Bibles at POW displays.

To whom it may concern,

I am enjoy my freedoms and take them very seriously.  The removal of the Bibles at any POW display is like removing my choice of Religious Freedom.  I am appalled that any person would force one perspective above another.  You can have the Koran, Bible, Shruti, Tripitaka, Arul Nool, Dao de jing, and even the Book of Mormon.  To start taking any of these Holy books away from the POW display only supporting an agnostic belief.  I am not agnostic!  I believe in the supreme being that is supported by most of those books.  It is my belief that the majority of the United States believes the same.  Your actions are a direct threat to my religious freedom, and I implore you to stop your mission of removing the books.


(name withheld)


Hi (name withheld),

Your message, while a bit confusing, has been received. Your response to our action

is noted. Your confusion is noted as well.

You state, “I am appalled that any person would force one perspective above another.” That’s

exactly our point. The display, by including only a Bible, does exactly what you find so appalling.

It’s interesting that you don’t seem to see that. Or perhaps it’s just that you don’t mind it because

it’s the faith of your choice. But if so, what about the POW/MIAs who are not Christians or not

believers? How are they to feel when you would have them represented by a Bible?


It’s interesting that you list “the Koran, Bible, Shruti, Tripitaka, Arul Nool, Dao de jing, and even the Book of Mormon.” How would you have felt if one of those was on the table instead of the Bible? Would that have been OK with you?

And what, might I ask, did you mean by “even the Book of Mormon”? Are we to assume that is somehow a lesser book or faith?

Our point is your point. The government cannot be seen to be promoting one religion or belief system over others. We are not attacking the Bible. We’d have had the same reaction if one of the other books you’ve listed was on the table instead of the Bible. But if that had happened, we wouldn’t have had to bother because Fox News and people like you would be screaming bloody murder at the promotion of a “foreign” faith.

We are not promoting agnosticism, though in our view one has the right to be an agnostic if one chooses. You see, we are not promoting any belief system. We are supporting the Constitution and the laws of the United States, which say our government should not  be in the business of promoting one belief system over another. Any belief system.

Just as respectfully,

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


Dear (name withheld),
No one is removing your religious freedom because the bible was taken off of the table according to our laws.
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 45,200+ soldier clients 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. 

It is not our view that the Bible has no place on a POW/MIA table but the Constitution and subsequent Supreme Court rulings that we must obey.

As defenders of the Constitution we fight for the separation of church and state.
Here’s a history lesson for you that the media – especially Christian media – will never tell you. They are the ones that are untruthful and deceiving when they’ve been given the following facts but choose to ignore them.
“…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 Bible on the table violates the “separation of church and state” in the Establishment Clause of the Constitution
The Supreme Court heard the Lemon v. Kurtzman case in 1971 and ruled in favor of the Establishment ClauseSubsequent 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
The Bible on the table violates the Lemon Test.
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 Bible on the table violates Parker v. Levy.
The Bible on the table does not represent all of the 83,000+ POW/MIA’s. Within the missing are soldiers of other beliefs or of no belief system and to deny this is ludicrous, especially since my uncle was an atheist and is MIA.
“You can have the Koran, Bible, Shruti, Tripitaka, Arul Nool, Dao de jing, and even the Book of Mormon…” 
We agree that’s it’s either all religions or none but because some Christians don’t want to share the table, they removed the Bible. 
The blame is placed squarely at their feet…not ours.
“I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect above another.”
Thomas Jefferson’s letter to Elbridge Gerry January 26, 1799
The laws concerning civilian religious freedom and military religious freedom are different. We are not threatening your religious freedom. We have no interest in what the civilian population does and if you heard that we are, then you have been lied to.
Pastor Joan
MRFF Advisory Board Member

By the way, I said even the Book of Mormon cause I am Mormon.  I just enjoy having a bit of hope, as what the book represents.  It never had to be just a Bible.

(name withheld)

No sir, you again miss the point. A Koran or a Book of Mormon by themselves would be exactly

as wrong as placing a Bible on the table. It wrongly infers significance to all POWs and MIAs. If you want to inspire hope, consider placing a book of poetry or a copy of the Bill of Rights on those tables.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)







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  1. Rev Bob

    I am totally amazed at the cut and pasting mastery that Pastor Joan has, I just wonder if she has any original thoughts of her own?

    In 1878 “separation of church and state” became part of the Establishment Clause BY LAW. It behooves me how a statement in a private letter from Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists can be considered a matter of law? I wonder if Pastor Joan even realizes that Jefferson called for a Presbyterian pastor to hold church services in the halls of Congress on Sundays. This sounds like then a contradiction of what Jefferson said to the Danbury Baptists.

  2. Tom O

    “Jefferson called for a Presbyterian pastor to hold church services in the halls of Congress on Sundays” because the city of Washington was in the early stages of being built, so there were few other places big enough for large numbers of people to gather. In that situation, temporary use of government facilities for religious purposes would be a reasonable policy.
    The reason that “in 1878 ‘separation of church and state’ became part of the Establishment Clause BY LAW” is explained above, directly above the sentence quoted in this sentence.
    I suspect that the reason you find it hard to understand “how a statement in a private letter from Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists can be considered a matter of law” is rooted in the authoritarian mindset, which tends to judge the validity of an idea by how much “authority” the person voicing the idea possesses, rather than by the logical/factual validity of the idea itself.
    If the Constitution forbids government from “establishing” religion, and also forbids government from suppressing or controlling religious beliefs, in what way is “separation of church and state” not
    an accurate description of that relationship?

  3. Connie

    Oh Tom O – here you are, asking more hard questions that require RevHolYesh to use his brain for something other than a hat. You totally rock. Happy Friday to you.

    It is very clear to me that RevHolYesh complains about how vital information is presented without reading any of it himself. Perhaps he should practice his reading and comprehension skills before making a bigger fool of himself than he already has – just a tip RHY, just a tip.

    Oh, I know! The reason for the personal attacks is because Pastor Joan is the one doing the educating! It is too bad Christian supremacists / Domionists are so challenged by the wimmenz knowing things like facts or having opinions for themselves. Cutting oneself from 50% of the population seems (to me at least) a recipe for extinction.

    Hey, at least we know their Kryptonite. 😀

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