Religious Influence

I don’t think that having a Bible in the nightstand or table next to you is in any way any kind of influence. Placing a Bible from any religion in the nightstand drawer in your hospital or motel room is indeed a welcome sight. Instead of banning their placement, invite all religions to do the same. I am interested in all religious views but am not religious. I consider myself spiritual and in tune with the planet and all it has to offer as well as ALL universes and all they contain. Don’t take away any religious view from anyone who might be interested or need guidance from any text. If other religions don’t like the Christian Bible being there, they should place their own text the same as the guidians. I do not hold with the King James Bible but it is good to know some form of spiritual guidance is there. If the Koran or Torah or voodoo bible was there I might turn to it as well.
Don’t try to think for me. I am perfectly capable of figuring out what I want to believe in.

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Joan Slish

Dear (name withheld),

We couldn’t agree with you more.

 

Many times we have told those in the military that if they wanted one religious book on display they must put the books of other religions there, also.

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. They would rather scream religious persecution than allow others to be recognized.

 

How a private, non-government hotel wants to handle the Gideon bibles being in their nightstands is of no consequence to us.

 

We are not telling you what to think or what to believe in because we support those who want to follow their own faith or no faith.

 

Our mission is to protect the religious freedom of all religions in the military without in-your-face, hateful, judgmental rhetoric.

 

We have more in common than you thought.

 

Joan Slish

MRFF Advisory Board Member


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

Hi (name withheld),

I’m happy to hear you’re capable of figuring out your own belief system, but what you suggest as an alternative to Bibles in motels or hospital rooms would require a couple of bookcases in each, a problem of space at a minimum.

Aside from that, which is an issue for hospital managers and motel owners to deal with, you miss the point of our position. In fact, you seem to miss our position entirely. The MRFF is dedicated to the protection of the religious freedom of the women and men in the military. Given the constitutionally-based separation of church and state, government entities, of which the military is one, may not promote one religion or religious or non-religious belief system over another. That being so, in military installations, including hospitals, V.A. facilities, etc., there should be no placement of religious artifacts that, by definition, promote one belief system over others.

If an individual chooses to bring her or his personal religious book or other object, that’s fine, but the institution should not put itself in the position, nor should it allow itself to be put in the position, of promoting, promulgating or proselytizing one belief system.

I trust you understand.

Best,

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 I am sorry you missed the intent of my email. The main point I should have spelled out is that when I lay dying on a stretcher in terrible pain from metal shards, hot and very deafeningly loud when they come at you, I was grateful to have something that made me feel confident and relieved not far from my side because there were too many soldiers in my condition or worse for any person to come to me themselves. That book (I don’t even remember what it was but it was spiritual) made me feel safe. That cross on the wall (And I do not like crosses much at all) meant there was an afterlife to someone and at that point in time I really needed to believe that.
     Are you democratic ? Or do you believe the good of the one outweighs the needs of the many? Three quarters of the world believes in a one God system. There are 1.2 billion Catholics and believe me, I am no Catholic. I do however respect each person’s right to worship as long as they don’t force their beliefs on me. I feel that at my moment of need, that book could have been the Satanic bible and it would not have mattered because I am strong enough in my belief that it doesn’t matter what symbol I walk in front of, I still believe the way I want to. It symbols bother you so much then we need to also get rid of the Statue of Liberty, remove every statue in DC and in every city and state because that person the statue may have believed in something I am against.
     Start where you are then where will you stop? You won’t. Because people like you are so lacking in their own confidence and spiritual health you will constantly be put off by just about anything. When have removed all sign of any religion and people who were once drawn to or connected with them no longer will be influenced by them might meet you sometime and the reminder that they believed in something good once is not there to remind them not to rob and kill you.
     If that is okay with you then take a vote and let the people decide as a whole what should be done. Would you stand by that? Or do the needs of the one actually outweigh the needs of the few?
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

You apparently insist on misunderstanding. I’m not quite sure why.

I’m sorry you suffered as you did and I wish there had been a chaplain nearby. Nurses, doctors and/or corpsmen can also be calming influences.

We have no problem with symbols, so your example of the statue of liberty is silly. We don’t object to religious symbols or paraphernalia in civilian life. What we object to is government authorities violating the separation of church and state. It’s as simple as that.

If you have trouble comprehending that, I’m sorry.

What you think is an argument for democracy fails the test. If the Bill of Rights were put to the popular vote they might well not survive. Would that benefit our country and the people in it?

