Published On: March 4, 2016|Categories: MRFF's Inbox|3 Comments|

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I just saw on TV that MRFF removed the bible from POW/MIA from VA display. Minneapolis City Council had a burqa day where all the women council members wore a burqa celebrating Islamic religious display on taxpayer dime. Did MRFF send a letter of complaint with its letterhead to Minneapolis City Council?

Do you guys just attack Christianity or you attack Islamic intrusion in everyday life with the same vigor? If you do please let me know where I can go look up your attack on Islam as I could see with Christianity today?

(name withheld)


Dear (name withheld) –


I am writing in response to your March 1, 2016 email to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (“MRFF”).


In response to your first question, the mission of MRFF is to protect the religious freedom of all soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, cadets, and veterans.  Accordingly, our work is focused on the mandates of the Constitution within the context of the military.  The “Burqa Day” you reference is not within the scope of our mission – not because it purportedly celebrated Islam, but because it has nothing to do with the military.


Regarding your second question, the mission of MRFF is not focused on Christianity.  Instead, our focus is on whether actions endorse one religion over others, or religion over non-religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause.  It is true that the vast majority of our work involves challenging the actions of fundamentalist Christians, but that it not because we desire to attack Christianity.  We act on behalf of our clients and we receive an overwhelming number of complaints by service members concerning the endorsement of Christianity (such as including a Bible in a POW/MIA display), unwanted proselytizing by fundamentalist Christian superiors, and retaliation as a result of not being a Christian.


We simply do not receive similar complaints involving any religion other than Christianity.  I am unaware of any complaint reported to MRFF that a superior required those under his/her command to pray toward Mecca, to celebrate the Pagan Sabbats, or to deny any religious deity whatsoever.  I assure you that if we ever receive such complaints, we will fight just as vigorously to protect service members from the wrongful endorsement of a non-Christian religion as we do to protect service members from the wrongful endorsement of Christianity that is so rampant.


That said, the fact remains that the complaints we receive exclusively involve the unlawful actions of fundamentalist Christians and/or the wrongful endorsement of Christianity over other religions, or no religion.  Consequently, it seems clear that the issue is not that MRFF has any problem with Christianity, but that Christian military superiors apparently have a problem with obeying the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.  Although Christianity commands that people “preach the Gospel to every living creature,” (Mark 16:15) such expressions of religious beliefs must be shared within the proper time, place, and manner requirements of the Establishment Clause.




Tobanna Barker

MRFF Legal Affairs Coordinator





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  1. WFZ March 4, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Dear Ms. Barker, you said this at the end of your reply to the original writer – Although Christianity commands that people “preach the Gospel to every living creature,” (Mark 16:15) such expressions of religious beliefs must be shared within the proper time, place, and manner requirements of the Establishment Clause.

    Now please tell me where the Constitution says that our religious expressions can only be at the “proper time, place and manners of the Establishment Clause? I have read that portion and you will not find those words there or even implied. What this sounds like is that Christians can only practice their religious beliefs at only certain times of the day, only in certain places and only in certain manners if I understand you correctly. The First Amendment only says that we have the freedom of religion and to express it as we so desire without any human parameters set upon it. Just so that you have it before you I have taken the freedom to post it here – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.. Ms. Barker, there are no parameters or limitations put on how anyone of any faith can express their religious beliefs. I can only ascertain that you and the rest of MRFF want to put limitations on how Christians can express their religious beliefs when that is strictly forbidden by the First Amendment! Hence, you and MRFF are in violation of the First Amendment rights granted to everyone of faith whether it be Chrisitan, Jew or Muslim.

  2. Mark Sebree March 5, 2016 at 12:23 pm


    You actually keep mentioning a limitation on the expression of religious faith, and yet you are not seeing it. The Establishment Clause is that limitation. Remember, we are speaking of the military and military life, not civilians. The military are government representatives, and the strict hierarchical structure of the military means that superiors have a great deal of overt and covert power over their subordinates. And since they are part of the government, members of the military cannot promote any religion or denomination over any other religion or denomination.

    Military members have quite a number of their freedoms abridged while their are in the military, mostly because of the nature and the job of the military. That includes freedom of speech, freedom of association, right to be secure in the personal property, and others. And it includes their freedom of religion, to a point. They are free to follow any religious beliefs that they want, or none at all, but they are not free to proselytize to their subordinates. They can attend any religious services they want, they can attend any religious studies that they want, but they cannot put any overt or covert pressure onto their subordinates to do the same. They also cannot do things like open mandatory formations or meetings with prayers. They also cannot “suggest” or “invite” subordinates to attend religious functions since those could and often are taken as orders in the military. This is because the subordinates cannot leave, cannot walk away, cannot state that they are not interested in that subject, cannot object without risking their careers and sometimes their lives, and cannot refuse.

    This is reinforced by DOD regulations and the regulations of each branch, which all military members are required to follow according to the UCMJ, Article 92 (failure to obey an order or regulation).

    The military is a unique environment within American society, and thus has unique rules that apply to it. Because of the lack of voice that military members have when confronted by proselytizing superiors, as well as the damage to their careers registering a complaint can cause, they need an external advocate who is familiar with the military regulations and the way that the military works. That advocate currently is Mikey Weinstein and the MRFF.

  3. Connie March 6, 2016 at 6:47 pm


    Please read through past threads for you will find answers there. When a person is in the military, their rights are not the same as ordinary citizens. The person wearing the uniform knows this fact and swears an oath to protect and defend the constitution. That means the soldier now represents everyone, not just themselves

    I don’t expect you to understand or accept this fact. Dominionists have a hard time with facts that don’t confirm their personal biases.

    The MRFF does amazing work protecting the USA from theocrats such as yourself.

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