hear that demonstrated this? How did they, as you say, “condemn”, through this action, the beliefs of others?

 

I am worried that MRFF’s intentions for creating and endorsing the graphic art were to purposefully offend Christians; however, I was not offended by it and agree that Muslims should be able to pray in a manner that is not forced on others or strike fear into others. Were the football players’ intentions to offend people?  Did MRFF talk with the football players to see what their intentions were?  According to your definition of “endorsing”, no one would be able to express their beliefs publicly; Muslims would be condemned for kneeling down toward Mecca; it seems ironic that you would endorse this in your graphic art. All religions should have ability and freedom to express their beliefs publicly without taking away the rights of others who do not share their beliefs.

I read though and considered the bible passage you referenced from Matthew 23.  Some things that stood out to me include: Jesus spoke to his disciples about the negative behavior and actions of scribes and Pharisees; in the context of this passage I would be considered a disciple….someone who follows and believes in Christ.  Jesus expresses concern in verse 3 about those (scribes and Pharisees) who “say but do not” (preach but do not practice what they preach). Verse 13 states that scribes and Pharisees “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men…” and follows this with various “Woe unto you” passages. In verse 23, Jesus says they (scribes and Pharisees) “…have omitted the weightier matters of the law, mercy and faith…”  Jesus goes on to link these actions and words to “hypocrisy and iniquity” (verse 28), to continues to say that “thou killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee” (verse 37), and “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

 

I want to understand your view and apologize if anything I said has been said too quickly and based more on emotion than fact. Thank you for continuing this dialogue. It is important for me to understand your views and to make sure I am not wrongly judging others for expressing their beliefs as I want to express my own.

(name withheld)


 

Hi (name withheld),

I’ll respond to your message below, IN CAPS so you’ll be able to differentiate my responses from your questions and assertions.

And I’ll attach a message that may help you better understand the problem.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)

I understand that you cannot provide objective evidence to answer my questions, but how can MRFF come to conclusion that what these football players did was offensive, harmful to others, forceful, etc. if MRFF did not observe something that was offensive or violating rights of others? What did they do that forced others to endorse what they were doing, or what did they do that caused other students at the academy to feel fearful?

WHAT YOU DON’T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND, OR PERHAPS DON’T WANT TO UNDERSTAND, IS THAT WE WERE CONTACTED BY CADETS AND MEMBERS OF THE TEAM AND ASKED FOR HELP WITH THIS PROBLEM. FYI, I’LL ATTACH BELOW SUCH A REQUEST.

Everyone should be able to freely and respectfully express their religious beliefs, whether this involves Buddhists, Agnostics, Muslims, or Christians.  By you targeting these players, you are actually expressing your personally beliefs and quite frankly, forcing these players to adopt your beliefs.

WE COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOUR FIRST SENTENCE ABOVE. THE SECOND IS SILLY. WE ARE EXPRESSING OUR CONCERN ABOUT A VIOLATION THAT IS BEING COMMITTED INTENTIONALLY AND SHOULD BE DISCONTINUED. WE ARE ‘FORCING’ NOTHING. NO ONE HERE IS OPPOSED TO ANYONE’S “BELIEF.” PEOPLE ARE WELCOME TO THEIR BELIEFS. HOWEVER, IN THE MIITARY ONE HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO BE APPROPRIATE IN THE MANNER IN WHICH SAID BELIEF IS EXPRESSED.

Can you please clarify how your are protecting religious expression (in this case)?  Can you also please clarify what the limits of religious expression would be in this situation? If what the players expressed is considered religious and a prayer, what did they pray about (content) that you are wanting to limit?  Did they say something that should be limited, or was the action of simply getting on their knees something that should be limited?   I am confused.  How did their words or actions disapprove of the beliefs of others?  What did you observe or hear that demonstrated this? How did they, as you say, “condemn”, through this action, the beliefs of others?

