About your mission statement

I just read your mission statement, have some questions.
 
  • Should any degree of religiousness be tolerated in the military and if so please give examples of acceptable conduct in your view?
  • Would you support banning all displays of religion such as public meeting, public prayer, sharing of one’s faith with co-workers if invited, etc. for all religions?
  • What constitutes “forwarding a religion” in your definition? 
  • How does the military now forward a religion and which religion is that?
  • How exactly are servicemen “compelled” to conform to a religion?
  • How exactly are servicemen “compelled” to witness or engage in religious exercise?
  • Isn’t is inconsistent to first state you don’t want any religiosity but then to say you don’t want to curtail anyone’s right to freely exercise his religious practices or beliefs?
Looking forward to your reply.
 
Thank you!
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member, John Compere, Brigadier General, Judge Advocate General’s Corp, U.S. Army (Retired), diaable American veteran (Viet Nam)

Thank you for your inquiry. Attached is a rational explanation in plain language of the factual, historical and lawful relationship between our Constitution, any religion and the military. Hopefully, you will find it informative.
 
John Compere
Brigadier General, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, US Army (Retired), disabled American veteran (Vietnam), MRFF Advisory Board Member

OUR CONSTITUTION, ANY RELIGION & THE MILITARY

 

The mission of the military is to defend our diverse nation against its enemies – not promote a religion. The sworn military service oath is to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States…and bear true faith and allegiance to the same” – not to any religion or its writings. The Constitution 1st Amendment expressly prohibits our secular government or its representatives (which includes the military) from “respecting”  a religion. Religion is private, military service and pay are public. Military personnel may privately practice a religion or no religion, but they may not lawfully use their military service, office or position to publicly promote private religious beliefs or impose them on fellow military members.

 

Those who disrespect, disregard or deny our Constitution and their sworn service oath subject themselves to disciplinary action. Additionally, a Constitution 101 class and briefing on the legal significance of their sworn oath needs to be mandatory. Those who choose not to support and defend our Constitution or honor their sworn oath have the right to seek a career in the civilian sector for private pay. This problem does not occur when military leadership demonstrates intelligence, integrity and loyalty to the military mission and oath.

 

The United States Constitution 1st Amendment provides, respectively, 3 basic religious liberties for all Americans:

 

Freedom from religion – our secular government is prevented from “respecting ” an establishment of religion (supporting, favoring, endorsing or promoting any religion). It is the right of all Americans to be free from  religion imposed by the government or its representatives.

 

Freedom of religion – our secular government is prevented from “prohibiting”  free exercise of religion. It is the right of all Americans to privately practice any religion or no religion provided it does not violate the rights of other Americans. It does not include the right of the government or its representatives to impose religion on Americans.

 

Freedom to speak about religion – our secular government is prevented from “abridging”  freedom of speech. It is the right of all Americans to speak publicly about religion provided it does not violate the rights of other Americans. It does not include the right of the government or its representatives to impose religion (including religious speech) on Americans.

 

There should be no misunderstanding about the operative verbs of these first 3 clauses of the 1st Amendment. All one has to do is first read them and then look up the definition of “respecting ”, “prohibiting ” or “abridging ” in any American dictionary.

 

Historic separation of church and state is a fundamental liberty of free people that keeps private religion out of public government and public government out of private religion. It is clearly the intent of our Founders as confirmed by the Constitution and its 1st Amendment, indisputably documented by countless public records over 3 centuries, publicly acknowledged by every American President since Thomas Jefferson, continuously confirmed by our US Supreme Court, and permanently embedded in the established law of our land. The Constitution pointedly provides “no religious test ” shall ever be required as a qualification to any public office or public trust (Article VI). These are inconvenient truths history deniers and revisionists intentionally ignore and deceitfully dispute.

 

Simply stated, we Americans have the right to our own private religious or non-religious beliefs, but we must respect the right of others to determine and enjoy their beliefs (the same right we demand for ourselves). This is a timeless universal principle known as the “GOLDEN RULE” and even commanded by Jesus in every New Testament version (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31). The obsession of self-righteous religionists to publicly force their private religious beliefs on others without extending them this basic human right exhibits the height of hypocrisy, violates all moral teaching and creates continuous civil conflict.

 

Founder and 3rd President Thomas Jefferson penned the classic public confirmation – “Believing…religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God…legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion’…thus building a wall of separation between church and state.” (Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress, January 1, 1802).

 

The late Republican President Ronald Reagan acknowledged, accepted and applauded this critical Constitutional liberty in a public speech – “We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate.” (Valley Stream, New York, October 26, 1984).

 

Christian evangelist Billy Graham in a 1985 sermon at Washington National Cathedral praised constitutional separation of church and state – “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.

 

Unfortunately, the wisdom of the late American humorist Will Rogers is too often applicable these days – “There is no argument in the world that carries the hatred that a religious belief one does.” (“The Best of Will Rogers – A Collection of Rogers’ Wit & Wisdom Astonishingly Relevant for Today’s World”, Bryan Sterling, M. Evans & Company, 1979, page 193).


John Compere

Brigadier General, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, US Army (Retired); former Chief Judge, US Army Court of Military Review; disabled American veteran (Vietnam); Military Religious Freedom Foundation Advisory Board Member; and Texas rancher.


Response by MRFF Advisory Board Member Joan Slish

Dear (name withheld),

Are you (name withheld) or (name withheld).?

Why in the world would you contact the Military Religious Freedom Foundation if you dislike social justice warriors so much?

We the people ask the federal government to Call on Congress to act on an issue:
Ban SJWs from voicing their hateful rhetoric in public

Created by T.J. on October 27, 2016

As a conservative I’m deeply offended by many of the baseless comments that social justice warriors spew in the media, including petitions like limiting speech that offends them. I am offended by them and want them stopped because my safe space just isn’t big enough to keep them all out 🙂

Your petition to Congress only has one signature so far. Is that you?

Seeing as you’re asking the federal government to help soothe your feelings, here are the federal government laws on religious neutrality in any government entity that you obviously are not aware of.

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,
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 elevate and promote the Christian God above all others is in violation of the Constitution (Establishment Clause), Reynolds v. U.S., Lemon v. Kurtzman, the Lemon Test, Parker v. Levy and AFI 1-1, Section 2.12.

 

In the context of these laws, go back and read our Mission Statement and it should be self-explanatory.

 

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

 

If are offended by our laws I suggest you crawl back into your safe space.

 

Joan Slish


John I appreciate your reply and further clarification of your views. I also received a reply from Joan Slish which was honestly far more hostile. I wanted to respond to both messages so I have copied your attachment and added my comments in red letter and did the same for Joan’s. Thanks again for your time.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein
…hey there, sport…..seems you can dish it out pretty easily but you can’t take it, eh, bro?…..next time you ask us some “questions”, maybe remove the idiotic, transparent and disingenuous snark from your ignorant and specious queries and maybe you’ll be treated the same way you treat others……come to think of it, didn’t Jesus talk about that Golden Rule thing in His Sermon on the Mount?!……..Mikey Weinstein…..

Gee Mikey, that’s the best you got? Seriously, no replies to my legitimate questions? It’s okay, I understand. By the way, I fully expect you to treat me how I treat you. With facts and real examples, in between sarcastic digs.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein
….”The best (I) got” is reserved for those with the maturity, education, open-mindedness and intelligence NOT to start off an interchange with the low-road, pedestrian, slanted bullshit YOU, did, l’il creampuff……on your way now….hey, aren’t late for a book burning or two??
Mikey Weinstein

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