I Believe in Religious Freedom

I believe in religious freedom. I also believe every person has the right to practice their faith in both public and private venues. If a soldier governs his life according to scripture and lives his public and private life according to the law if God, who are you to tell him he cannot do that. Frankly it’s only Christians you go after. Separation of church and state only goes to the formation of a state church, like the Church of England or the Swedish Lutheran church. It does not say that people cannot practice their faith in public. It does not say a person of religion must hide his faith as to not offend-atheists.  No one is forcing faith on anyone, they are simply telling them about who and why Christ came for the whole world. If the soldier accepts Christ that’s ok. If not that’s ok. Nothing in the constitution ever guaranteed a freedom from religion ever!

(name withheld)

Response by MRFF Founder and President, Mikey Weinstein

Dear (name withheld),

Everything you say would be completely fine were it not for one small problem; we live in a country called the United States of America which is governed with a Constitution that explicitly separates church and state… We also have Pentagon regulations and Supreme Court decisions which make it very clear that members of the military do NOT enjoy the same degree of freedom of speech/religious expression that there civilian counterparts enjoy… perhaps do a little more homework before you send emails expressing such naïveté and ignorance… not withstanding the foregoing, Thank you for taking the time to reach out… Mikey Weinstein, Founder and President, Military Religious Freedom Foundation


I would agree however the constitution does not have a separation of Church and state anywhere except in the clause that says the government of the US cannot create a state church. It has nothing to do with a persons practice of their Religion in public or in government jobs. This separation of church and state has been taken so far away from the intent of what was written. The constitution only stops the government from creation of a church, in that it never stopped anyone’s freedom to practice it any place they want.

(name withheld)

Response by MRFF Founder and President, Mikey Weinstein

I am sorry but I do not have too much more time to spend with you… Your hubcaps completely 100% wrong… I am a constitutional lawyer and I presume you are not?… There are literally decades of decisions showing where our Supreme Court clearly outlines an absolute separation of church and state in this country… Please see lemon versus Kurtzman and, for the military, Parker versus Levy…to Name just  a few……I don’t mean any personal offense, but you literally do not have any idea what you’re talking about…

Mikey Weinstein


I’m not a lawyer, however I have studied the constitution and unfortunately the Supreme Court has become corrupted by political influences left and right. I guess it’s impossible to not have that happened. However if you go by the intent of the constitution it was never intended to block the practice of religion by anyoneanywhere. It was only to keep government from being involved in religion. You want to suggest that people in the military cannot practice their faith. This would say that religious freedom is limited because someone might be offended. Well don’t look or listen. The problem is this then gets expanded to everything else, Hillary suggests churches should be required to change their position on abortion by government decree. So separation of church and state  under you understanding goes only one way?  Sometimes the rights of the individual cannot interfere with the rights of other either. No one holds a gun to military personal to go to Christian events, and if they don’t want to listen they can walk away. So stopping the Religions who all use their chaplains to recruit or bring people to their faith should be able to practice their faith. It’s just your organization is angry because the Christians are better at it than others.

(name withheld)

Response by Special Assistant to the President of MRFF Blake Page

Dear (name withheld),

You’ve said that government shouldn’t be in the religion business.  I agree. Our military is a part of our government.  Of course there’s nothing wrong with members of the military expressing their beliefs, as individuals. The problem arises when they use rank, positions of authority, or government resources to promote religion.

A chaplain’s job is not to recruit people to any religion. If it were, that would be a brazen example of the government getting involved in religion.  Chaplains, after all, are a part of our government.

I haven’t heard anything from the Hilary campaign about forcibly changing churches views on abortion.  For one that’s impossible.  Second, it is likely that she said we need to change those views because they are objectively harmful to our population in dozens of ways.

Hope this helps,

Blake A Page
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Special Assistant to the President
Director of US Army Affairs

Look at her speech to women’s summit. She clearly states that the beliefs of the church on abortion must be changed through law. Hillary also has said that such changes must be made in the church concerning LGBT issues.

