Missing Man Tables

To Mr. Weinstein,

 

I have been seeing your “work” at many military installations.  Seems you are very much against Christianity, probably because of a bad experience in your life.  I won’t try to prove Christianity is great, although I could.  But I just want you and the other warped (excuse me, I meant misled) individuals on your staff to know how ridiculous your actions are.  I am referring to your insistence the Bible be removed from the “Missing Man Tables” displays.  What makes YOU so intolerant?  What is it about the Bible being there which makes you so upset? Why do you think your disagreement with this practice is a normal way of thinking?  Are you happy working for Satan because quite clearly, that is who you are working for.

 

Now, I believe in freedom, and having served 21 years of active duty, I respect your individual views, but not to the extent of where you are going.  Mikey, Jesus Christ has forgiven me of my past sins and I now have a great Christian life, and besides, my God is much, much, much higher than your Allah or Satan, or any other PHONY God who drives your actions.  There is ONLY ONE GOD – His name is JEHOVAH.  So whether or not you believe it, that is up to you, but I pray someday you will see your need for Him, and avoid Hell which is where you will end up.

 

So Mikey, it is time to turn off your HATE and quite frankly, it is far past time for you to MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

(name withheld)

P.S.  I bet you are an Obama supporter.  He, being a Muslim, doesn’t believe in Jehovah.


 

Dear (name withheld),

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said in the SCOTUS case McCreary v. ACLU on the Ten Commandments “It is true that many Americans find the Commandments in accord with their personal beliefs. But we do not count heads before enforcing the First Amendment.”

 

In other words, the majority doesn’t rule over the minority where First Amendment rights are concerned.

 

She also said “The Establishment Clause prohibits government from making adherence to a religion relevant in any way to a person’s standing in the political community. Government can run afoul of that prohibition in two principal ways. One is excessive entanglement with religious institutions, which may interfere with the independence of the institutions, give the institutions access to government or governmental powers not fully shared by nonadherents of the religion, and foster the creation of political constituencies defined along religious lines. The second and more direct infringement is government endorsement or disapproval of religion. Endorsement sends a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community. Disapproval sends the opposite message.”

 

Her statement is based on past SCOTUS Establishment Clause rulings regarding entanglement of any government entity with religion:

 

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. Kurtzmacase 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

 

One of the reasons that were taken into consideration was that the bible was never included in the original POW/MIA table.

http://www.nationalalliance.org/alliance_files/cermony.htm

Col. John M. Devillier is the installation commander and his spokesman paraphrased AFI (Air Force Instruction) 1-1, Sections 2.11.and 2.12:

“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 state. They must ensure their actions cannot reasonably be construed to officially endorse, disapprove of, or extend preferential treatment to any faith or absence of faith.”

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/local-military/turner-objects-to-removal-of-bible-from-wright-pat/nq47X/

 

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.

 

According to Thomas Jefferson our laws protect the freedom of all religions and those of no religion in America:

 

“Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”

As Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

 

“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

 

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.

 

We ONLY step in when a soldier or soldiers complain to us of the trampling of the Constitution, Supreme Court rulings and military laws, when their chain of command ignores them.

We rely on the following distinguished military personnel for their expertise on religious neutrality rules and regulations in the military:

 

Board Member

Major William E. Barker (Marines)

 

Advisory Board Members

John M. Compere (Judge and Brigadier General (Retired Army)

Chaplain Col. Quentin D. Collins (Retired Air Force and Army)

Edie Disler – PhD, Lt Col (Retired Air Force)

Robert S. Dotson (Retired Brigadier General)

Robert T. Herres (Retired Air Force and past Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)

Eagle Man, Ed McGaa (Retied Marine Corps fighter pilot)

Reverend MeLinda Morton (Chaplain)

George Reed (Retired MP and past Director of Command and Leadership Studies at the U.S. Army War College for 6 years

A.A. “Tony” Verrengia (Retired Air Force Brigadier General and Master Navigator)

Lawrence Wilkerson (Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff (2002-05).

 

Mikey will not be going to hell as you surmise:

 

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Romans 11:25-29

 

The Jewish people have been and still are His “beloved” and “the apple of His eye.”

 

As a Christian, I am amazed that Christians and others writing on this subject have purposely left out the laws (which they have been told repeatedly) against any government entity’s entanglement with religion in order to foster the hate and death threats Mikey receives on a daily basis – from CHRISTIANS!

