Why?

Dear MRF,
I am puzzled by groups like yours that seem to attack everything that even has a hint of aggression on religious freedom whether it is justified or not.  For example, the individual who want to have people punished due to the “crusader” image.  Has it reached a point in our society that blind/fanatical action is required with no common sense considered? 
 
I pray for you.
(name withheld)

Hi (name withheld),

Your puzzlement is based on your apparent lack of understanding. In my experience, our critics are often those who hear stories out of context or are believers in a “war on Christianity” and perceive our work as an attack. For example, you lump us here with “groups like yours.” There are no other groups like ours that I’m aware of. Perhaps you can help me by explaining what groups you’re referring to that “seem to attack everything that even has a hint of aggression on religious freedom whether it is justified or not.”

You can help me further by explaining what that sentence means. As I read over it, you seem to have a problem with groups that object when something “has a hint of aggression on religious freedom whether it is justified or not.” I would think any right-minded American would oppose something that fights against religious freedom, wouldn’t you? And how could such a thing ever be “justified”?

As far as someone objecting to the use of a “crusader” (sic) image is concerned, if it was associated with a United States military unit such an image would be utterly inappropriate, don’t you think? Given the fact that the Crusades were viciously anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim, I think associating such an image with our U.S. Armed Forces would be a terrible idea. It would put our troops in danger in many parts of the world by implying an endorsement of such bigotry and violence.

Now, in answer to your question about having “reached a point in our society that blind/fanatical action is required with no common sense considered,” I’d have to say no, I don’t think so. We certainly have a lot of people with odd ideas, but I don’t think the whole society can be blamed for some attention-seekers or crackpots with kooky ideas.

In our case, we’re dedicated to protecting the freedom of religious choice of the women and men in our military. That involves honoring the separation of church and state and seeing to it that our government, through its military, is never put in the position of appearing to endorse or favor one belief system over another.

I hope that helps ease your puzzlement.

Best,

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

Dear (name withheld),

Why? Because it’s against our laws.

 

Has it reached a point in our society that blind/fanatical belief with no common sense considered toward what a crusader really was?

 

The crusades were holy wars. Pope Urban II called for the 1st Crusade in 1095 to wrest control of Jerusalem from the Muslims. Steven Runcimun wrote the very accurate line during the 1950s, “High ideals were besmirched by cruelty and greed … the Holy War was nothing more than a long act of intolerance in the name of God.”

 

Before the 1st Crusade was the People’s Crusade where anywhere from 2,000-10,000 Jews were killed, committed suicide or were forced to convert to Christianity throughout France and Germany.

 

There were many more Crusades which were always religious wars.

 

If our military uses the Crusader name in any form it signals to the world that every war we fight is a Christian one.

 

More importantly, our laws say we cannot mix religion with any government entity – especially our military.

 

As defenders of the Constitution we fight for the separation of church and state.

 

“…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.

 

By using the Crusader image, we would be elevating Christianity above other religions when soldiers of other faiths or no faith fight for our rights under the Constitution – not the bible.

 

“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 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 crusader image 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 crusader image violates Parker v. Levy.

 

The only common sense that should be considered here is the Constitution and Supreme Court rulings that forbid mixing religion with government in any way.

 

Also, we don’t want the world to look on our military as Christian jihadists.

 

For your information, 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.

 

Check out Our Mission statement and you will see where we stand.

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

 

I will pray for you, too.

 

Pastor Joan

MRFF Advisory Board Member


 

Dear Joan,

Thanks, for your reply.  Mike also responded to my email and as I have seen from both his and your emails, you both have provided good information for me to reflect on and evaluate.

 

I appreciate your quick detailed response.

(name withheld)


 

Dear (name withheld),

 

Thank you for this kind response.

 

Those who write against us know exactly who we are and what we stand for. They also know the laws but choose to ignore them; thus giving a biased account of what is happening.

 

We appreciate people like you contacting us because we can tell them the truth and hopefully they will share the information we sent.

 

May God bless your socks off!

 

Pastor Joan


 

Joan,

Not a problem.  Actually, I want to get a better understanding of your organization.  I find that some organizations appear to be afraid of anything that has the connotation of being religious.  Thus, my comments/beliefs are not meant to be inflammatory but really an effort to obtaining a better understanding of why some people feel the way they feel.

 

Tks.

(name withheld)


 

Dear (name withheld)

We are not anti-Christian. If we felt that the MRFF was there would be a mass exodus.

 

Mikey started this organization after his two sons at the Air Force Academy were being harassed because they were Jewish- especially after they showed the Cadets the Passion of the Christ movie. It brought back memories of his own beatings at the Air Force Academy (one time left for dead) because of his Jewish faith.

 

Soon, other Cadets of different religious beliefs or no belief system, called because their chain of command blew off their complaints. There was nowhere for them to turn to for help but Mikey.