We don’t object to a belief in God, nor do we object to religious devotion. We don’t have a problem with someone believing any form of Christianity, atheism, Hindu, Islam or Wiccan. It’s not about that. It’s exactly the opposite. We don’t want people in authority forcing their belief system on those beneath them, intentionally or otherwise. We support everyone’s right to believe as he or she chooses. That is a fundamental principal of our nation and the way in which it is protected is by the conscientious separation of church and state, which happen to be required both by law and by military regulations.

No one here is trying to think for you. You’re welcome to your thoughts, just as you’re welcome to believing as you choose. That is what we are working to protect.

Again, I’m sorry that that somehow escapes your understanding.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 Well, I understand that you have no idea about combat and military service. No authority ever forced their opinion about religion on me. They forced a lot of other things on me, none too pleasant.
     When your entire squad is dead or dying and you are left to kill the “bad guy” by yourself, there is no time to comfort anyone until that conflict is over if you are capable and I was not. You get to hear your best friends dying (The best friends you will ever have no matter how long you live and who you meet). To be unable to get to them is a guilt I will have to carry the rest of my life. I refuse to leave anyone else in need alone ever again.
     I know I don’t force my beliefs on anyone because, whether you feel Jesus, not his real name, was a Savior or a Profit, he still said never call anyone a fool. He meant to never cut someone down for their beliefs and I never will. I do not like the KJV bible but I will fight whoever tries to tell that person that he/she is wrong themselves for believing in it.
     Now for your concern. You think it is wrong for a court house to place a cross on the building or attach a carved plate with the 10 Commandments on it.  Are you so weak in your beliefs that you can’t pass one of these without it somehow bothering you. I walk or drive past buildings that I have no idea what they are with different symbols on each. You don’t want these symbols on them. Where does it stop? People also wear these symbols on themselves . Do you stop before you remove those because they rub you the wrong way or are you controlled enough to allow these people their beliefs .
     Let me tell you where you you are leading society. When those symbols of love and order and how people with good common sense live are no longer there. Lawlessness, non- (empathy, sympathy) will grow until noone cares about anyone else because no matter if it’s Catholicism or Satanism the rules keep that patron under a guideline of how to conduct themselves without treading over another’s feet or beliefs. I hate to think of a world without them. There is nothing wrong with believing in a deity that keeps us loving others, I don’t care what they call it. If that cross on the government wall affects you so badly, look away, shut up, and let others live. I don’t know what you are into but if there’s a symbol for that nail it up there. I’m grown and I know how to ignore what doesn’t fit my lifestyle.
     Just keep asking, where do I go from here? What do I dislike now that since I don’t like it no one else should either. As for biblical symbols on the courthouse walls, that is a slap in the face to my own integrity because they use less and less of those teachings adding more of their own that are actually unconstitutional if you pushed and read the legalese that goes with these new laws. Unless it affects me directly then I leave it alone and the first time someone tries to tear down my flag because it represents the way this country is and not how it should be, they have pissed off the wrong guy. My best friends died under that flag. Look where no prayer in school has gotten us. School is now a quagmire of hate and declining education standards. You can’t make someone learn if they have no sense of decency or care. Because people like you said it doesn’t belong here, they don’t even say the pledge of allegiance anymore and football heroes won’t even stand for the anthem. I hate a lot of the history of this country but if I not reminded of it then I am doomed to repeat it.
     If you’re atheist put a big A wherever you want it. It won’t bother me.
(name withheld)

It’s become quite clear that you have no idea what we’re about but you have nonetheless chosen to take umbrage at what you’ve decided to think we are about. Though it’s hardly worth the time, I’ve tried to unscramble your confusion by inserting some clarifying information into your most recent harangue. My responses are, as you’ll not, in red.

Well, I understand that you have no idea about combat and military service. Sorry, wrong. I was in the Marines. Fortunately for me, I didn’t see combat as I was in between Korea and Vietnam.

 

No authority ever forced their opinion about religion on me. Good. They forced a lot of other things on me, none too pleasant. I’m sure.

 

When your entire squad is dead or dying and you are left to kill the “bad guy” by yourself, there is no time to comfort anyone until that conflict is over if you are capable and I was not. You get to hear your best friends dying (The best friends you will ever have no matter how long you live and who you meet). To be unable to get to them is a guilt I will have to carry the rest of my life. I refuse to leave anyone else in need alone ever again. I’m sorry you had to experience that. And I’m sorry about your friends. I understand what is known as “survivor’s guilt” and I know others who have to deal with it. But it’s not your fault that you survived.

