Allegations Against Lt. Col. Kersten


In response to your allegations against Lt. Col. Michael Kersten;

I’m trying to understand what exactly motivates MRFF in undermining the 1st amendment, specifically religious freedom, if not an outright anti-christian agenda, since that is the only belief system your organization outright persecutes.

“The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is the sole nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to ensuring that all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantee of both freedom of religion and freedom from religion, to which they and all Americans are entitled.”

Not only does Lt. Col. Michael Kersten have the right to freedom of religion, but he may express it as well as defined by the constitution.  He clearly conveyed that his PERSONAL decisions are based upon the christian faith, and the keeper of the faith Jesus Christ, which many consider are moral teachings to apply to their lifes.

Your problem is that he voiced this when asked a personal interview question – you are trying to implicate by words, not actions that his personal beliefs will compromise his position, which is appalling to put a label on something you don’t understand, nor exists any credence to your arguements. 

If we all thought the same as you and your associates, the MRFF by implication of words and deeds would reflect that it is not an objective organization in regards to fundmental rights and the exercise there of when it comes to Christianity.  Stiffling dissent from your world view through an atheistic lens will not change the law in your favor, nor will it change his conscious beliefs. 

The UCMJ is in place.  They don’t need your assistance in mitigating military matters.  

Response From a MRFF Ally

(name withheld), thanks for the e-mail and questions.  I routinely answer questions for the MRFF and I’d like to try my hand at answering yours.  Let me be clear here.  The MRFF has no objection to Christianity or Lt Col Kersten’s right to practice his religion as he sees fit OUTSIDE of the workplace.  While he’s on duty, though, the rules change–something that has basis in our Constitution and has long been upheld by our courts–in order to preserve good morale and discipline, unit cohesion, and assure all soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines that they will be treated fairly and evaluated based upon their accomplishment of the mission.  Please try to follow along as I explain.

The most important point you bring up is the following:  “you are trying to implicate by words, not actions that his personal beliefs will compromise his position”

What you may not understand here is that, in the workplace, especially in the hierarchical society of the military, words ARE actions.  Let’s look at a paint-by-numbers example.  What would you think if your boss came into work one day and said, “I can’t believe that ANYONE would ever vote for Hillary (or Trump).  Anyone that’s even pondering this is an idiot and should just leave the US.”  Now, suppose you’re a Hillary (or Trump) supporter and you have a bumper sticker on your car and your boss knows what your car looks like.

(name withheld), do you think you might have SOME fear that your boss might not treat you fairly even though he’s only used words?

Now, let’s just postulate (that means ‘pretend’) that you’re an atheist (or Muslim, or Sikh, or Buddhist–but not a Christian) and you show up to work tomorrow and there’s a new boss in town.  That boss says, and even has a poster in her office supporting her position, that “Jesus is the only path to an honorably life and (Christian) God Bless America–we should be a Christian-only nation!”

How would you feel, (name withheld)?  Just words?  What if you were black and she posted a KKK poster on her wall.  They’re just words on paper, right?

What if your boss was Muslim and you were Christian and in an interview with the corporate or base newspaper, he said, “Enshallah, I shall depend on Allah alone to make my decisions and to guide my leadership.  He has never let me down before!  I hope that all of my employees can eventually find peace in Islam!”

Wow, my guess is you’d be calling either the FBI or the ACLU–or, if you were in the military, the MRFF to help you.

We’re not about “stiffling” [sic] dissent.  We’re about allowing everyone to believe as they want to believe ALL of the time and to allow everyone to PRACTICE what they believe in a manner that doesn’t negatively impact the operation of the strongest military force the world has ever seen.  We don’t want to change his beliefs.  We want to change his actions AND words in the workplace so that all of his subordinates feel like they will be treated with respect and not live in fear of being judged for their private beliefs. 

If you think that’s too much to ask, the I suggest that it’s you that needs to find an enclave or theocracy with people that believe exactly and ONLY as you do.

Good luck with that!  A time machine back to the 7th Century CE and all the luxury that era affords might do the trick. (Senior Active Duty USAF Officer)

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