SHOCKING STATEMENT by MRFF Client on Redstone Arsenal Sexual Harassment/ Assault Response & Prevention

Dear Mikey Weinstein and MRFF,For the past (Number of years withheld), I have served the United States government as a Department of Defense civilian employee.  I am currently (rank withheld) equivalent and have year after year received highly commendable ratings on my performance.  I am asking for your help in assisting me with an event that took place at Redstone Arsenal.  I do not feel this is something I can report to my chain of command, due to past experiences, without fear of reprisal.  Therefore, I would greatly appreciate your help in this matter on behalf of myself and dozens of others who are also outraged at what took place.

On 27 April 2016, I attended mandatory Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention (SHARP) training at the Bob Jones auditorium located inside of the Redstone Arsenal’s Sparkman Center.  The event was started with the singing of the national anthem and the followed by a 3 minute long prayer by the Redstone Arsenal Chaplain.  The prayer included giving thanks to God for his many blessings and asking God to continue to watch over us, all in the name of Jesus.  As someone who is a former Christian, and who personally finds the Christian god, as described in the biblical texts, to be an abhorrent character unworthy of personal worship, I find it quite offensive to be forced to stand and listen to a 3 minute prayer to a god I in no way want to be associated with.  I do, of course, respect the rights of others to be Christians and practice their faith.  I just do not want them doing so at my expense. Please keep in mind that this training is mandatory for all DoD government civilians.  To make matters worse, the event’s main speaker, Ms. (Name Withheld), who was a victim of rape and sex trafficing stated that she personally survived her ordeal because she gave her life to Jesus, and that the only way to truly overcome the horrors of rape and sex trafficking is to have Jesus as your “King.” I certainly appreciated Ms. (name withheld)’s courage to come and speak and tell her story, one I wish she did not have to experience.  It is a horrible ordeal to live through.  However, stating that we all need Jesus to survive such a horrific thing is offensive on many levels.

Now, I would like to point out that at the age of 6, I was sexually molested by two older females on a number of occasions.  I personally do not recall Jesus rescuing me.  In fact, I was not rescued at all.  The abuse did not stop until the perpetrators chose to stop.  At the time, I was too young to understand what was taking place.  It was not until years later that I truly was able to comprehend what these two ladies had done.

I would also like to point out that someone very close to me was raped by the son of the pastor of her church when she was 15 years old.  To make matters worse, when when she reported this to her mother, her mother did not report it to police.  Her mother reported it to the pastor, the father of the rapist.  The pastor also did not report the matter to the police.  Instead, he counseled the victim and the perpetrator at the same time and told the victim that she was also to blame because she did not cry out for help.

Please try for a minute to imagine how she would feel if she were required by the government to attend mandatory training that forced her to sit through a prayer to Jesus, and then had to listen to a guest speaker proclaim that Jesus is the only way to overcome rape.  She is no longer a Christian, obviously for good reasons.  And she would have found it offensive to have sit through such an ordeal and essentially be victimized all over again.  I realize that Ms. (name withheld) and the Chaplain had no intention of their actions causing such victimization, but that is likely because they never considered how forcing their beliefs on others could cause harm to others.  While my friend may have not been in attendance at this SHARP training, it would  be unwise to assume that there were not other attendees who had themselves been sexually assaulted or raped by religious leaders and/or had similar experiences to my friend.  There have been literally thousands of cases of victims of sexual crimes at the hands of religious leaders in recent years, especially within the Christian churches of the United States. Not to mention the fact that in Numbers 31 of the Bible, the so-called “chosen people” of Yahweh are told that they are to kill non-virgin females and keep all the virgin females for themselves as spoils of war.  I do not wish to turn this email into an attack on the Bible, but it would be very easy for me to make a case against the biblical god and his mistreatment of women, his authorization of slavery, to include the sexual slavery of women, which is what Numbers 31 basically amounts to.

The bottom line is, inserting Jesus into mandatory government training is completely unnecessary as well as being outrageous and totally unconstitutional.  And I know of many others who were in attendance, many of whom identify as Christians, and were equally as disturbed by what took place during this training. I have sat through countless training events where Jesus was not part of the discussion, nor were the events opened with prayer.  So I see no reason for why this event had to take a detour and involve religion.  As has been my experience as a civilian employee, whenever religion is inserted into the government workplace, it always involves the Christian religion.

I can’t recall the last Thanksgiving or Christmas work luncheon that didn’t begin with thanks to Jesus and prayers for his blessings.  I have had a number of people try converting me to their Christian beliefs while I was at work.  Even having one particular person leave books about Jesus’ resurrection in my chair.

I have also had other experiences while working for the US Government, which I do not wish to go into specific detail about as I reported them to my chain of command but received no support. I did not push these issues out of concern my career could be negatively affected. And I know that these experiences are not unique to myself, and that many people are afraid to speak out about such issues.

In my opinion, there is a problem within the Redstone working community where Christianity is repeatedly given special privilege.  I am certain that if I were to stand up in front of a government training session and proclaim that God does not exist and we have no reason to give him thanks, that I would have hundreds of people calling for me to be fired.  I would, however, never do such a thing because I understand that my personal beliefs about religion and God are my own, and not everyone shares them.  I recognize that we are all there to work as a team, despite our individual beliefs, and that we have a mission to do.  I guess the difference between me and many other leaders is that I would never think of trying to force my beliefs on someone else, especially not in a workplace.  I completely support every person’s right to worship their god.  I just wish more could learn to do so without forcing their beliefs on others. This is why I am reaching out to the MRFF for their help, as they are well known for helping dedicated military and civilian employees, most of whom are themselves Christians, in dealing with unwelcomed religious intrusion into their work lives. Thanks to MRFF, we have an outlet in voicing our concerns, especially when we must fear reprisal when reporting such matters to our chain of command.


(Name, Rank, Military Unit All Withheld)

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