 

I know I don’t force my beliefs on anyone because, whether you feel Jesus, not his real name, was a Savior or a Profit, he still said never call anyone a fool. He meant to never cut someone down for their beliefs and I never will. I do not like the KJV bible but I will fight whoever tries to tell that person that he/she is wrong themselves for believing in it. Fine. We’re with you in supporting the right of people to believe as they choose. That’s why the MRFF was formed.

 

Now for your concern. You think it is wrong for a court house to place a cross on the building or attach a carved plate with the 10 Commandments on it.  We oppose it because it against the law. It imposes a belief system by a governmental authority and therefore violates the constitutionally based separation of church and state. Are you so weak in your beliefs that you can’t pass one of these without it somehow bothering you. Our individual beliefs are our own and we honor them just as we honor the beliefs of everyone else. Our opposition to the imposition of a faith by the government, even if it happens to be a belief many of us share, is that it violates both the law and military regulations. I walk or drive past buildings that I have no idea what they are with different symbols on each. Fine. You don’t want these symbols on them. What are you talking about? What makes you think we “don’t want these symbols on them”? Where do you get these ideas? Our only objection to what you describe as “buildings” would be if they were government buildings. If they are privately owned buildings or religious edifices we’d have no problem with it. Why should we? Where does it stop? How hard is it for you to get it into your head? It stops at the line between government and non-government. People also wear these symbols on themselves . That’s their privilege. Why would we oppose that? Do you stop before you remove those because they rub you the wrong way or are you controlled enough to allow these people their beliefs. I’m having a tough time with this. I don’t think you’re an idiot, but why do you make these foolish assumptions and ask these silly questions?

 

Let me tell you where you you are leading society. You are wrong in your assumption. When those symbols of love and order and how people with good common sense live are no longer there. No one here opposes symbols of “love and order.” You are building a case against something that does not apply to the MRFF and accusing us of something we are not doing and have no interest in doing. Lawlessness, non- (empathy, sympathy) will grow until noone cares about anyone else because no matter if it’s Catholicism or Satanism the rules keep that patron under a guideline of how to conduct themselves without treading over another’s feet or beliefs. None of that applies to the MRFF. I hate to think of a world without them. We would not be in favor of a world without them either. And nothing we are doing will lead to that. Quite the contrary. There is nothing wrong with believing in a deity that keeps us loving others, I don’t care what they call it. Of course not. If that cross on the government wall affects you so badly, look away, shut up, and let others live. Why would that cross be on a government wall? The Founders of this country wanted to protect everyone’s right to believe as she or he chose, so they specifically ruled out associating the artifacts or symbols of one belief system with the government. That would, they felt, imply superiority of one faith over others and a government that honored everyone’s right should not do that. Is that so hard for you to understand? I don’t know what you are into but if there’s a symbol for that nail it up there. There is more than a symbol for it. There’s a document called the U.S. Constitution. There is a body of U.S. law. There are military regulations specifically drawn to state that one’s belief system is one’s own and no individual government employee, when acting in an official capacity, may promote or impose his or her belief system on others. I’m grown and I know how to ignore what doesn’t fit my lifestyle. Good for you.

Just keep asking, where do I go from here? Where you seem to go is n circles. You insist that we are doing things we are not doing. You insist we oppose things we do not oppose. You continue to ignore the difference between one’s private belief, which we protect, and one using his position or authority to impose his belief on others. What do I dislike now that since I don’t like it no one else should either. What does that even mean? As for biblical symbols on the courthouse walls, that is a slap in the face to my own integrity because they use less and less of those teachings adding more of their own that are actually unconstitutional if you pushed and read the legalese that goes with these new laws. What?? Which is a slap in the face to your integrity, the “biblical symbols on the courthouse walls” or something else? When you say “they use less and less of those teachings” and then compare them with “their own that are actually unconstitutional…” and something about “legalese that goes with these new laws,” I get that you prefer the biblical symbols to what you evidently feel are badly written or unconstitutional laws.

 

Now we’re getting somewhere. You’d prefer to live in a society ruled by bible quotes rather than the laws of men. Well, see, that’s not the United States of America.

