Maybe Some Day You’ll find Truth

Maybe someday you’ll find truth Mr. Weinstein, and you’ll realize just how futile your attempts to dethrone your Creator actually are. I’ll pray for you sir.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Joan Slish
I’m afraid you have been misled about Mikey and those of us involved with MRFF.
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 (300 in total) of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) are Christians. In fact, 96% of our 47,000+ 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:
Check out the distinguished military personnel we rely on for their expertise on religious neutrality in the military:
We are defenders of the Constitution, Supreme Court rulings and military law. When the military oversteps these bounds, we step in to force them to obey.
“…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 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
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
AFI (Air Force Instruction) 1-1, Section 2.12:
2.12. Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause. Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.
To place the opened, highlighted, underlined Christian Bible on a military desk 24/7 for other service members to see elevates the Christian God above all others and is in violation of Reynolds v. U.S., Lemon v. Kurtzman, the Lemon Test, Parker v. Levy and AFI 1-1, Section 2.12.
There are means within the military to ask for religious exemptions. Maj. Lewis never asked for one like Monifa Sterling who was court-martialed for having Bible verses at her desk and refusing to take them down. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/aug/11/monifa-sterlings-bad-conduct-discharge-from-marine/
They are very much aware of the laws and if the military would obey them we wouldn’t be having this fight.
Joan Slish
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

Hi (name withheld),

I hope you don’t mind that I reply to your email to the MRFF. Mr. Weinstein keeps very busy working to protect the freedom of religious choice of the women and men in the military, so can’t always respond personally.

Your message suggests you have the wrong idea about Mr. Weinstein and the MRFF. Whether it comes from reading material written by people who have a negative agenda or hearing reports that misstate the facts, we get a number of messages from people who lack an understanding of what we do, so please let me clarify.

First of all, your prayers are appreciated.

But to the point, your impression that anyone here is trying “to dethrone your Creator” is quite wrong. I’m sorry something or someone gave you that impression, but nothing we have done or said even suggests that.

Assuming your response has to do with Major Lewis’ inappropriate display of his Bible, let me say that we have no problem with the Bible. Our issue was with his inappropriate display of it. Major Lewis knows the U.S. military, as part of the government, must be careful to ensure that no statement, action or implication is made to suggest favoring one religious belief system over another. That’s a violation of both US law and military regulations.

Major Lewis can certainly have his Bible and underline passages meaningful to him, but to display it ostentatiously in his work-space is inappropriate, as he knows. This is not only because one’s beliefs are personal and private, but also because of the fact that in a hierarchical system like the military, such a display can suggest to those serving under him that they will be favored it they share or pretend to share his faith and, conversely, may be disfavored if they do not.

There are other reasons, as I’m sure you can imagine, but the military carefully regulates the time, place and manner for religious expression in an attempt to be careful to equally honor the faith, belief system, philosophy or lack thereof of every woman and man who serves.

Your expression of faith suggests you hold one dear. That is your privilege in this country and we honor it as we do you. The military, being part of the government, has to go to some lengths to ensure that no one belief system is promoted or seen to be favored over any other. It is our mission to see that this position is maintained carefully, so when someone like Major Lewis oversteps it is important that he is corrected.

I hope this helps.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


God and what he did on the cross is so much bigger than all of this. Your many words seem petty in the light of eternity. Please give thought to what that means for you personally and stop trying to ‘protect’ us all from ‘religion.’ God has a good handle on all of it, regardless of what we humans think.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

While it’s easy to think that everything seems small in “the light of eternity,” deeming something petty is a cheap human trick unworthy of someone who claims to be a person of faith. I rather suspect the God you worship cares deeply for those who work to better the lives and raise the spirits of our fellow human beings.

And I wonder how God, who you suggest “has a good handle on all of it,” feels about those who spend their energies judging others to be unworthy?

Enjoy your self-satisfaction. We’ll continue to work for the benefit of others.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

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