Removing the Bible from the MIA/POW Display

Personally I think your decision to remove the Bible from the MIA/POW display is saying that we as a people do not have the right to put God on display in this country. No wonder this country has become a contry with no morals. Remember God says that he that Denise him in front of man He will deney to God !!! Good luck guys and I will pray for you.

(name withheld)


no offense, but the word is spelled “deny”…..who is “Denise”?

Mikey Weinstein


Oh yea that’s what you need to get picky about.  No offense.

(name withheld)


Hi (name withheld),

Your message was forwarded to me as we try to respond to all emails and other messages that come to us at the MRFF and Mikey is so busy protecting the religious freedom of the women and men in the military that he doesn’t have time to answer everything.

Your personal opinion, as expressed in your recent message, completely misunderstands the position of the MRFF and the reason for our opposition to the placement of a religious book in a welcome display intended for POW/MIAs.  Contrary to your suggestion that we’re saying people “do not have a right to put God on display in this country,” what we are saying is that because not all POWs and MIAs are Christians, the choice of placing a Bible in the display was inappropriate. Our objection would be the same if they had chosen a Koran, a Book of Mormon or an artifact of any particular religion. To fairly honor the freedom of religion, government-associated displays must refrain from suggesting the promotion of any one faith over others.

We do not, by the way, agree with your suggestion that our ours has become a country with no morals. Our position is based on the U.S. Constitution which, while not a religious document, does a pretty good job of laying out a framework of laws that attempt to provide the basis for a thoughtful, principled and moral society. The job of the citizens, that being the case, is to see to it that we comport ourselves in a suitable manner within that framework.

I’m afraid I don’t understand your attempt to make a point by connecting God and Denise, so will leave that for you to explain.

In any event, I hope I’ve helped you better understand why the Bible was wrongly placed and that it has nothing to do with opposition to Christianity.


Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


Dear (name withheld),
Mikey was busy insuring that the families of those POW/MIAs whose faith is not represented by the Christian holy book on the MIA/POW table were not excluded or demeaned by the display of only one faith’s book… as though only Christians’ sacrifices are worth remembering… after all, who cares about the Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Native American Church believers, Buddhists and others… right?  I’m assuming that is your position, judging by your comments.
Consequently, he asked if I might respond to you.  Be advised; I am not an official member of the MRFF staff (but am a supporter), nor do I speak as an official representative of either Mikey or MRFF. Additionally, since you wrote, evidently in good faith ‘in the clear’ (using your real name & e-mail – unlike the vast numbers of internet trolls who write Mikey & hide behind fake name & e-mails – usually anti-Semitic or otherwise insulting) I am writing likewise ‘in the clear’ in hopes you’ll not troll me in the future.
Those things said I’m going to pick the false assumptions in your e-mail apart (the comments are intercut with your text):


Personally I think your decision to remove the Bible from the MIA/POW display
This is not Mikey’s ‘decision’.  He is representing clients (from many different VAs) who’ve appealed for his legal expertise & help because he’s created the MRFF to combat just such abuses. Further, his ‘decision’ (that word suggests it’s some bee in his personal bonnet rather than the duty of every American citizen and the legal duty of every officer of the court – which Mikey is)  is in keeping with the Constitution’s no establishment clause since, as the VA is a USG institution, any religious display on its premises automatically ‘establishes’ a state religion and is thus, un-Constitutional.
is saying that we as a people do not have the right to put God on display in this country.
No, (name withheld), Mikey most definitely does NOT say THAT!!  People have every right to display their religious faith until they give it up by becoming a representative of the USG (which every soldier, policeman, guardsman, etc is), and the Supreme Court (Parker vs. Levy (1974) – excerpted below), has been very clear that people in the military must adhere to a different set of standards than ordinary citizens.  Similarly, government institutions (courthouses, statehouses, etc.) must also avoid any hint of ‘establishment’ since they represent “The People”… not ‘The Christian People Only”.  Mikey would be, and has been, the first to stand up to defend people’s right to worship their own faith demands (or as their lack of faith doesn’t demand).  To say otherwise is a display of profound ignorance of what he & MRFF stand for.
No wonder this country has become a contry with no morals.
Hard to know where to begin on this one… the KKK was a devoutly Christian organization.. were they moral?  Was slavery moral?  The U.S., under a variety of ‘Christian’ leaders – from both parties – has committed genocide, slavery, state-sanctioned murder & assassination, rendition & torture to name just a few of the immoral actions this country has taken under a variety of ‘Christian’ leaders.  Is this the ‘morality’ you wish to return to?
Remember God says that he that Denise him in front of man He will deney to God !!!
Mikey doesn’t deny god (he’s Jewish after all; just like your lord) although he denies that your interpretation of god is the only one allowed and that everyone needs to kowtow to your particular mythology… I realize that’s in conflict with your need for everyone to believe as you do but ‘ya know… stuff happens.
You’d do well to spend a few minutes reviewing the information on the MRFF website to get an understanding of what it’s really about instead of firing half-cocked as though those whom you reply on for your information have an iota of real knowledge… they don’t.
Good luck guys and I will pray for you.
I know Mikey appreciates good wishes, sincerely offered, from any source.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist:
“This Court has long recognized that the military is, by necessity, a specialized society separate from civilian society. We have also recognized that the military has, again by necessity, developed laws and traditions of its own during its long history. The differences between the military and civilian communities result from the fact that “it is the primary business of armies and navies to fight or be ready to fight wars should the occasion arise. …An army is not a deliberative body. It is the executive arm. Its law is that of obedience. No question can be left open as to the right to command in the officer or the duty of obedience in the soldier. …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. …In the armed forces, some restrictions exist for reasons that have no counterpart in the civilian community. Disrespectful and contemptuous speech, even advocacy of violent change, is tolerable in the civilian community, for it does not directly affect the capacity of the Government to discharge its responsibilities unless it both is directed to inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to produce such action. …In military life, however, other considerations must be weighed. The armed forces depend on a command structure that, at times must commit men to combat, not only hazarding their lives but also ultimately involving the security of the Nation itself. Speech that is protected in the civil population may nonetheless undermine the effectiveness of response to command.  If it does, it is constitutionally unprotected.”
I’ll be happy to discuss these issue further with you after you’ve taken the time to acquaint yourself with the necessary information found here.