 

Unless it affects me directly then I leave it alone (This sounds like you obey the laws you like and disobey the ones you don’t. That’s sort of anarchy, isn’t it?) and the first time someone tries to tear down my flag because it represents the way this country is and not how it should be, (Aha. Things become more clear. You know how things “should be” and when they aren’t the way you think they “should be,” you do battle.) they have pissed off the wrong guy. My best friends died under that flag. Look where no prayer in school has gotten us. Aha! Even more clear. You’re a prayer in school guy. To whom should the children pray? Christian God, Muslim God, Jewish God? Hindu God? The God of Gods? What if the kid doesn’t believe there is a God? School is now a quagmire of hate and declining education standards. In your opinion. And you suggest this is because kids don’t pray in school? Man, are you a bundle of inconsistencies. Somewhere back along the line you suggested you weren’t religious. Now you want to impose religion on kids. You can’t make someone learn if they have no sense of decency or care. You believe the way one develops decency and the ability to care is by praying? What about Christians who pray and then accuse Jews of being Christ killers? What about Muslims who pray and then attack Hindus? Because people like you said it doesn’t belong here, Man, you are a lulu. We deal with people in the military, not kids in school. they don’t even say the pledge of allegiance anymore Who doesn’t? And even if it were true, which it is not, what does that have with the MRFF? and football heroes won’t even stand for the anthem. What does that have to do with the MRFF? One black football player, as I understand it, refuses to stand for the national anthem, as is his right, as a way to express his protest against racism in this country. If you disagree, tell him. That has nothing to do with our mission. I hate a lot of the history of this country but if I not reminded of it then I am doomed to repeat it. Well said. You’ve just made the football players point for him.

 

If you’re atheist put a big A wherever you want it. What gives you the idea that I’m an atheist? It won’t bother me. Actually, I suspect, as Shakespeare had it, you protest too much. I think a lot of what we do bothers you, which is why you write these long, illogical and incredibly inconsistent diatribes.

As said above, most of what you are bemoaning has nothing to do with the work of the MRFF, which is only interested in protecting the right of every member of the military to believe as he or she chooses without having someone in authority trying to impose a “superior” belief on him or her.

 (name withheld)

Mike Farrel

MRFF Advisory Board Member


 

 

 

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7 Comments

  1. American Patriot

    Joan,
    Have you ever thought that the Christian and Jewish God, which is the only one, is above all others and that God could care less about man’s Constitution. If you are not elevating God above all others, which scripture says there are no other gods beside Him, then you are disobeying the Word of God and need to repent, and may I also suggest that you really consider whether you are really saved or not!!!

  2. G

    What about the various gods of other religions like Hindu and Shinto? What about religions that don’t have Gods like Confucianism, Taoism, Sikh, Buddhism, etc? I suppose you are going to condemn because they have different beliefs? Of course, the answer is yes you will do so.

  3. Mary

    IMO, if someone needs to have a particular religious book in a h/motel, s/he should carry it in the luggage. If a person in crisis feels the need for a particular religious book., then the facility can carry a variety of them alongside the toothbrushes and razors they have available for forgetful guests.

    It doesn’t bother me to see a KJV in the drawer. What bothers me is not having a pad and pen handy for notes I need to make.

    But religion has taught me that I don’t need to be upheld by any religion conceived as a way to control people (all majors in the USA) and certainly not one that expects me to pass the buck to “God” rather than be responsible for my own actions.

    And what is this business of multiple versions of any religious text? It’s either from God or it’s created and re-created to serve the needs of particular men. I’m smart enough to understand that. Either way, bunkum.

  4. Connie

    When I was young I believed the Christian God was all powerful. After all He had us all in his hands, or so I was told in Sunday school.

    Then I matured and learned children in other countries believed their God or Goddesses held the world in their hands. O_o

    I asked – and got into trouble for asking yet another Uncomforable Question – if a deity was all powerful why did they need humans to spread the “Good word”?

    God himself in Genisis says other deities exist. If other deities exist then why is YHVH so jealous? Didn’t he learn sharing in school?

    With no good answers I started exploring the hubris of humans declaring there is only one way to believe even as there are a bamzillion of different flavored churches worshiping supposedly the same god.

    To me it makes no sense. You might as well ask me to divide by zero.

    Much easier is understanding there are as many pathways to The Light / Deity / Enlightenment as there are souls on Earth; however there is only One Way.

    It’s a Möbius Strip of logic and a bit of a paradox. A good puzzle to warm the brain on those long winter nights.

  5. G

    As George Carlin stated God is all powerful, all knowing; yet, he needs money; however, he can’t seem to hand money. Jim Jefferies the Australian comedian state that people will seem to forgive God for anything even if it was bad.

  6. G

    The other religions have their own ways regarding salvation, redemption, and way of looking at life in general. You can’t tell them that the Christian way is the only way.

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