Open Bible On Air Force Major’s Desk

Wow, you people REALLY need to find a job that actually matters. An open bible sitting on a desk???? And one that had YELLOW highlighting?? What a danger that must pose?! Unbelievable. Did little people come out and tell you to be a Christian?
I PRAY that if you are ever in a position where you might be in real danger, where you might be in danger of losing your life (Again, I pray this does not happen), remember, not to pray for help from God. Just FYI, these are called “Foxhole Christians”. Please feel free to pray to Satan, Mohammed, or whomever, but you my friend will be out of luck.
I will pray for your soul.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere (Brigadier General, US Army, Retired)
Dear (name withheld),
The mission of the United States military is to defend our diverse nation against all enemies – not promote religion. A military member’s sworn oath is to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States…and bear true faith and allegiance to the same” – not to a Bible version. Our Constitution 1st Amendment provides for separation of church & state that prohibits our government or its representatives from “respecting” (i.e., favoring, supporting, endorsing, promoting, etc) any religious establishment (i.e., a religion, church, denomination, sect, cult, etc). Military service is public, religious beliefs are private. Military members may privately practice the religion (or non-religion) of choice, but they may not lawfully use their service, position or office to force their private religious beliefs on fellow Americans. Military members who disrespect & disregard our Constitution & their sworn oath need to be disciplined & required to take a USA Constitution 101 course as well as be briefed on the legal significance of their sworn oath. Any person who cannot support the Constitution & honor a sworn oath has the right to seek a career elsewhere.
 
John Compere (Brigadier General, US Army, Retired)
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Let me start my reply with the expression of appreciation for your service to our Country.  One should never diminish when someone is willing to put their life on the line for their belief and support of our great nation.  It was built on the three most important documents  ever written for our country – The Constitution, the Declaration, and the Bill of Rights.  Again, thank you.
With that being said, you are completely wrong about the 1st Amendment providing for separation of church and state.  NOWHERE in the 1st Amendment or Constitution does it say this.
The metaphor of a “wall of separation” comes from a letter President Thomas Jefferson penned to a group of Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut—a dozen years after the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified. The phrase is not mentioned in the Constitution’s text or in any of the debates leading to its ratification.
What the Constitution’s First Amendment does say is that government shall make no law “respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It is well to attend to the actual words of the Constitution. Nowhere is this more important than with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment: forbidding an official establishment of religion is something quite different from the much looser, imprecise term “separation of church and state.” The Constitution only forbids government sponsorship and compulsion of religious exercise by individual citizens. It does not require hermetic “separation”—implying exclusion—of religion and religious persons from public affairs of state.
Having a Bible open on a desk is no more proscelitizing than to say a BBQ cookbook sitting on a kitchen counter requires you to make smoked pork chops.  That is a ludicrous and non sensical statement.  I say to you, sir, that you need to take the Constitution 101 course that you so profess in your reply.  Just saying.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere (Brigadier General, US Army, Retired)
Dear (name withheld)
You “legal” analysis of our Constitution is deficient & not a correct statement of history or law. It is a misinformed attempt to deny & revise history as well as ignore long established Constitutional law.
 
Church and state are and must remain separate.” – President Ronald Reagan (1984 public speech at Valley Stream, New York).
 
We enjoy the separation of church and state, and no sectarian religion has ever been and we pray God, ever will be imposed upon us.” – Christian Evangelist Billy Graham (1985 sermon at Washington National Cathedral).
 
I believe in the separation of church and state, completely.” – Christian Televangelist Rick Warren (2008 address at Washington National Cathedral).
 
Constitutional separation of church & state has been publicly acknowledged & accepted by every American President since Jefferson as well as countless Christian leaders with integrity & some knowledge of American constitutional history.
 
Please see the attachments for enlightenment on this subject.
 
John Compere
Retired Army & Texas lawyer, retired US judge & disabled American veteran (Vietnam)
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

Oh, (name withheld), you’re so clever. You found me out. Here I’ve been going merrily along praying to Satan and Mohammed and whoever and thinking no one would ever know…

What gave me away? Was it the emphasis on the YELLOW highlighting? I warned Mikey that it would cause problems, that the little people would come out and tell me to be a Christian, but did he pay attention? No.

 

No, he’s kind of a sticker. He thought we just had to go ahead and lodge the complaint about the officer violating both the law and military regulations by promoting his faith in a way that imposed it on others. He’s that way, you know? He believes in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He’s very big on the separation of church and state.

 

It’s kind of a pain in the butt, I have to say, because it gets some religious zealots all hot and bothered when their favorite faith is the one in the middle of a controversy. You know, like you. But I have to say he’s awfully tolerant. He lets people believe what they choose and protects their freedom to do so, even when it stirs up the ‘true believers’ to whom it’s their way or else.

 

Amazing, though, he tolerates me and my prayers to Satan and Mohammed and whoever. You know Moloch, by any chance?

 

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


Well, another person responding.  I guess this provides additional input, but one that seems to drift from the core discussion.  When you can’t win with facts, divert, deflect, and obfuscate.   I’ll state the fact that no one from your organization can seem to refute this point except by quoting emotional feelings/statements.  No where in the Constitution does it state the separation of church and state. Being that you work for a such an important organization that has many resources at your disposal, you would surely have the Section, Subsection, or Paragraph where this is stated at your fingertips.

