Bible removal

Dear Sir or Madam,
I read with interest a recent article in the Colorado Springs Independent where an Air Force Major is being investigated for having an open Bible in a common area. Would the same action have been taken if a copy of the Koran or any other religious treatise were present? I understand these days that the Bible is found offensive to some. It is not viewed by these individuals as just another book, but as a reason to file a complaint when it is found in a government, public or private office.
How is it then that this offense can be allowed and action taken against the individual responsible for the Bible but that individual has no power or recourse? Does this not seem one-sided to some degree? Is it possible the Major offered it for individual edification and not with intent to use it in any other way? Is it because the Bible might have some unforeseen untoward maleficent influence over the Major or any person who might come in contact with it? In fact, exactly what is it about Christianity that is found to be so offensive, more so than any other doctrine or faith? Were it any other book, say, Catcher in the Rye, or a John Grisham or David Baldacci novel is it not possible it could simply be ignored?
It just seems odd to me that any foundation for religious “freedom” cannot be balanced both ways. If it is not then how can it be construed as freedom at all?
–a quote from the article:
“The basic premise of the Air Force instruction [on religious freedom], grounded in Department of Defense policy, grounded in law is, people have an inherent right to free exercise of religion within boundaries,” Col. Damon Feltman, 310th Space Wing commander, says in an interview. “At the same time, people have freedom to be left alone. It’s finding that right balance. The challenge of the commander is to be sure both people are treated fairly.”
 
Sincerely,
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere, Brigadier General, US Army, Retired
Please see the attached. Thank you.
 
John Compere
Brigadier General, US Army, Retired
MRFF Advisory Board Member

CONSTITUTION,MILITARY&RELIGION-2


Response by MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

 

Dear (name withheld),

I received your note and want to respond to your concerns.

Perhaps the article you read misstated the facts, but the Bible in question was not “in a common area,” it was on the business desk of an officer who has authority over all those beneath him in rank. It has been there, ostentatiously placed, with underscored passages, unavoidable to all who report to or do business with him, not just for a day, but for a long time. It’s purpose, proselytizing, is clearly understood and is contrary to military regulations requiring such behavior to be private and outside the business or duty space.

I would think it to go without saying that the same action would be taken if the item were “a copy of the Koran or any other religious treatise.” I find myself wondering just what it is in your view that prompts the question? The inference, it seems clear to me, is that you believe the objection was not to an inappropriate imposition of a religious preference but rather to the Bible itself.

That’s unfortunate and untrue.

The fact that you claim to “understand these days that the Bible is found offensive to some” prompts another question. Where, in your experience has such offense been indicated? If it were to be on a military base or in a military unit, that is something the MRFF would want to know about, as it would be inappropriate.

Bigotry has no place in the military, nor has the inappropriate elevation of one belief system over others, which too often amounts to the same thing.

Did the article that so misinformed you also indicate the officer whose action is in question “has no power or recourse” in this situation? If so, I would encourage you to find another source of information as that is also untrue.

Your questions that follow, e.g. “Is it because the Bible might have some unforeseen untoward maleficent influence over the Major or any person who might come in contact with it?” and ” In fact, exactly what is it about Christianity that is found to be so offensive, more so than any other doctrine or faith?” strike me as coming not from an article in the Colorado Springs Independent, but rather appear to arise out of the fervent imagination of one predisposed to believe that this entire episode is yet another example of a fictitious “War on Christianity.”

While “It just seems odd to (you) that any foundation for religious “freedom” cannot be balanced both ways,” let me simply acknowledge your judgment here and say it is neither surprising nor correct.

I continue to be saddened, I must say, by the victim-game that is currently so popular with some who profess to be Christians yet are so weak in their faith that instead of glorying in their salvation choose to thrash about looking for excuses to play martyr.

Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)

Mr. Farrell,
I in no way intended to play the martyr, simply was seeking information for what has become a heated issue in this country. I stand corrected in my misinterpretation and misinformation and am grateful to you.
Sincerely,
(name withheld)
— and please know I see myself not as a professing Christian but an individual who seeks to live to glorify God. I struggle daily.

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
Dear (name withheld)

Thank you for this thoughtful and quite moving response. Your acknowledgement is deeply appreciated.

I’m pleased to know that you are not among the troubling cohort I described. And I do hope you now understand that we have no antipathy toward either the Bible or Christianity. In fact, over 95% of those associated with the MRFF are themselves Christians. Some of them, I believe it’s fair to say, probably struggle daily as well.

My best to you.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

 

 

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