LIKE IT OR NOT, THE FOOTBALL TEAM OF THE USAFA, MADE UP OF MILITARY CADETS, IS A MILITARY UNIT. AS SUCH, AN OVERT PUBLIC EXPRESSION OF A PARTICULAR RELIGIOUS BELIEF VIOLATES THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. AS SAID BELOW, PARTICIPATION IS FELT ON THE PART OF PARTICIPANTS TO BE ‘REQUIRED,’ FOR FEAR OF OSTRACISM IF THEY DO NOT DO SO. BEYOND THAT, THE OVERT DEMONSTRATION OF CHRISTIAN BELIEF ON THE PART OF A MILITARY UNIT AT A TIME IN WHICH TERRORISTS ARE ATTEMPTING TO PORTRAY THE U.S. AND THE WEST AS INVOLVED IN A CRUSADES-LIKE WAR WITH THE INTENTION OF DESTROYING ISLAM IS A BLATANT, UNNECESSARY, INAPPROPRIATE PROVOCATION THAT PLAYS DIRECTLY INTO THEIR HANDS.

I am worried that MRFF’s intentions for creating and endorsing the graphic art were to purposefully offend Christians; however, I was not offended by it and agree that Muslims should be able to pray in a manner that is not forced on others or strike fear into others. Were the football players’ intentions to offend people?  Did MRFF talk with the football players to see what their intentions were?  According to your definition of “endorsing”, no one would be able to express their beliefs publicly; Muslims would be condemned for kneeling down toward Mecca; it seems ironic that you would endorse this in your graphic art. All religions should have ability and freedom to express their beliefs publicly without taking away the rights of others who do not share their beliefs.

YOUR WORRY ABOVE IS A CREATION OF YOUR OWN MISTAKEN BELIEF ABOUT THE INTENTIONS OF THE MRFF AND THERE’S LITTLE ONE CAN DO ABOUT THAT. TO SAY YOU “WERE NOT OFFENDED BY IT” IS QUESTIONABLE, AT A MINIMUM.  THE HYPERSENSITIVITY OF SOME CHRISTIANS, IN MY PERSONAL OPINION, IS MORE A RESULT OF A LACK OF FAITH OR A KIND OF PERSECUTION COMPLEX THAT IS PLAYED UPON BY THOSE WHO WOULD CREATE AN IMAGINARY  “WAR ON CHRISTIANITY” TO ENHANCE THEIR CHRISTIAN CREDENTIALS IN ORDER TO ADVANCE A FUNDAMENTALIST AGENDA.

PER YOUR MISREADING OF THE GRAPHIC, IT WAS INTENDED TO SIMPLY ALLOW THE VIEWER ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE. I SUSPECT OTHERS HAD THE INTENDED REACTION, WHICH WAS TO BETTER UNDERSTAND HOW INAPPROPRIATE SUCH A PUBLIC DISPLAY MIGHT FEEL TO ONE WHO WAS NOT OF THAT FAITH.

YOU MISS THE POINT BY ASSERTING THAT OUR VIEW OF ‘ENDORSING’ MEANS THAT “NO ONE WOULD BE ABLE TO EXPRESS THEIR BELIEFS PUBLICLY.” IT MEANS, SIMPLY, THAT PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF A RELIGIOUS BELIEF BY A MILITARY UNIT AND/OR BY ONE IN AUTHORITY IN THE MILITARY ARE INAPPROPRIATE. IN THE MILITARY, RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IS CERTAINLY ALLOWED, BUT MUST BE GUIDED BY AN ADHERENCE TO CONCERNS OF TIME, PLACE AND MANNER.

I read though and considered the bible passage you referenced from Matthew 23.  Some things that stood out to me include: Jesus spoke to his disciples about the negative behavior and actions of scribes and Pharisees; in the context of this passage I would be considered a disciple….someone who follows and believes in Christ.  Jesus expresses concern in verse 3 about those (scribes and Pharisees) who “say but do not” (preach but do not practice what they preach). Verse 13 states that scribes and Pharisees “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men…” and follows this with various “Woe unto you” passages. In verse 23, Jesus says they (scribes and Pharisees) “…have omitted the weightier matters of the law, mercy and faith…”  Jesus goes on to link these actions and words to “hypocrisy and iniquity” (verse 28), to continues to say that “thou killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee” (verse 37), and “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

FINE. YOU’RE WELCOME TO YOUR INTERPRETATION OF THE WORD. BUT WHEN IN THE MILITARY ONE MUST BE GUIDED BY LAW AND REGULATIONS IN EXPRESSING IT.