 

God will not be mocked by their lies, distortions and omissions and your statement “But I just want you and the other warped (excuse me, I meant misled) individuals on your staff.” You meant that word “warped” in your heart and trying to justify it by your lame excuse doesn’t work.

 

All of you will be held accountable for what was written:

 

“But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37

 

Take your ignorant self concerning Mikey and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and go “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.”

 

Pastor Joan

MRFF Advisory Board Member


 

Dear (name withheld),

It is amazing to me, may I say, that you and so many of your co-religionists are so unnecessarily defensive. Every time I read one of these awful messages the poverty of your position simply astounds me.

Let me, once again, try to promote understanding. First, no one here is “against Christianity.” The fact that over 95% of those associated with the MRFF are Christians should demonstrate that fairly clearly, I would think, but because they happen to be the kind of Christians who are not frightened by those who believe differently, because they in fact respect the beliefs of others as well as their own, they apparently practice a sort of Christianity foreign to you.

The Missing Man tables exist to honor POWs and MIAs who happen to be people of many faiths and possibly even some who held no particular belief. For that reason the placement of the Bible represents a thoughtless assumption on the part of those who put it there. It is to protect all Americans from those who are given to that kind of thoughtless assumption that the founders of this country developed the concept of the separation of church and state. As a result, the law and military regulations clearly state that no government sponsored action, act or display can be seen to promote or appear to promote one belief system over the others.

Those are the facts, sir, facts you apparently managed to miss noting during your 21 years of active duty.

As regards your name-calling, your suggestion that we are working for Satan or have some other ulterior motive, and the triumphalism of your pronouncements, they all belie any true Christian spirit and only expose you as a frightened, ignorant totalitarian, one whose bluster demeans the very faith he claims.

I wish you enlightenment.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

Good Day, (name withheld) –

Thanks for taking a moment to write to the MRFF and share your concerns.  You may have heard from others already (I’m a bit slow these days with my email correspondence); I am a lifelong Christian and a USAF veteran, in addition to being a staunch supporter of the MRFF.
First, I happen to agree with you, Christianity is great.  Even more than that, it is the touchstone of my life and always has been, including during my time in the Air Force.
You know what else is great?  That we live in a country with religious freedom for everyone, which allows each US citizen to believe (or not believe) whatever he or she wishes regarding religion.  Those of us who work with the MRFF recognize and respect the plurality of belief that exists in America, and we work specifically to defend the principles of the US Constitution on behalf of all US military members, whether Christian or non-Christian, believer or non-believer.  That does not make us pawns of Satan, just committed Americans who believe that the rights and liberties provided by the Constitution are owed to every American, and especially to every American military member and veteran.
Now, as to the POW/MIA display — there are a number of very good Constitutional and legal arguments as to why no religious text belongs in a display within a government building — but I won’t bore you with those arguments.  Instead, I’ll speak you as one veteran to another.  With your 21 years of service, you certainly must know that not all servicemembers, and not all POW/MIA, are (or were) Christians.  That being the case, I’m puzzled as to how you think the presence of the Christian Bible as part of a display meant to honor the sacrifice of all POW/MIA actually supports that goal? At best, it’s a ham-handed way to honor one portion of the POW/MIA community — but at worst, it sends a message to non-Christian POW/MIA and their families that their own faith is somehow less worthy of honor than Christianity. And that is just plain wrong, besides being unconstitutional.
There is a time, place and manner when it is appropriate to display a religious text, be it the Christian Bible, Torah, Koran, Book of Mormon, or any other document that is sacred to some Americans. But a POW/MIA display in a government setting is not that time, place, nor manner.
Peace,
Mike Challman
Christian, USAF veteran, MRFF supporter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. Joe Odom

    Ummm… where to start?

    Let’s put up a table and only have the Qur’an displayed, ok? Yeah, I didn’t think so. So, let’s put up a table that has representative books from a select, say, 200 various beliefs! Hmmm… not enough room you say? Therein lies the wisdom of our forefathers and those that are able to read polysyllabic words combined with critical thinking skills.

    The REAL brilliance of our forefathers is that they recognized that just the democratic voting would necessarily marginalize ALL minority populations and representatives. Our 3 part government, while having its challenges, is the reason women eventually got the vote, civil rights were ascertained for all, etc.

