Freedom OF religion, not freedom from religion

Published On: March 29, 2017|Categories: MRFF's Inbox|10 Comments|

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Not sure you fully understand the constitution or the bill of rights. But then again that is what the 1st amendment grants you, you can pretty much say just about anything you want even if it is not based in fact. And yes I am an American and a Christian.
You can be what you to be.


(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Joan Slish

Dear (name withheld),

I’m not sure you understand the Constitution, either. Separation of State and Church IS freedom from religion.
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 50,300+ soldier clients are mainline Christians and we fight for them more than any other belief or non-belief.
We also have many honorable and distinguished military personnel, whom we rely on for their expertise on religious neutrality in the military, on our Board and Advisory Board.
Check out our Mission Statement
We are defenders of the Constitution (Separation of Church and State), Supreme Court rulings and the UCMJ.
“…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
To entangle religion and the military is in violation of the Constitution, Reynolds v. U.S., Lemon v. Kurtzman, the Lemon Test and Parker v. Levy.
Joan Slish
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Thank you for your blah blah blah. We disagree and I don’t see either of us switching sides as it is, so please refrain from contacting me and I will do the same.
Best Regards,

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Joaan Slish
“You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.” Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Yes, Jesus is Lord
Joan (retired Christian Pastor)

A socialist quote really??


(name withheld)

Response by MRFF Advisory Board Member Joan Slish

He was a sociologist – a social scientist who studies the institutions and development of human society – not a socialist.

Joan Slish

Response by MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

Hi (name withheld),

You are welcome to your opinion, of course, just as you are welcome to the choice of your belief system as guaranteed by our constitution. If, however, you don’t understand that the right to believe as one chooses includes the right to believe in a religion, in no religion, in fairies, in many gods or in nothing at all, you are deluding yourself in pretending to understand the constitution better than you actually do.

I wish you enlightenment. I think Jesus does, too.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)

Not sure you fully understand the constitution or the bill of rights. But then again that is what the 1st amendment grants you, you can pretty much say just about anything you want even if it is not based in fact. And yes I am an American and a Christian.
You can be what you to be.


(name withheld)

Response from Founder and President of MRFF Mikey Weinstein

Hi there (name withheld)… Thank you for reaching out… Let me clear this up for you; as a professional attorney who specializes in constitutional law, I have what I believe is an exceptional understanding of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights… If you believe that freedom of religion does NOT include freedom FROM religion, then I fear, my friend, it is YOU Who does not seem to have a clue… I am glad that you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord… But that is only for you… There are about 40,000 different distinct denominations of Christianity out there and they all disagree with each other…Our foundation represents over 50,000 members of the US military active-duty and veterans… Approximately 96% of them are practicing Christians them selves, Steve… The beauty of our Constitution is that we do not judge the value honor integrity character worth intelligence and courage of any other American based on whether they except “Jesus Christ as Lord” or not… I happen to be Jewish but I’m not that religious… Maybe do a little more not homework next time before you start casting aspersions at us… A good thought to ponder… Thank you again for taking the time to write me… Mikey Weinstein, Founder and President, Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere

Dear (name withheld),

Thank you for your comments. I do not know your legal training or qualifications, but your understanding of the 1st Amendment is not accurate. The 1st Amendment provides 3 individual religious liberties for all Americans – not 1 as you erroneously suggest. Please reread the entire amendment & all of its clauses, not just the 2nd one.
The first & foremost clause of the 1st Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. Our government (or its representatives which includes the military) is prohibited from promoting, endorsing, favoring, etc any religious establishment. There should be no misunderstanding of the operative verb. All one has to do is read the 1st clause & then read the definition of “respecting” in any American dictionary. If needed, one can read the definitions of “establishment” & “religion” there also. Every American has the right to FREEDOM FROM RELIGION & has had this individual liberty since the Bill of Rights was ratified effective December 15, 1791.
The 2nd clause prevents our government from “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (FREEDOM OF RELIGION) & the 3rd clause prevents our government from “abridging the freedom of speech” (FREEDOM OF RELIGIOUS SPEECH).
Attached is a rational explanation in plain language of the factual, historical & lawful relationship between our Constitution, the military & any religion. We hope you find it informative.
Most Sincerely, John
[Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired); retired military lawyer & judge; disabled American veteran (Vietnam); MRFF Advisory Board Member]


The military mission is to defend our 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 prohibits our secular government or its representatives (which includes the military) from OUR CONSTITUTION, THE MILITARY & ANY RELIGION

promoting religion.


