Fort Riley, Prayer Breakfast

Hi there!
I was sorry to hear that you protested Lt. Gen. Boykins sched. speaking at the Army  Breakfast at Fort Riley.  That because of this the the breakfast was cancelled and that Lt. Gen. Boykin will not speak at a new breakfast time.   We see functions from people with your point of view,  we ( I ) don’t protest them to achieve a cancellation and want their free speech taken away  I am not  Homophobic, Islamaphobic  or aChristian Extremist.  I am a Christian and respect all folks with the freedoms that this country has established in our constitution and laws of the land.
Have a great day

(name withheld)

Hi ,(name withheld),

I think you’ll find the breakfast was rescheduled because those in charge at the base came to understand that they had made a serious error in inviting Mr. Boykin to speak.

When you say you “see functions from people with your point of view,” what point of view is that? I have to assume it’s a pro-constitution point of view, but if so, why would anyone protest it?

As regards your suggestion that someone wants someone else’s “free speech taken away,” you misunderstand entirely. Mr. Boykin is certainly free to speak his mind, even if his desire is to spout homophobic, Islamophobic and Christian supremacist points of view, but he can’t do so in an event sponsored by the U.S. military or any other part of the U.S. government, because that puts the military or the government in the position of endorsing those positions.

We, like you, “respect all folks with the freedoms,” etc. In Mr. Boykin’s case we’d hold our nose and certainly not attend or support his positions in any way. But the “free speech,” when it contains poisonous nonsense, stops at the door of our country’s military.

Please note the attached.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)

Good Day, (name withheld) –

Thanks for making the effort to write to the MRFF. I’m glad that you did because it gives us an opportunity to respond to your concerns and to share some information about what the MRFF is really all about. I can assure you that the portrait of our organization that is painted by most conservative meeting outlets is flat wrong.
For starters, there are lots of people among MRFF supporters and clients who are people of faith, mostly Christians. I’m one of them — a lifelong, committed, and active Christian as well as a USAF Academy graduate (’85) and a veteran USAF officer. So to presume that the MRFF is anti-Christian specifically, or even anti-religion generally, is incorrect. We’re not even a religious organization per se — we are a Constitutional advocacy group dedicated to ensuring that all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom to which they and all Americans are entitled by virtue of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Our ranks are full of good, honorable people of many beliefs — Christians and non-Christians, believers and non-believers — all working together in support of the principles upon which America was founded.
So why then, you are probably asking yourself, did the MRFF object to Gen Boykin being invited to speak at the Ft Riley prayer breakfast?  I can tell you it’s not because we want to deny the General’s Constitutional right to whatever religious beliefs he wishes to hold.  But we’re not talking about an individual service member and his privately held beliefs, not in the case of Gen Boykin.  Long ago, Gen Boykin explicitly and willfully crossed the line that keeps senior military leaders in check with respect to the misuse of their position or the color of their authority to promote a personal sectarian religious belief. As far back as 2003, Gen Boykin was giving public speeches, in full uniform, in which he advanced his belief that America is an explicitly Christian nation involved in a religious war. Among other things, he asserted that some Mulsims hate the US “because we’re a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian… and the enemy is a guy called Satan.”   He has made speeches in which he spoke of his encounters with a Somali warlord, saying in part, “My God was bigger than his … I knew that my God was a real God and that his was an idol.”
Is Gen Boykin entitled to his personal beliefs? You bet. But is he entitled to misuse his rank and position to promote those beliefs? No way.
In short, Gen Boykin is a horrible exemplar of what it means to be military officer and a Christian. And that makes him a terrible choice to speak at a base-sanctioned prayer breakfast. For that reason the MRFF objected to his invitation, which led 1st ID commander Maj Gen Grigsby and his staff to re-examine the situation. They determined that the invitation should be withdrawn. Lots of conservatives are blasting Maj Gen Grigsby and his staff, accusing them of being “weak”. But from where I sit, Maj Gen Grisby demonstrated a tremendous amount of strength, honor, and leadership. He made a hard decision which he felt was right, fully knowing that it was going to generate considerable heat. We need more leaders like Maj Gen Grigsby.
Thanks again for writing to the MRFF. I hope this information is helpful.
Mike Challman
Christian, USAF veteran, MRFF supporter







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