I’m praying for you

Mikey, Mikey, Mikey,
Now you’re attacking our POWs?? You are so impressive when you hide behind the façade that you’re standing up for the rights of our Military. Let’s call it like it is, you’re a selective troll when it comes to Military rights. You need to support 100% of the military or none at all.
Well, I’ll say a prayer for you when I enter my Military installation tomorrow. Yes, a Military installation with prayer on it! I will continue to pray as I do everyday there as well. Stop by and visit and try to stop me. That is my RIGHT so why don’t you come out and support me as you seemingly claim to do. Can’t do that, can you??!!
Air Force not treat you right or something? Poor Mikey didn’t get the award he was expecting?? So very sad.
May God Bless you and open your eyes and your heart. He CAN do that and he WILL do that because there ARE people out there praying for you. Me included.
Have a Blessed week!!
(name withheld)

Dear (name withheld),
Are you and Mary Jo still at GTMO?
No one here is trying to or going to stop you from praying. Where did you hear such utter nonsense?
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.
Mikey doesn’t go trolling for things regarding religion in the military, but acts ONLY on our soldiers’ complaints.

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:
“…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.
Having only the Bible on the table violates the Establishment Clause.
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
Having only 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
Having only 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.
In other words, if you want a Bible on the POW/MIA table you have to include the Torah, Koran, representations of other religions and atheism in order to be in compliance with the Constitution, Lemon Test and Parker v. Levy. It’s either all religions or none but because some Christians don’t want to share the table, the Bible had to be removed.
The blame is placed squarely at their feet…not ours.
We are not out to stop religion in the military but it must adhere to the laws in effect today.
The following military personnel disagree with you:
Board Members
Major William E. Barker – As well as overseeing JROTC operations as District Military Instructor for Albuquerque Public Schools, the 28th largest school district in the country, U.S. Marine Corps Major Barker is the Chairman of New Mexico’s 1st District Democrat Congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham’s Academy Selection Team and was recently appointed to the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission representing City Council District 9.
Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV – The last American official to confront Saddam Hussein before the 1990 Gulf War, he has had a 20-plus year career in Intl. relations, and held numerous senior government appointments, including Special Asst. to President Clinton and Sr. Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council.
Advisory Board Members
CH (COL-R) Quentin D Collins – Chaplain Colonel Retired Quentin D Collins, Ph.D served the United States Air Force and the United States Army over a long and eventful career. Starting out as an enlisted Airman and eventually becoming a Chaplain, first in the Air Force and then in the Army he has understood first hand, the challenges a service member must face in various levels of following and leading. During his tenure he was involved in four combat deployments, all happening after 9/11.
Robert S. Dotson – Retired brigadier general. Author of the published novel, The Light on the Star.
Robert T. Herres (Emeritus;December 1, 1932 – July 24, 2008) – A Naval Academy graduate with a 36 year career in the United States Air Force, he also served a three-year assignment as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the first to hold that position.
Hali Jilani – An ethnic Afghan who works with the Military – primarily Officer training in the Marine Corps, Army and NATO on counter terrorism, cultural intelligence and international affairs.
Kristen Leslie – An Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Yale Divinity School and consultant to the United States Air Force Academy on religious matters.
Eagle Man, Ed McGaa – He is an enrolled Oglala Sioux tribal member, OST 15287. After serving in Korea, he earned an undergraduate degree from St. Johns University, MN. He then later rejoined the Marine Corps to become a fighter pilot.
Reverend MeLinda Morton – An ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She is a former Chaplain in the United States Air Force, most recently serving at the United States Air Force Academy.
George Reed – A faculty member in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego. Before joining the faculty in 2007 he served for 27 years as a military police officer including six as the Director of Command and Leadership Studies at the U.S. Army War College.
A.A. “Tony” Verrengia – A retired Air Force Brigadier General, Tony was a Master Navigator that served in air transport operations positions for many years.
John Whiteside – Whiteside is one of only a few military aviators to possess both Senior Command Air Force wings and aircraft carrier qualified Naval Aviator wings, in addition to having been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism in combat during Operation Desert Storm.
Lawrence Wilkerson – The Distinguished Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. His last position in government was as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff (2002-05)
Read Our Mission to get a better understanding of what we do.
Thanks for the prayers. We’ll be praying for you, too.
Pastor Joan
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Thank you Joan. I appreciate the response. Sometimes the news tends to twist things and that’s unfortunate but, the MRFF seems to be on the short end of things when the press goes to print. I didn’t see anyone on your Military list that I actually respect so, not sure what value that was but, that’s ok.

 

Still continuing to pray for all of you there and, that is a sincere desire. Things only work for good when we pray for each other.

 

God Bless.

(name withheld)


 

Dear (name withheld),

Thank you for this response.

 

Yes, we are vilified by the press when they know we aren’t an atheist organization and have been given the laws. They choose to ignore all of it.

 

I gave you the list of military personnel because they actually know the laws concerning religious neutrality in the government and we rely on them.

 

We appreciate your prayers because we get death threats from Christians that are so frightening we have to turn them over to the authorities to be investigated. These death threats could be averted if the media would only tell the whole truth.

 

You and yours are now on my prayer list and I just prayed that the Lord would keep you safe and bless your socks off!

 

In Christ,

 

Pastor Joan


 

Dear (name withheld),

You’re so far off base it’s hard to know how to reach you. Neither Mikey nor anyone else at the MRFF is attacking POWs. And, by the way, they’re not your POWs, they are all part of our military, the military we’re trying to protect from religious bigotry, inappropriate proselytizing and people who simply don’t understand what freedom of religion is about.