    The MRFF is solely guided by the Constitution. That’s it. Nothing else.

    You really are quite the hateful twit, yourself. Take off the blinders and smell some fresh air. Sheesh… you are embarrassing yourself.

    Joe – ex-AF & still having my “No Rel Pref” tags – Proud supporter of the MRFF

  2. Tom O

    “What is it about the Bible being there which makes you so upset?” That Bible’s prominent display in a government facility, on a table meant to honor ALL POW/MIA’s regardless of their religion or lack of one. The Bible in that setting sends an unmistakable message that Christian POW/MIA’s are more important than non-Christian POW/MIA’s, and that the US government favors Christianity over other religions. Read the letter from Tobyhanna’s Public Affairs Officer at
    http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/press-releases/2016/TobyhannaArmyDepotPOW_MIA_4-19-16.html
    which includes ” the bible was immediately removed in compliance with the 1997 Federal Guidelines on Religious Exercise and Religious Expression in the Federal Workplace.”

  3. Tom

    LOL and LOL again. Look at “Pastor Joan”‘s reply! The same or similar words are in the replies of this and another inbox message. It is as if a computer program is replying to new messages sent to MRFF website. It is like being told by boss to go look for this item in this warehouse and when you open door, you see piles of many items stacked and mixed up without any organization or way to locate the required item except by spending countless and maybe endless hours looking just for tha one item.

  4. Rev Bob

    Tom,

    Bravo!! Love your comments made me LOL! Pastor Joan has truly mastered the art of copying and pasting so much, I just wonder if she has any original thoughts or ideas that she can even defend out in the open.

    I don’t think that she has any seminary or theological training at all. Also, she calls herself “Pastor” Joan, to be a pastor means you have to have a flock, so where and who is her flock and if she does have a flock, then she is violation of scripture that teaches the “senior” leadership of a church must be a man!

    Come on Pastor Joan, let’s here your apologetics on the theology of sin and salvation!

  5. Lights

    Not everyone in this country is Christian. When are you Christianists going to get it into your fat skulls that this is NOT a Christian country? I am Pagan, and I do not feel at all comfortable with a bible on a POW/MIA table. But I don’t want the holy book of my faith there, either. If anything should be there, it is the Constitution, since that is what all military personnel, regardless of religion or lack thereof, vow to protect.

  6. Lights

    Rev Bob, not every denomination has male-only clergy. You interpret the bible your way and leave others to do the same. That is called religious freedom.

  7. Rev Bob

    Lights,
    It is pretty plain and simple when the bible says that the leader of a church must be a man. In the book of 1 Timothy, he lists the qualifications of a leader of the church, one being “he” must be the husband of one wife. Now I know of no situation where a woman can be the husband of one wife!

    I interpret the bible according to the correct ways of bible interpretation, it is called hermeneutics.

  8. Mark Sebree

    Rev Bob,

    Your beliefs and interpretation of your mythology do not hold and do not apply to anyone else except you. For starters, my FEMALE cousin is the senior Pastor at a Christian church, which means that women can lead Christian churches. They just are not likely to lead misogynic and intolerance churches like the one that you obviously belong to.

    And lesbians in a same sex marriage can have one wife, so there is a situation where a woman can have a wife. Your homophobic attitude does not change the fact that same sex marriage exists, that it is now legal, and that you cannot do anything about it. And since you do not seem to know its definition, here is the definition of “homophobia” from Merriam-Webster Online: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homophobia

    “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals”

    You have an irrational aversion to homosexuals and homosexuality, and you consistently support discrimination against them. Therefore, you are homophobic.

  9. Connie

    Ah Lights,

    Rev Bob doesn’t believe in religious freedom for anyone except for himself and others exactly like him. He is a self confessed traitor to the Constitution as he places his faith before the rule of the land.

    I want to go with a Blazing Saddles quote here but I promised not to call anyone names today. For the good of all, you know. 🙂

  10. Rev Bob

    Connie,

    You call me a traitor, but God calls me a saint, so your opinion does not matter to me, I only want the opinion of God.

    Besides calling us saints, God also says in his Word, we are adopted by the Father, children of God, overcomers, forgiven, blessed, justifed, the righteousness of God, seated with Christ in heavenly places, citizens of heaven, etc etc.

    God before country always and forever!! I am a Christian first, an American second!

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