By the way what is it that everyone is afraid of if they hear someone pray? Are people afraid they might be converted? I really don’t get it. I hear things out of people’s mouths every day, however they have the right to be fowl and vulgar, just like I have the right to pray in public.
(name withheld)

Response by Special Assistant to the President of MRFF Blake Page
Dear (name withheld),

Church views on abortion really aren’t something I know much about. So I’ll have to take a pass on discussing that business.

On the prayer issue though, there is no fear of hearing prayer. No fear of being converted either. The reason that people like myself fight against entanglement of church and state is historic. The first step in starting a religious war is to raise up a religious army. The first step in taking away religious liberty is giving one religion liberties above all others.  I’m not interested in interfering with anyone’s  personal beliefs.  It’s the use of the state as an extension of religion that I object to. Rhetoric has consequences, and when leaders like, Jerry Boykin for example, use state appointed authority to tell the world that the United States is fighting against Islam for Christianity, it inspires terrorism.  It also produces a narrative that’s patently false and endangers the liberties of our compatriots at home.  There are countless subtler examples than Boykin of course, but the degree of the offenses don’t change the nature.

I respect any person’s right to practice any religion peacefully, but only up to the point that their religious practice begins to take away the rights of others. I’m sure you would agree with that at least.

Blake Page

I don’t think as a nation we should put one religion over another as a government and I don’t believe the war in Islamic terror is religious, it’s simply because their belief of jihad in radical Islam promotes terror even among Muslims who don’t agree with their beliefs. Muslims as a whole aren’t the issue it’s just those who use the religion to commit murder. Those people we need to wipe out. Forced religion does not work. If Christians anywhere are using any kind of coerce to make people com to Christ they are no better than Muslims who do it. There are groups in the US guilty of terrorism like the Baptist church inMissouri.

(name withheld)

Response by Special Assistant to the President of MRFF Blake Page
Dear (name withheld),

Excellent. Then we agree on all points of principle!

Blake Page

Response by MRFF Advisory Board Member Joan Slish
Dear (name withheld),
Mikey has forwarded to me your correspondence with him and asked me to respond.
Contrary to what you may have heard we are not trying to take religion out of the military. There are laws regarding religious neutrality in any government entity and that includes the military.
We are not stopping anyone from going to Chapel because that is the time, place and manner whereby our soldiers are free to practice their faith under our laws.

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 47,300+ soldier clients are mainline Christians and we fight for them more than any other belief or non-belief.


Check out our mission statement to get to know us better instead of the lies you hear:



Check out the honorable and distinguished military personnel whom we rely on for their expertise on religious neutrality in the military:



The reason it seems we are picking on Christians (not all Christians, just the Christian Dominionists) is because it is the ONLY religion that oversteps the laws mentioned below and practices in-your-face proselytizing to the mainline Christians who are not “Christian enough” or “the right kind of Christian.”


In 2005, Major Chaplain James Linzey said on a video “Remember, the demons believe in Jesus Christ. They believe in the truth — see that’s Jesus Christ — and they tremble… They are as scared as little tiny mice running up and down the curtains in the cathedrals. Now, they’re in the cathedrals. They’re in the churches. They’re controlling pulpits. That’s how mainstream Protestantism has declined. Because they invaded the churches, and the mainstream Protestant churches stopped hearing the truth. So they want to squelch the truth by taking over the church. Now, this is not in my notes, but I was inspired by God because these are demonic, dastardly creatures from the pit of hell, and we need to stomp them out.”


Mainline Christians including Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodist, etc. should be stomped out in favor of the Dominionist sect of Christianity (which has hijacked our military all the way to the Pentagon).


If you were a mainline Christian would you like to be told this?


I see you are an “original intent” follower so how about this one:


Article 1, Section 8, Clause 12:

“To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years.”


Two years for the armies and the only other military that was intended to be permanent was the Navy:


Clause 13:

“To provide and maintain a Navy”


Do you want to go back to the original intent of our military and only keep the Navy? Of course, you don’t. Laws have been passed to expand our military capability since these clauses and are vital to our safety.


You don’t get to pick and choose which laws that are in effect today you want to accept.