 

In terms of the Major himself, was he prosceltizing?  Or was the Bible simply sitting on his desk with yellow highlighting?  Was he holding Bible Studies, or singing hymns so others could hear or join in?  Did he light incense to encourage others to sit at his desk and pray?  Or did he have the Bible on his desk to help guide him through his daily endeavors to provide him with peace of mind and a faith which helps him to lead in a strong, yet compassionate way as all good leaders should?

 

Hiding behind a curtain of military rules because it serves a specific desire on your part does not by any stretch of the imagination provide a sound basis for your argument.  Going to the extreme to alienate and take solace from a fellow soldier because of his firm belief in God only tears at the fabric of this great country.  Your argument is both hollow and destructive to our country that you profess to love being that you are in the military. I know this is driven by the liberal agenda, whether you choose to admit it or not.  Your choice of words calling me a zealot does not affect or move me.  I am firm in my faith, and whether or not you choose to believe, is not my concern.  That is between you and God.

 

What if a member of your family was struggling with an illness, an addiction, a loss of a family member, maybe unemployment, or God forbid, a disaster of incredible proportions to personal property (such as in Louisiana today), and they found comfort and peace by having a Bible on their bed, desk, or counter.  Would you in your defiance to acknowledge what the Bible stands for, take it away because of your inability to relate?

 

It truly astounds me that people spend so much time trying to take away the good things this country has to offer because someone is offended.  The fact that you work for this type of organization says a lot about you.  The fact that you spend so much time trying to remove what is good about this country is one of the reasons it is in a tailspin.

 

Wake up.  I pray you will stop and take this email as it is meant and that is to reach what I hope is goodness in your heart.  If you are hellbent on trying to destroy this country and the military, well, that is a price we will all pay down the road.

 

I will continue to pray for you and those who share your views that one day God will touch your heart(s).

 

Respectfully,

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

Hey (name withheld),

 

Thanks. I’ll try to dig down deep enough to find some goodness in my heart and respond as appropriately as I can.

 

I hope it won’t surprise you to learn that Christianity is not mentioned in the Constitution, either. That does not mean it doesn’t exist. The separation of church and state is a long-held and well-understood (except by some who want to impose their particular belief system on everyone in the country) legal concept that has withstood the tests of time.

 

In answer to your question about Major Lewis, the people who came to us with their complaints were certainly under the impression that they were being force-fed a particular faith, a fact they found not only deeply discomfiting personally but also outside the reasonable bounds of the military relationship.

 

No one is “hiding behind a curtain of military rules.” Military rules exist and there are reasons for them. While it is apparently convenient for you to attempt to dismiss them, doing so betrays a serious ignorance of the hierarchical structure of the military unit.

 

Nor is anyone attempting to “alienate and take solace from a fellow soldier because of his firm belief in God.” Major Lewis’ faith is his own business and he is welcome to it. As is the case with all others in his command and elsewhere.

However, faith is a private matter, so while all in the military are allowed the freedom to believe as they choose, they may not impose it on others.

 

Contrary to your assertion, it is not the protection of everyone’s freedom of belief or non-belief that “tears at the fabric of this great country.” There are many forces and issues at work, some very destructive. In one case, it is the insistence of some who claim that theirs is the one and only true faith, that all must submit to their will, and that ours must become a Christian nation and our military “Jesus’ Army.”

 

That is an existing agenda today and a deeply troubling one. We oppose it as we would if it happened to be the plan of the adherents of any other belief system, but it is the only one we are aware of that is active today.

 

Your assertion that our effort is part of the “liberal agenda” is as tiresome as it is wrong.

 

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


Good Morning Mike,

 

Thanks for the reply.  I never said Christianity was mentioned in the Bible.  The separation of church and state is not Constitutional.  Whether some believe it is or is not is irrelevant.  Your whole premise is built on a house of cards.  There is nothing substantive about it.  Just because you say it is so, does not make it true.  I will not compose another long email.  I will just suffice it to say, until you prove the legal stance that the separation of Church and State is IN the constitution, then you have no case.  No need to respond.  My point lays in fact, yours in opinion, and last I checked, fact trumps opinion.

 

Have a great day,

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

You apparently missed my point. Where’s the surprise?

Further,  you assert that “The separation of church and state is not Constitutional.  Whether some believe it is or is not is irrelevant.”

Not relevant? Even if the courts say it is? Since you’ve chosen to be silly about this, I consulted my favorite attorney on the subject. Pay heed.

First, while you are correct that the phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution, you are incorrect that such separation is not embodied in the Constitution via the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause.  The phrase “separation of church and state” was first used by Thomas Jefferson to explain the intent and function of these two clauses of the First Amendment:

 

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

 

The phrase was later adopted by the Supreme Court as an “authoritative declaration” of the scope and effect of the First Amendment.  Reynolds v. U.S., 98 U.S. 145 (1879).  Therefore, the separation of church and state is a very real and important part of our constitutional jurisprudence.

Enjoy!

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisers)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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