 

The requests soon grew exponentially to the point that Mikey left a very lucrative position and took on the daunting task of helping our soldiers – doing so out of his own pocket. There came a time when his finances were exhausted and had to ask for help through donations. He could have walked away and gone back into the public sector but he has a heart of gold and couldn’t abandon the soldiers that relied on him.

 

Yes, he is bombastic. In the beginning he was very nice and nothing got done to rectify any religious harassment. Now, he uses words that the media eats up but they draw attention to what is happening.

 

No one – all the way to the Pentagon – will follow the laws of our land in the military. When they cross that line we step in but ONLY at the request of our soldiers. We don’t do it on our own.

 

Mikey gets hate mail and death threats on a daily basis from Christians, so much so that he has to travel with body guards.

 

Go to our website and click on About. In the Foundation Voices section you will see distinguished and honorable military personal that we rely on for their expertise on religion in the military. You will also see many people from all walks of life on our Advisory Board.

 

Check out our inbox and see some of the mail we get.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.

 

God bless,

 

Pastor Joan


 

Mike,

Thanks, for your reply.  I appreciate your thoughtfulness on the topic.  I want to keep an open-mind on such issues and will reflect on what you have said.

 

Thank you.

(name withheld)


 

 

Thanks to you, (name withheld). I appreciate your kind response.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

Joan,

Thank you for your input.  I will review the information in more detail.

(name withheld)


 

Dear (name withheld),

You’re very welcome.

 

Pastor Joan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Comments

  1. Holy Rebel

    Mr. Farrell if I may, let me introduce you a couple groups who have an aggression to freedom of religion, they are called the ACLU and FFRF!

  2. Connie

    Couldn’t help yourself holy rebel, could you?

    You know, but will not admit, that the FFRF & ACLU monitor the civilian side of life while the MRFF handles the military. Oh, you forgot AU – Americans United for the separation of church and state. A last thought hr – loss of privilege is not the same as persecution. Admit it – you don’t like to share with anyone your book deems as other. Equality for all is here and you can’t take it back.

    Pastor Joan – a thought. Please think about using the word facts instead of truth when describing the information you provide. It is my experience that truth has a perspective slant while facts remain fact no matter what anyone believes.

    In closing I offer this –
    May MRFF’s shield of facts hold steady for the coming storm. Theocrats believe they can take over the USA by getting elected. Let’s show them the error of their ways.

  3. Holy Rebel

    Connie,

    Anytime our freedom of religion is restricted is equal to persecution on some accounts. I knew that FFRF and ACLU and AUSCS were for the civilian side. The only thing the bible says to share with others is the good news that Christ as died for them and that they are loved by God. We do not have to share bathroom with those who in their mentally deranged state think that they are women trapped in men’s bodies and vice versa! If they have a penis, they need to use the men’s room and if they have a vagina, they are to use the women’s room plain and simple. Why should young girls and women be traumatized by a man who thinks he is a woman going into their bathroom. I am sorry , no man is going into a bathroom which my daughter is using with the possibility that he may be a sexual predator. I will not allow such a person to even enter that bathroom. We also do not have to share equal rights with gay or lesbian people, they do not need anymore rights which are already guaranteed to them by the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

  4. Mark Sebree

    HR,

    You need to check your facts again. The ACLU and the FFRF both support and defend our freedom of religion, and have for quite some years. If you want to look for groups that are working to dismantle our freedom of religion, better candidates would be the American Family Association, Liberty Counsel, Operation Rescue, and any number of other far right organizations which are working to see their religious beliefs enshrined into law, and everyone else’s beliefs vilified and ignored. They are ones who celebrate discrimination and religious privilege, and scream “discrimination” whenever they are forced to play by the same rules as everyone else.

  5. Holy Rebel

    Mark,

    Maybe you should investigate what FFRF means, it means Freedom from Religion Foundation, so they cannot be out to support and defend freedom of religion. They are out to remove all forms of religion from society. The American Family Assoc., Liberty Counsel,are working to make sure that our religious freedoms are validated. Operation Rescue is trying to save unborn babies from being murdered in which abortion has become the modern day holocaust of our time. I do not see how those organizations are practicing discrimination.

  6. Tom O

    Can Holy Rebel give a specific example of an action by the ACLU or FFRF that tried to suppress freedom of religion? I’ve read about high schools who were excessively worried about giving unconstitutional support to religion, and didn’t allow Christian high school student organizations to meet at school. The ACLU took legal action to get those religious organizations to be allowed to meet on campus after regular school hours, in the same way other student non-religious organizations were allowed to meet. I’m fairly sure that the ACLU similarly supported students’ right to pray, outside class room during the school day, as long as they didn’t block hallways or otherwise interfere with school activities.

  7. Tom O

    I see that after 3 days to think about it, Holy Rebel still can’t offer a specific example of an action by the ACLU or FFRF that tried to suppress freedom of religion. I wonder why.

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