Separation of Church and State is also freedom FROM religion.
Here’s the backdrop for the First Amendment of the Constitution. This is a brief summary and I suggest you research the historical facts listed here.
When Virginia was founded it established the Anglican Church as the state’s official religion based on the state sponsored Church of England. In order to hold any official position in the Virginia government you must be a member of the Anglican Church.
All citizens of Virginia, regardless of their religious affiliation, had to pay taxes to support the Anglican churches throughout the state. The Quakers, Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists fought this by petitions but were ignored.
Jefferson felt that to make anyone pay a tax to support the Anglican Church or any church was wrong and in 1777 penned the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. After becoming Governor of Virginia in 1779, he brought the bill – known as Bill No. 82 – before the Virginia Assembly. It didn’t become law until 1785.
The following paragraph from the Virginia Statute is the basis for the First Amendment. It didn’t need this whole paragraph written out in the amendment because the people of that time understood what it meant.
“We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”
This bill gave the people freedom FROM religion in all aspects of their lives. No longer were they forced to attend religious services, pay taxes to the state to fund the state sanctioned religion or kept from holding a job in the government.
Jefferson wrote the Statute of Religious Freedom, whose preamble indicted state religion, noting that “false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time” have been maintained through the church-state. To “compell a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.”
In his Notes on Virginia (1782), Jefferson wrote: “Millions of innocent men, women and children since the introduction of Christianity have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned. Yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. . .”
Even in boot camp the soldiers have freedom from religion by not having to attend church but their punishment for staying away is cleaning their barracks. Once they pass basic the rules change.
Our soldiers cannot follow your directions to “don’t look or listen” in a mandatory event. If they do they are singled out for harassment, given poor performance ratings, advancements withheld and some are forced out of the military on trumped up charges.
You are not privy to the emails we receive concerning the abuse these soldiers take on a daily basis so you are not free to tell them what to do.
As retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra day O’Connor said “We don’t count heads before enforcing the First Amendment.”
In other words, the majority religion does not give them special privileges to rule or force themselves on other people.
The Treaty of Tripoli was signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796.It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797, and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797; a mere 8 years since our Constitution went into effect. If what was written was wrong in anyway, there would have been uproar. But, it passed unanimously and confirmed that America was not founded on Christianity.
Treaty of Tripoli: As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
The Constitution reflects our founder’s views of a secular government protecting the freedom of any belief or unbelief. 
The historian, Robert Middlekauff, observed, “The idea that the Constitution expressed a moral view seems absurd. There were no genuine evangelicals in the Convention, and there were no heated declarations of Christian piety.” 
“The Salem witchcraft was the rock on which the theocracy shattered”. George Lincoln Burr (1857 – 1938), Professor of History and Librarian at Cornell University
“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

“History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”

Thomas Jefferson: in letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813

“The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” 1787-1788
“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789
Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

“The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
James Madison, 1819, Writings, 8:432, quoted from Gene Garman, “Essays In Addition to America’s Real Religion”

“Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.” 

James Madison; Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations, Ecclesiastical Endowments


“God has appointed two kinds of government in the world, which are distinct in their nature, and ought never to be confounded together; one of which is called civil, the other ecclesiastical government.”
Isaac Backus, An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty, 1773
“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.

What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.”

James Madison 1785 Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments

“Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”

As Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom


The Unites States is not a theocracy and according to our Founding Fathers the Constitution is not based on Christianity or biblical law.


As defenders of the Constitution we fight for the separation of church and state.


“…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,
. 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 Christian god above all others is in violation of the Constitution, Reynolds v. U.S., Lemon v. Kurtzman, the Lemon Test, Parker v. Levy and AFI 1-1, Section 2.12.


The time for “don’t look or listen” and “suck it up” where Christian dominance is concerned, is over. 


When the military oversteps the laws in effect concerning religious neutrality, we step in to protect ALL soldiers’ religious freedoms.