Military service and pay are public whereas religion is private. Military personnel may privately practice a religion or no religion, but they may not lawfully use their military service or position to publicly promote private religious beliefs or impose them on other military members. This problem does not arise when military leaders demonstrate intelligence, integrity and loyalty to the mission, oath, Constitution and military regulations.


Those who disrespect and disregard our Constitution, their sworn service oath and military regulations subject themselves to disciplinary action. Additionally, a basic Constitution class and legal briefing on the significance of their sworn oath need to be mandatory. Those who choose not to support and defend our Constitution, honor their sworn oath or follow military regulations have the right to seek a career in the civilian sector for private pay.


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


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


  1. Freedom of religion – our secular government is prevented from “prohibiting” free exercise of religion. It is our right to privately practice any religion (or no religion) provided it does not violate the rights of others. It does not include the right of the government or its representatives to impose religion on us; and


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


There should be no misunderstanding of the operative verbs in these first three clauses of the 1st Amendment. All one has to do is first read them and then read the definitions 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, indisputably documented by 3 centuries of public records, acknowledged publicly by every American President since Thomas Jefferson, continuously confirmed by our courts, 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). It is also significant that there were no public prayers during the 116 days of the 1787 Constitutional Convention. These are self-evident American truths history deniers and religious revisionists intentionally ignore and deceitfully disavow.


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


Unfortunately, the observation of the late American humorist Will Rogers is still applicable today – “There is no argument in the world that carries the hatred that a religious belief one does.” (The Best of Will Rogers, Bryan Sterling, M. Evans & Company, 1979, page 193).


Founder and 3rd President Thomas Jefferson publicly penned the classic 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 publicly acknowledged 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 publicly praised constitutional separation of church and state in a sermon – “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.(Washington National Cathedral, 1985).


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.









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  1. Joshua Rownd March 29, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Dear Joan Slish,
    You keep posting this, but who gives a damn if Mikey prays three times a day, that will not get him into heavem, besides, I really do not think God hears him at all. Works will not get anyone into heaven.

    Let me ask you this, do you believe that God’s law should come before man’s law? If you do not believe that, then you are a Christian atheist and an apostate believer. Oh yeah, Joan, your mainline believers all attend apostate churches as well. If they do not hold to the inerrant Word of God, if they do not believe that Christ rose from dead, if they not believe that homosexuality is a sin, and a abortion is okay, then they have become apostate and will face the judgment of God and His blessing and presence will not be found in those churches.

    Dear Mikey,
    Sorry you are wrong as always, Jesus Christ is Lord for everyone whether you like it or not, and if He returns while you are still alive, you will have to bow your knee to Him as your Lord and Messiah, or you will be put to death for rejecting Christ!

    And the winners are for the King and Queen of copy and pasting goes to Joan Slish and John Compere. The winners get a free course in Microsoft Office 2016!

  2. G March 29, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    “You keep posting this, but who gives a damn if Mikey prays three times a day, that will not get him into heaven, besides, I really do not think God hears him at all. Works will not get anyone into heaven.”

    Well JR if works don’t get anyone into heaven, then why bother to be a good Samantha or donated money, supplies, volunteer time, etc. to help out with the work of the churches to bring the word of God to the people?

    If God did not want apostate churches, then he should not have allowed them to happen in the first place, JR. Many of man’s laws came into existence because God did not create laws for things like discrimination, pollution of all kinds, labor and environmental laws, etc.

