MRFF DEMAND LETTER – MRFF Demand to the President of Marine Corps University

From: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]>
Subject: MRFF Demand to the President of Marine Corps university
Date: April 27, 2016 at 2:09:52 PM MDT
To: Brigadier General Helen G. Pratt
Cc: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]>

Brigadier General Helen G. Pratt,

I am the Founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), a national civil rights organization that is currently representing over 45,000 active duty U.S. armed forces members and veterans regarding DoD and VA violations of the Constitutionally-mandated wall separating church and state in the U.S. military and related agencies of the U.S. government.

Sadly, you have now been identified to MRFF, by your own Marine Corps University (MCU) subordinates, as a serious Constitutional violator.

I am writing to you on behalf of 21 MCU faculty, staff and students (17 of whom self-identify as practitioners of the Christian faith) to collectively express their outrage and disappointment as a result of an e-mail your own “gatekeeper”, the Commanding Generals’ staff secretary, forwarded out to your entire command at MCU this morning (April 27, 2016) regarding MCU’s plans for the National Day of Prayer, to be held next Thursday, May 5, 2016..

As a convenience, I am including below a critical complaint e-mail from one of MRFF’s 21 MCU clients which will serve to well explain the specifics of this unfortunate matter. That e-mail contains a copy of what your personal staff secretary forwarded out to all MCU personnel from your Command Chaplain with the undeniable imprimatur of your official command support. 

Try to imagine, if you even can General, how so very many of your subordinates reacted with horror and trepidation upon receiving that particular e-mail, ma’am.

Look, General, maybe you just don’t get it? Having a National Day of Prayer (NDP) event is fine and dandy as long as you do it in full accordance with the No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the No Religious Test provisions of same (Clause 3, Article VI), Federal and State caselaw construing same and all DoD, Navy and USMC regulatory directives.

You are doing the exact opposite, ma’am. You are unlawfully and unconstitutionally creating an alloy out of “religious faith” and being a good U.S. marine. You are quintessentially and unlawfully “establishing religion” and concomitantly creating a “religious test” as well. Consequently, illegalities abound at MCU regarding this event. The planned structure, marketing, description and dissemination of your NDP event at MCU is having a massive adverse effect on the good order, morale, discipline and unit cohesion of your command’s subordinates.

They are afraid to tell you. Nice command climate you have there, ma’am.

Your MCU subordinates are quite justifiably fearful of reprisal and retribution from you if they voice their objections. So they came to MRFF to bring their pleas to you to either cancel this event all together or to restructure it in a way which is not violative of their religious freedom civil rights.

Roger Williams, the famous early American colonial proponent of religious freedom, called this divisive and vicious type of pernicious religious persecution which you are personally responsible for inflicting upon your MCU command as nothing less than “spiritual rape”. MRFF and MRFF’s MCU clients could not agree more.

Stop it and stop it now!

General Pratt, if you do not immediately cancel or appropriately alter your current NDP event plans to be in full accord with Constitutional and DoD/USN/USMC civil rights protections, MRFF clients intend to file aggressive Inspector General and EEO complaints against you in a sincere effort to exhaust all administrative remedies prior to anticipated Federal Court litigation.

MRFF is happy to speak to you or any of your staff to assist as may be needed in your understanding of this tragic and shameful matter.

Sincerely,

Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, Esq.
Founder and President
Military Religious Freedom Foundation


From: Marine Corps Univ./MRFF Client’s E-Mail Address Withheld
Subject: Gross constitutional violation at Marine Corps University
Date: April 27, 2016 at 12:04:24 PM MDT
To: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]>

Mikey, I request your assistance in addressing a gross violation of the Constitution at Marine Corps University. 

This morning the Commanding General’s Staff Secretary sent an email to the entire staff, faculty and student body with an invitation to a command sponsored MCU Prayer Breakfast panel to be conducted at the Gray Research Center entitled Prayerful Leadership. The email is cut and pasted below. I feel threatened and my promotion potential on the line if I do not attend this religious event. I was raised Protestant and have no issue with prayer but when the Commanding General sends out an invitation to a religious event I feel compelled to attend and if I’m not there my absence will be noted and potentially held against me. What makes this even worse is the panel includes the leadership of the University and the school Directors and Dean with the message that Marine Corps University is a religious institution. This is a clear violation of the Constitution and must be stopped. The panel discussion isn’t on ethics but that using religion will make them better Marines. I am now fearful that if I don’t agree with their religious views that I’ll be judged negatively on my leadership. I believe the Chaplain should be instructed on what is appropriate and not appropriate with respect to religion and the Constitution and the Commanding General ordered to cancel the event and to direct anyone interested to the base chapel for any further religious events.

Your assistance is urgently requested as this event is to be held on May 5th.

I request anonymity since my position would be at risk if my identity were known.