I am not against you I’m just saying that our country needs to turn back tk God and I’m not against people of other faiths displaying books or whatever of their fath. What I am saying is we. Should not be ashamed of displaying God’s word under any circumstances. May God be with you and I will pray for you also. Goodnight sir.
(name withheld)

 Dear (name withheld),

Personally, I find your ignorance of our laws appalling.


“One Nation Under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 – 166 years after our secular Constitution was ratified.


“In God We Trust” was adopted as our nation’s motto in 1956 – 168 years after our secular Constitution was ratified.


“In God We Trust” was added to our paper money in 1957 – 169 years after our secular Constitution was ratified.


The Christian God was not a part of our Constitution in the beginning..


How about this quote from the Bible?


“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” Romans 13:1-2


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 ones – will never tell 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.


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 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


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 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, they removed the Bible under our laws.


The blame is placed squarely at their feet…not ours.


Here’s some more history that someone failed to teach you:


The Treaty of Tripoli was signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796.It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797, and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797;a mere 8 yearssince our Constitution went into effect. If what was written was wrong in anyway, there would have been uproar. But, it passed unanimously and confirmed that America was not founded on Christianity.

Treaty of Tripoli:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries…

The Constitution reflects our founder’s views of a secular government protecting the freedom of any belief or unbelief.


The historian, Robert Middlekauff, observed, “The idea that the Constitution expressed a moral view seems absurd. There were no genuine evangelicals in the Convention, and there were no heated declarations of Christian piety.”


“The Salem witchcraft was the rock on which the theocracy shattered”. George Lincoln Burr (1857 – 1938), Professor of History and Librarian at Cornell University


“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.”
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787


“History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”

Thomas Jefferson: in letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813

“The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” 1787-1788

“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789

“Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

“The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
James Madison, 1819, Writings, 8:432, quoted from Gene Garman, “Essays In Addition to America’s Real Religion”

“Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government 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; Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations, EcclesiasticalEndowments


“God has appointed two kinds of government in the world, which are distinct in their nature, and ought never to be confounded together; one of which is called civil, the other ecclesiastical government.”
Isaac Backus, An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty, 1773


“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.

What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.”

James Madison 1785 Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments


“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


According to our Founding Fathers the Constitution is not based on Christianity or biblical law.


“Personally I think your decision to remove the Bible from the MIA/POW display is saying that we as a people do not have the right to put God on display in this country.”


First, it wasn’t our decision, but the law. Second, God is on display by many churches but you can’t display ANY religious thing on government property.


Good luck to you and I will pray for you, too.


Pastor Joan

MRFF Advisory Board Member


Dear (name withheld),

I am writing in response to your April 11, 2016 email to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (“MRFF”).


In a way, you are correct – although you, as a private citizen, are free to erect any display you wish to recognize the God you worship, the military, as a state actor, does not have the same right.  Your right is protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, while a display by the military or any branch thereof would constitute a wrongful endorsement of one religion over others, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.


You are free to believe that the mandates of the Establishment Clause have somehow lead to a lack of morals in this country, but that does not change the law.  If you don’t like not getting your way all the time, I have bad news for you – life gets harder. Get a helmet.


Blessed be,


Tobanna Barker

MRFF Legal Affairs Coordinator


And now you hsve  Turner telling them to put the Bible back.

(name withheld)


It’s not going to happen.


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.”


Joan Slish





















Share this page:

Commenter Account Access

  • Register for a commenter account
    (Not required to post comments, but will save you time if you're a regular commenter)
  • Log in using your existing account
  • Click here to edit your profile and change your password
  • All comments are subject to our Terms of Use

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this article!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *