God bless everyone who believes and those who don’t can ignore

Bring offended by someone or something I’d a choice. You people are choosing to be so annoyed a military base that has a supportive sign you want it taken down? Your group’s existence is what truly is offensive. You are offended at good wishes to people. If someone says “god bless you” to you when you sneeze, are you truly offended? Why are you offended by signs of hope and well wishes and not offended by things that are truly are offensive and meant to be so?
Your group makes this world a worse place, not a better one. You are offensive but I, for one, am just incredulous at your insecurities and choices in this great world. Go be happy about something instead of being the angry offended victims you like to be about the good in the world. You’d all have a better life than the one you have now, and no one is asking you to involve god. Go fight for real victims of actual crimes and do some good.

Hi (name withheld),

Are you annoyed by someone who breaks the law? If you were employed, would it bother you if your employer took advantage of his authority to impose his intentions on you?

If you had signed a contract in which you pledged your allegiance to obeying certain rules with the understanding that everyone else would do the same and then found that your superiors broke those rules, would it annoy you?

I suspect it would do more than that.

I ask these questions in order to allow you to reconsider your message and your apparent upset with us.

You see,you misunderstand the work of the MRFF and the reasons for it. We have no problem with someone putting up a supportive sign. We’re fine with people saying a private “God bless you” when we sneeze. We appreciate it when people send good wishes to others and we frequently do that ourselves.

But you see, when the men and women in our country join the military they make a contract with our constitution and the laws of our land. That constitution and those laws protect our freedoms. When one is in the military, the law and military regulations are particularly careful to protect the freedom of religious choice because those who join have a variety of very different religious or ethical or philosophical beliefs. To protect them all the government has established the separation of church and state to ensure that no one religious belief or non-belief is promoted or supported or imposed by those in authority over any other.

So, while we support the right of those in our military to their own choice of belief or non-belief, we are asked to defend that choice when someone in authority wants to impose his or her religious belief on those under her or his authority. See?

We like supportive signs on military bases, but if one says “Allah wishes you a good day,” it is not appropriate, just as it wouldn’t be appropriate if it said “Buddha” or “Krishna” or “Jesus.” On the other hand, if the sign said “General So-And-So Wishes you a good day,” that would be fine.

It’s not really all that hard to understand, I think, when you understand that other people’s belief systems are just as important to them as yours are to you. And they are just as correct to them as yours are to you.

People in the military are free to go to church or temple or the mosque or to step outside and praise the sky. What’s not allowed is for one, even one who firmly believes that his religion is the one true faith and that everyone who doesn’t share it is doomed to hell, to use his authority to press his belief on others, even in a way that might seem to you to be inoffensive.

I hope that helps you better understand our work. We take up these issues in defense of the constitution and the laws and regulations of the military when people come to us because they feel threatened by the insistence of a superior that they must believe as he does, or when someone requires them to attend a religious service whose tenets they do not share, or when someone posts a sign that appears to speak for the military even as it is promoting a particular religious belief.

We are working to protect the freedoms guaranteed all the women and men in the military when they are forced to suffer discrimination. These are actual crimes. Crimes against the Constitution of the United States. We do this to help make our country remain the free and thriving nation the Founders intended it to be: one wherein every woman and man is free to believe as she or he chooses.

I hope this helps you better understand.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)

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2 Comments

  1. Mary

    Too many words, Mike, for people who insist on feeling persecuted.
    No matter how you explain it, the emotional uber-religious mind will mis-construe, mis-read, and deliberately misunderstand. But good on you for trying.

  2. Barbara Rochelle

    I support MRFF in memory of my husband, who served in the 101st Airborne during WW II. He was an agnostic, and was derisive of the attempts during that time to invoke a supreme deity in support of the Allies or the Axis. He was a realist who was aware of the all-too-human power plays involved.

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