Joan Slish

MRFF Advisory Board Member

Dear Joan,
Yes I know of the Viginia laws however those laws had to be removed when the constitution was agreed on.  And there are laws on the books today that are there but not followed, for example: iInMinnesota and Wisconsin it is a felony to posess, sell or consume margirine. Now the intent of the law was to protect dairy farmers. It obviously came to an end by natural causes. Also most states still make it a felony to commit adultry. No one enforces it. Like I sent Mike an email what I understood from your video and some of your on line material, that your organization was trying to take Christianity completely out of the military. As far as the military goes I’m one who thinks with our role we where saddled with after WWII we need a larger military than we have now.
As far as the message of Chsplain Linzey goes, I think he is out of line. Reminds me of the out of control group at the Baptist church in MO. I deal with them at military funerals all the time. Like I said to Mike I don’t believe forced or use of manipulation to get people to accept Christ is right. First of all Christ has to be calling a person to be saved before they can be saved. Not all people are being called. Some it comes at different times in their life, we can only plant a seed.
I think your organization needs to more clearly mention the title of this group your battling. Make it known right away it’s the Dominionists, it will make misunderstandings less common. My misunderstanding was it seemed your group was saying no one could live their faith and talk at all about Christ in the military. I believe in one on one personal relationship type of evangelism and discipleship. People are more receptive to Gods word through someone who has a vested relationship with them. Never liked large group evangelism.
(name withheld)

Response by MRFF Advisory Board Member Joan Slish
Dear (name withheld),
As a retired Pastor, I agree with you in a one-on-one personal relationship and discipleship. I also do not like group evangelism especially if it is being forced on someone.
The emails we receive from the mainline Christians would break your heart.
We do mention the term Dominionists Christians but the media most of the time takes out the word Dominionists to make it seem that we are after all Christians. If that were so, there would be a mass exodus of us Christians from MRFF.
I’m glad I was able to help you see that we are neither an atheist organization nor anti-Christian. 
May God bless your socks off!

 Response by MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

Hi (name withheld),

We too believe in religious freedom. However, to maintain the separation of church and state it is important that no one in the government promote or appear to promote one belief system over others. To do that violates our government’s policy of ensuring everyone’s religious (or non-religious) freedom. No one here opposes the appropriate expression of religious belief, but because the military is part of our government there are regulations covering what and when religious expression is appropriate. It’s a question of time, place and manner.

We oppose proselytizing on the part of any belief or non-belief system. The reason you appear to believe we only “go after” Christians is because it happens that there are too many instances of fervent Christian belief moving someone to cross the line. As long as one’s faith is professed in the appropriate time, place and manner, we have no problem with it.

I hope that helps you better understand the situation.


Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)

 Response by MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
Ah,(name withheld),

I see that you have had a series of exchanges with Mr. Weinstein. And it appears you remain unsatisfied. I’m sorry about that.

If it is your position that the Supreme Court “has become corrupted by political influences left and right” and that you have a better understanding

of the intent of the drafters of the Constitution I’m afraid there’s probably no way we can satisfy you.

We choose to abide by the law as it has been interpreted and refined and we insist that members of the military do the same.

You clearly have a political view that is inconsistent with current law and that is unfortunate, but there’s nothing we can do to help you with that. No one here is suggesting any “person of religion must hide his faith as to not offend-atheists.” Our position is simply that everyone has the right to her or his own belief (or non-belief) system and no one can impose his/her belief on others.

Sorry you have a problem with that.


Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


















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1 Comment

  1. Matt Kaegi

    Religious freedom has its limits at the other person’s religious freedom. No-one must be forced to join a faith or a religious group. However, there is a tendency in today’s western societies, to overemphasize the feeling of being offended. It goes along with a surge of narcissism, which claims that whenever I feel somehow bad, someone else is to be blamed for it. Narcissism is a hypersensitivity to the feeling of being hurt. This is can unhealthy development. In the realm of religious freedom, it leads to a ban of religious expression in the public sphere – see France as a stark example. This creates new problems, such as extremism.
    I can understand MRFF’s concern about such strong statements as colonel Kersten’s, if it was made for a public audience. However, MRFF’s reaction, demanding a public apology or more, seems to me disproportionate. The fact that some soldiers might fear being regarded less than others, is not enough to take measures against the colonel. Here is narcissism. No one has been harmed, but the fear of being harmed is overemphasized.
    Laws cannot conclusively regulate religious freedom. The limits between active and passive freedom must always be negotiated and laws interpreted. However, as a Christian myself, I am concerned that western society is moving too far into a direction where negotiation is given up on the altar of narcissism, where any expression of faith is considered an offense – unless it is an expression of secularism.

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