I want to understand your view and apologize if anything I said has been said too quickly and based more on emotion than fact. Thank you for continuing this dialogue. It is important for me to understand your views and to make sure I am not wrongly judging others for expressing their beliefs as I want to express my own.

YOU ARE WELCOME TO EXPRESS YOUR BELIEFS. IF YOU’RE IN THE MILITARY, AS PART OF THE GOVERNMENT, YOU MUST BE GUIDED BY CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS.

Mike Farrell


 

Mike
I still am not hearing what specifically about the players was offensive, struck fear in others, or forceful. If you don’t know, then I am confused about what you are defending. If others reported something, what did they report specifically…other than players being on their knees in what appears to be a prayer?
I am also concerned that, while concerned about other people’s offenses (specifically Christians), you are not careful about the language you use that can be offensive and provoking to others. You have used words like “what you do don’t seem to understand”,  “problem”, “silly”, “like it or not”, “crusades-like war”, “overt”, “inappropriate provocation”, creating a “fear of ostracism”, “your own mistaken belief”, “lack of faith”, “to advance a fundamentalist agenda”, “imaginary”, “hypersensitivity”, “questionable,” etc.
I have been very patient, but have you considered how your comments can be seriously biased, opinionated, out of context, and slanderous?
I am also a veteran, so I do understand what my restrictions are, including my rights and privileges.
Please consider other bible commentaries written about Matthew 23; there are dozens of respected and accomplished authors considered experts in their field who share these interpretations. You initiated this, so I just want you to put in its proper context…a biblical one.
I do not at this point expect you or the offended cadets to provide any real evidences about these claims against military men and women who express their beliefs in a civil, peaceable, and law abiding manner. Linking this to global terrorism and hate toward Islam is an error to say the least; We love Muslims, but we do not love what terrorists do. Separation of church and state protects students from the state imposing religious beliefs on them, and it allows them freedom to express their personal beliefs. Congress cannot prohibit the free exercise thereof. Leaders are not allowed to force or coerce students, but someone who does not like a person praying does not mean that their first amendment freedoms are being violated!
It is very unlikely that ISIS and other terrorists are concerned about, or watching, football games. Who is playing into their hands?….your plan to restrict religious freedoms reflects the mentality of people where there is no religious freedom. You are promoting fear in those who are given freedom through 1st Amendment…..not freedom FROM religion, but freedom OF religion.
I will assume judging by your lack of proof, obvious prejudice and stereotypes against Christians, and condescending comments, I will not be able to continue a decent dialogue with you.
I am ashamed how you have chosen to use your authority and position as a platform to represent your personal biases and agenda.
(name withheld)

Hi (name withheld),

I’m sorry but I’ll have to leave it at we don’t agree. You claim to want evidence and then refuse to accept the evidence. I don’t think you’re confused, I think you are determined to find a reason to refuse to acknowledge that this behavior is wrong because it undermines your fundamental premise.

Quibbling about words with which you disagree or at which you choose to take offense won’t make you right, no matter how hard you try.

You think of yourself, apparently, as having been patient when all you’ve done is try to find ways to avoid accepting the simple reality of the situation by turning opposition to an inappropriate practice into an anti-Christian crusade.

If you are a veteran, as you say, then you understand that defense of the constitution is the job of those in the military. Religious freedom is one of the things protected in that constitution and separating the church from the state is a way to ensure the freedom of belief – or non-belief if one so chooses – of everyone. I know it’s the fact that others may hold to a different belief that rankles, but I’m afraid you’ll have to learn to live with it.

Your reliance on Biblical references turn the discussion into a circular one as they undergird your thinking but have no relevance to the question at hand.

You are correct in concluding that we cannot conduct a meaningful dialogue. Apparently you are not capable of doing so. I had hoped that was not the case but it is clear that you are impeded by an inability to see beyond the belief-imposed blinders that perceive only an attack on Christianity while allowing you to take offense at innocuous words of mine at the same time as you arrogate to yourself the high and mighty right to profess shame at my purported abuse of authority and ascribe it to my status as captive of a prejudice against Christians.

This is pathetic.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this page:

Commenter Account Access

  • Register for a commenter account
    (Not required to post comments, but will save you time if you're a regular commenter)
  • Log in using your existing account
  • Click here to edit your profile and change your password
  • All comments are subject to our Terms of Use

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this article!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*