Unlike you, evidently, we do support 100% of the military. Your position suggests you only support those members of the military to whom the Bible is of religious significance. Do those POWs and MIAs who are not Christian mean nothing to you? If so, I feel sorry for you.

Per your sarcastic comments about praying on base, etc., you’re perfectly welcome to do that as far as we’re concerned. We have nothing against prayer or other expressions of religious belief as long as they are done in the proper time, place and manner as laid out by military regulations. (You might consider looking them up – or do some research on what is known in law as the Lemon test.)

As you may be aware by now, those in command of the sites in question have recognized the inappropriateness of the inclusion of the Bible and corrected it.

As regards your prayer that God opens Mikey’s eyes and heart, thanks but you’re too late. Already done. I wish it were the same with you.

Best,

Mike Farrell


(name withheld), (is that sufficiently patronizing for you?),

 
Mikey was busy defending the religious freedom of veterans who don’t want to be proselytized or subverted into recognizing the primacy of a faith they don’t subscribe to so he asked if I could respond to you.  I am doing so ‘in the clear’ so to speak, rather than through the pseudonymous e-mail address I usually use because unlike the overwhelming majority of the mail Mikey receives (see: To the Far Right Christian Hater…”You Can Be a Good Speller or a Hater, But You Can’t Be Both: Official Hate Mail, Threats, and Criticism from the … of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation” by Mikey’s wife, Bonnie for a sample of the usual mail he receives from your co-religionists offered in the name of your lord), yours suggests some degree of education and lacks either scatological adjectives, wishes for extreme torture on him & his family, or the routine profanity that characterizes such mail.  I trust you’ll return the favor by not trolling me.
 
Judging by the way you frame your criticism (”…attacking our POWs??’) I’d guess you were motivated to write Mikey by reading the egregiously misleading ‘hit piece‘ by Liberty Institute (‘Liberty’… as if!!) shill, Mike Berry, on the Faux [NOT]News website, In which he uses the same false & misleading frame (isn’t it odd how often those who extol the Decalogue and demand it be posted just everywhere, repeatedly violate that pesky ‘bearing false witness’ bit?).  One can only wonder at the gullibility of those who’d equate veterans with the Christian bible rather than with the Constitution (which is what my WWII veteran, Jewish, Dad fought Hitler to preserve – not the Torah, or any other specific religious text, but all those texts any American might choose to believe in, or disbelieve – all those in his unit as well – but which were pointedly absent from the MIA table).
 
To be clear, Mr. Berry’s agenda is neither religious freedom nor defending the Constitution.  It is wholly to pervert our secular democracy into a Christian Nationalist theocracy… nothing less.  As such he twists the truth and draws false & specious analogies & conclusion… intentionally and without moral qualms – the end justifies the means, I guess.
 
Your use of the demeaning frame of suggesting Mikey is motivated by revenge for college-era slights is a means of not just belittling his motives, but also a means of protecting yourself from dealing with the underlying gravity of the issue… preservation of our secular democracy. Rather than address the issue on its merits you choose, instead, to minimize it as if it is of no importance.  A mistake far too many made in Wiemar-era Germany, and which far too many, evidently yourself included, are making here today.
 
Your triumphalism (isn’t pride on of the seven deadly sins?) regarding praying at your military installation is a very telling barometer of how profoundly you misunderstand this entire issue since your right to pray (to yourself, without coercing anyone, else or making them accept some icon of your religiosity, in the proper time, place, & manner) is exactly what Mikey is defending.  So, no props for your defiance… go right ahead and pray, Mikey’s got your back in the event one of your superiors decides his prayers demand your attendance regardless of whether or not you’d pray those prayers yourself.
 
It also strikes me that, although you evidently figured out how to contact Mikey via his website, you were so convinced of your moral superiority that you didn’t bother to see what is on that site to determine whether or not your conclusions were justified… you just listened (evidently) to Mr. Berry and charged onward Christian soldier.  Kind of reminds me of one of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s works.
 
So, in conclusion, let me suggest you return to the MRFF website, look at what we stand for (including the majority of Christians who support it and the 95% + Christian clients) and decided for yourself whether or not the MRFF’s motivated by a “burning animus toward this traditional symbol of comfort and faith”, or if its intentions are far more American than Mr. Berry would like you to believe.
Sincerely & have a nice day,
Rael
 
Rael Nidess, M.D.

Doc,
Good morning!
I appreciate the response and clarification. I had a nice conversation with Joan and definitely believe that the media has it wrong. I apologize. I did not intend to slam Mikey in anyway it was just a point of frustration I guess. No excuse. If what I believe now is true, that you and the MRFF are actually supporting my rights as well as a Military member, then God Bless you. I stand behind what you are doing and will always pray for you. I’m sorry that I elicited such a harsh tone but, from what I read, you appear to be simply responding in kind.
I firmly believe that we are better than that and would like to offer my sincere thanks for your support.
Have a good rest of the week.
Continued prayers. God Bless!
(name withheld)

Hello (name withheld),
 
Thanks for your letter and for validating my thoughts regarding your character.
 
If I might suggest an ‘act of contrition’… write a comment on the Faux[NOT]News story by Berry (linked below) regarding how you were intentionally misled by  someone posing to represent your beliefs, but who’s agenda is radically different.
 
Best,
 
Rael

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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