Does it really matter?

What’s wrong with you? Are you just looking for things to protest? 

I’m a 19 year active duty soldier.

I’m an athiest.

I don’t see anything wrong with the bible on a missing man display.

What I do see as wrong is our military leaders actually bending to the will of some ridiculous activists who whine about a book on a table.

If it brings comfort to those who are religious, why does it hurt your feelings?

Because you obviously are looking for something to make a name for yourself.

I don’t see why in the world you would bother making such a fuss over something so insignificant. 

Get over yourself and live your own life, and let others live theirs.

(name withheld)


 

Dear (name withheld),
The bible on the table is not “insignificant” and the “whiners” you speak of are our soldiers. They know the laws concerning religious neutrality in the military and reached out to us because their chain of command ignores them.
 
One of the reasons that were taken into consideration was that the bible was never included in the original POW/MIA table.
 
Also, it is against our laws.
Col. John M. Devillier is the installation commander and his spokesman paraphrased AFI (Air Force Instruction) 1-1, Sections 2.11.and 2.12, which are based on the laws below:
 “Our leaders and personnel are encouraged to accommodate the free exercise of religion and other personal beliefs, including freedom of expression unless it has an adverse impact on mission accomplishment,” he wrote. “Air Force leaders must carefully balance constitutional protections of individuals’ free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs with the constitutional separation of church and stateThey must ensure their actions cannot reasonably be construed to officially endorse, disapprove of, or extend preferential treatment to any faith or absence of faith.”
 
James Madison – considered the Father of our Constitution wrote:
 
The civil Government, though bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability, and performs its functions with complete success, whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people, have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the State (James Madison’s Letter to Robert Walsh, Mar. 2, 1819). 
Strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and & Gov’t in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history (James Madison Detached Memoranda, circa 1820).
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 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
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 AFI 1-1, sections 2.11 and 2.12, the Constitution, Reynolds v. U.S., 98 U.S. 145 (1878), Lemon v. Kurtzman, the Lemon Test and Parker v. Levy.
 
Plus, the Christian bible on the table does not represent all of the POW/MIA’s. 
 
Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said “But we do not count heads before enforcing the First Amendment.”
Mikey is not trying ‘to make a name for yourself’ but an intermediator between our soldiers and the military in forcing them to obey the above laws.
 
Contrary to what the media writes, 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 88% of the Board, Advisory Board, volunteers and supporters (300 in total) of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) are Christians. In fact, 96% of our 45,500+ soldier clients (1 can represent many) 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.
 
The media knows the above laws but chooses to omit them when writing their scathing articles about us in order to drum up hatred. In response to this lying, Mikey gets hate mail and death threats on a daily basis. 
 
I, as a Christian, am dumbfounded that some Christians would be so deceiving knowing what their words would do.
 
Pastor Joan
MRFF Advisory Board Member

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Connie

    The letter writer declares their faith as if it matters. Here is a clue – it doesn’t matter at all. It’s about the law. Perhaps that 19 year old soldier should have paid more attention while in school. It is my hope they broaden their mind to see the beauty of the USA is it represents all of us, or none of us. There is no other way according to the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    Well, there is another way. History talks about it when discussing The Spanish Inquisition, the Witch Trials in Europe and the New World (we weren’t the USA back then). I’ve not heard if there is an official name for the killing of all the left handed babies but that happened too. How about the genocide of the First Nations on the North American continent in the name of God?

    I could go on but I just depressed myself. It’s too nice to focus on the bad. The USA is here/now. We are melting after a huge snowstorm. It’s time to take the critters for a romp. Sharing doggy kisses and lurves with you all. 🙂

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