Very respectfully,

(Marine Corps Univ./MRFF Client’s name, rank, title all withheld)

———————————————————————————————————-

“Ladies and Gentleman,

        5 May 2016 will mark the National Day of Prayer. This is a historical time when Americans across the land collectively ascribe to the sentiments of President Abraham Lincoln when he wrote, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” To this end, I would like to invite you to attend MCU’s Prayer Breakfast panel at the Gray Research Center from 0630 – 0730.  The topic of discussion will be, “Prayerful  Leadership.”  Our featured panelist will include:

Col Scott Erdelatz, COS MCU
Col Jason Bohm, Director EWS
Col Richard Hall, Wargaming
Dr. Rebecca Johnson, Dean MCWAR.

Come out and learn how leaders use prayer to make hard decisions. Understand how spirituality can help to establish good order & discipline as well as contribute to organizational success. Additionally, this panel will explain how proven leaders inspire others.

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP with me at (email address withheld) at the soonest. Thank you in advance for your positive consideration.

Blessings
v/r

Maurice A. Buford, PhD., D.Min.
CDR, CHC, USN
Marine Corps University, Command Chaplain
(address withheld)
(phone numbers withheld)
(email address withheld)

Developing Spiritual Leadership for the 21st Century.”

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11 Comments

  1. Rev Bob

    Bravo General!!! I stand and salute you, Ooo Rah!! Semper Fi!

    Poor Mikey, he gets offended at just about everything, you know there is a spirit behind that called the spirit of offense.

    I wonder if Mikey would be offended if I picked my nose and wiped it on the side of a military vehicle, knowing it comes from a Christian! I wonder if someone sneezed at a solder replied “God bless you” I wonder if Mikey would say that is a violation of church and state and want that soldier court martialed?

  2. Tom O

    As usual, Rev Bob tries to portray this as being about Mike Weinstein being personally offended. Based on a previous similar situation the MRFF was involved in,
    (story at http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/10/20/dover-command-disavows-endorsement-of-christian-charity-email.html )
    I believe that MRFF’s position in situations like this is “What is wanted is to have overtly religious campaigns, greetings and events promoted by the chaplain and not by the command structure.”
    (see Mike Farrell’s response to a nastygram at http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2015/10/operation-christmas-child-18/ )
    and also Mike Challman’s response to a similar nastygram at
    http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2015/10/operation-christmas-child-17/
    which includes “AFI 1-1, which says the following — ‘Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure 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.’
    Our sole objection at Dover AFB was the manner in which a clearly sectarian religious effort was promoted.” “What should have happened at Dover was for a program of this sort to be advertised via appropriate means, notably the chaplaincy.”

    The reason for this is that, as the person who contacted MRFF wrote above, “when the Commanding General sends out an invitation to a religious event I feel compelled to attend and if I’m not there my absence will be noted and potentially held against me.”
    An “invitation” to an event from one’s commander is seen in the military as an implicit order to attend, and an endorsement of the ideas presented at that event: a similar invitation from a chaplain is not perceived that way.

  3. Tom O
  4. G

    Poor Rev Bob gets so offended every time MRFF intervenes when military officers and NCOs cross over the separation line between church and state.

  5. jimbo

    The MRFF is able to use the power of the Constitution directly in exposing dominionist corruption in the military. That same corruption is present civilian side too, with no one to expose it. I don’t know about you but I get real tired of having to pay the price of having someone’s religion stuck up my ass just to be able to watch a baseball game.

  6. Rev Bob

    Jimbo,

    Please explain, what does baseball have to do with this subject, how are you subject to religion in order to watch a baseball game?

  7. G

    “Come out and learn how leaders use prayer to make hard decisions. Understand how spirituality can help to establish good order & discipline as well as contribute to organizational success. Additionally, this panel will explain how proven leaders inspire others.”

    Gee, does the military have any hard evidence to prove that prayer helps make hard decisions. If I recalled correctly, the military seems to have an easy time making decisions when they fought against giving more opportunities to women and minorities. In addition, I don’t recall how prayer help established good order and discipline when the military was rocked by racism and ticket punching during the Vietnam War and when women were being systemic during their time in the military until the rape scandal finally came to light about 3 or 4 years ago.

    “wonder if Mikey would be offended if I picked my nose and wiped it on the side of a military vehicle, knowing it comes from a Christian! I wonder if someone sneezed at a solder replied “God bless you””

    What does picking and wiping your nose on the side on the military vehicle have to do with this subject?

  8. G

    It is amazing how a general like Helen Pratt would complain about discrimination against her since she was a woman, but has no hesitation in discriminating against people because of who they are.

  9. Connie

    G

    Welcome to the cognitive dissonance that is the Domionist movement.

    I believe the General may be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome because her flavor of faith will never have her back.

  10. Connie

    Regarding rev bobs booger comment –

    I can’t speak for anyone but myself but if I saw someone wipe their nose snot on my car they would be dead. Ick! Talk about biological warfare! How absolutely rude. Who thinks such things. Oh yeah, Rev Bob.

    (Ok since the offender is dead I guess I would need to know their faith to ensure the funeral service included the correct words.)

  11. G

    “Welcome to the cognitive dissonance that is the Domionist movement.”

    Yeah, Connie, I noticed that with a lot of women and minorities. Look at how many Afro-American pastors fight for civil rights; however, they are against LGBT!

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