POW/MIA remembrance table.

I’m going to make a POW/MIA table and I am going to put the biggest bible I can find on it. I dare Weinstein to come and try to remove the bible from the table.

(name withheld)


 

 

Dear (name withheld)

You can do that as long as you don’t put it on government property.

 

The media has lied to you because it left out the laws concerning religious neutrality in the military.

 

“…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 Clause. Subsequent 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 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.

 

We are not out to stop religion in the military but it must adhere to the laws in effect today.

 

Read Our Mission to get a better understanding of what we do.

http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/about/our-mission/

 

Your email address says nctrooper. I will pray for your safety.

 

God bless.

 

Pastor Joan

MRFF Advisory Board Member


 

Hi (name withheld),

I think, like a lot of people who feel defensive about this issue, you truly don’t understand the situation and I’m sorry for that.  This is not about anyone being opposed to the Bible or to Christianity. It is about honoring everyone’s religious or non-religious choice.

You see, because the POWs and MIAs are of all faiths and some of no faith, the only way to be fair and honor them all is to either put icons of every belief and/or non-belief system on the table or to put none of them there and not raise the issue of faith. The table and the thought behind it are enough. To assume that the icon of Christianity is appropriate because most of us in this country are Christians is to separate out all those who are not.

I have to assume, for example, that if the table included only the Koran there would be some who would be offended and/or feel left out. Maybe that would be true of you. In any case, given the law and the rules of the military, there can be no promotion or singling out of one belief system over another.

No offense to any is intended. I hope that helps you better understand.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 Comments

  1. Mark Sebree

    To the original letter writer:

    So, where are you going to put your Missing Man Table? In your home? No problem. Your home is private property. You can do almost anything you like there. In your place of worship? Again, not a problem. Places of worship are also private property, and the worshipers can do almost anything that they please there as well. Your place of business? Assume that you have the authority there to do that, again not a problem. In a government building or in the public or work spaces of a military base or government facility like the VA? Now we have a problem. The government cannot legally show favoritism towards any religion or non-religion, nor can it disparage any religion or non-religion. Including a Bible as part of a display in a government facility, especially when it is either the only religious text or the most prominent one, runs afoul with the First Amendment of the US Constitution, specifically the Establishment Clause.

    As you can see, there are a lot of places you can put your POW/MIA display without any problem. It is only when you get the government to appear to endorse one religion over another or over non-religion, or to disparage and disfavor one religion over another or non-religion, that you run into problems.

  2. Holy Rebel

    I cannot help to think how funny it is that Mikey considers the bible on the POW/MiA table as lothesome, when what he considers loathesome are his own Jewish scriptures. I tend to think that Mikey is only Jewish when it suits his own agenda and he only becomes Jewish when he feels there are anti-Semitic attacks against him. I would like to know how often he attends synagogue, only on the high holy days? If so then he is in comparison to those “Christians” who attend church on Christmas and Easter and we have a name for those, we call them Christeasters! I would think that rabbi’s would be appalled to hear that Mikey calling their own sacred texts loathesome!! I also wonder how Jewish Mikey was back when he was attending the Academy, was he only Jewish when there were anti-Semitic attacks against him, how often did he attend Jewish services while in the academy. Mikey being an agnostic Jew is an oxymoron just as much as “military intelligence” is an oxymoron.

  3. Holy Rebel

    I think it is interesting that while Mikey and the MRFF is removing bibles from VA hospital POW/MIA tables, the legislature of Tennessee has voted to make the bible the official book of the state, all that is left to do is for the governor to sign it into law which I pray he does. Hows that for separation of church and state??!! God bless Tennessee!!

  4. Tom O

    “Mikey considers the bible on the POW/MiA table as lothesome.” He does NOT “consider[s] loathesome [are] his own Jewish scriptures” contained in that Bible, because what he actually “considers loathesome” is NOT the Bible itself. What he does “consider loathesome” is that Bible’s presence 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. No matter how many times the MRFF and its supporters tell you theocrats that, you continue to demonize anyone who
    objects to your attempts to use government to push YOUR religious beliefs onto the rest of us. That’s why most of the complaints to MRFF come from REAL Christians, who resent the way you theocrats claim to be the only true Christians, which helps the militant atheists portray all Christians as being like you.

  5. Holy Rebel

    Tom O,

    I am a real Christian, blood washed and bought by the precious blood of Christ on the cross, that is as real as it gets! Sold out for Jesus to do His will here on earth and bring His kingdom to earth as it is done in heaven. We do not need to use the government to push our faith, we just do it by the Spirit of God within us. All governments are under His reign and control. One day all nations, peoples, tribes and tongues will bow their knee to the Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

  6. Connie

    Capt Obvious says Holy Rebel is neither.

  7. Holy Rebel

    Well Connie does not know Holy Rebel, so she has no right to say anything because she does not know me and this is called judging which she accuses many Christians of doing!

  8. Tom O

    Holy Rebel claims to know that Mike Weinstein “considers loathesome [are] his own Jewish scriptures,” thus claiming to know that Mikey’s internal thoughts and feelings are different from what is indicated by his words and actions.
    Well Holy Rebel does not know Mikey, so he has no right to say anything because this is called judging.
    I see that HR has no response to my previous explanation of
    what is really “loathesome” about government promotion of religion. Notice also that HR wrote ” We do not need to use the government to push our faith, we just do it by the Spirit of God within us” at 5:37PM April 5. Compare that with what he posted 4 hours previously, especially “Hows that for separation of church and state??!!”

  9. Connie

    Holy Rebel says:
    “Well Connie does not know Holy Rebel, so she has no right to say anything because she does not know me and this is called judging which she accuses many Christians of doing!”

    And Holy Rebel revealed himself to be Rev Bob aka Yeshua Warrior. I guess I knew who he was after all! As for judging him for being Christian, I created this:

    Liberty does not
    Mean you get to force your view
    On the rest of us.

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