  3. Joshua Rownd March 29, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Once again G, you want to throw the responsibility on God, when it is man’s responsibility to obey God. God gave man free will so that he would not be robots, but there are consequences for the decisions that men make if they choose not obey God.

    Salvation is not based upon works, but they are an outgrowth of our relationship to Christ and our desire to please Him.

    Christ laid down the only way one can have eternal life, that is only by accepting Him as our Lord and Savior and giving our lives to Him. Whatever works a Jew, HIndu, Mormon, Catholic, Muslim, or whatever other religion a person will adhere to, will not get them any closer to having eternal life than the front door of their home.

  4. Connie March 30, 2017 at 5:33 am

    Once again JR makes an ass of all of us when he assumes his idea of faith is the ONLY way to pray.

    The lessons of life wash over JR, he takes no nurishment as he clings to his pilings made of dogma. Flood waters rise. Rivers swell.

    Life has taught me in brutal ways that how a person chooses to exercise their faith is between themselves and their creator. Life explained to me that I have no right or business to push my way into that relationship. Respect. Honor. Patience. Love. These are the values I’m told which make me weak when I know they are why I’m strong.

    JR is fond of prophecy – here is one I discovered as a young adult.

    There is a revolution against the Pharisees and Priests who insist on telling people how to live and love. The authoritarians cling to the black and white of their dogma, and by doing so they alienate those they seek to rule. It will be messy when those ruled declare ‘enough!’ Grey wins in the end as everyone accepts their own responsibility and lets go the illusion of control of others.

    I’ve heard some version of this prophecy for over thirty years and here/now I see it playing out on the global stage. If I were JR (and I’m glad I’m not) I would be nervous because if everyone is enlightened then there is no need for people like him who try to tell people what to believe.

  5. G March 30, 2017 at 6:43 am

    “Salvation is not based upon works, but they are an outgrowth of our relationship to Christ and our desire to please Him.”

    You did not answer my question about why bother to donate money, time, and effort to support the work of the Church, JR. Funny how people like you rely on faith; yet, you keep asking the people to give money, supplies, and time to support the work of the Church in order to convert people to your faith.

    “….and our desire to please Him”

    How do you know if you are pleasing him or not on a daily basis?.

    “Whatever works a Jew, HIndu, Mormon, Catholic, Muslim, or whatever other religion a person will adhere to, will not get them any closer to having eternal life than the front door of their home.”

    You have solid evidence to back up your statement, JR?

  6. Connie March 30, 2017 at 7:22 am

    G – of course JR has no evidence. Facts are for Liberals after all. Us lowly humans are supposed to take JRs word on faith, rather like credit. Too bad for JR I don’t believe in credit as the price paid at the end is not worth the original purchase.

    Good luck with your questions though. As always, you ask good ones.

  7. G April 1, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Another thing JR, you, American Patriot, Rev Bob, Yeshua Warrior and all the other people like you keep saying that God protects the Jews because they are his chosen people; however, then and the Israeli lobby are forcing the American taxpayer to fund military and economic programs in order to protect Israel.

  8. Joshua Rownd April 1, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    The Israeli lobby does not force us to do anything, the president can still say no. Besides, don’t you think that Israel needs to be protected??? Have you seen a map of the area, Israel is no bigger than the state of New Jersey, which is surrounded by much bigger Islamic/Muslim nations who are hell bent and call for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth!! If Israel goes so goes the rest of the world. Israel is the only democratic nation in that entire region, and should we ever turn our back on Israel, which will not happen now with Trump as president, then God will turn His back on the United States!

  9. G April 1, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    “The Israeli lobby does not force us to do anything, the president can still say no.”

    Want to bet on that JR?

    I know what the size of Israel is JR. It doesn’t excuse the fact that we should be subsidizing them when we need the money for our own people. And it doesn’t explain this garbage about relying on God to protecting the Jews which conflicts with your statement about we need to provide the Jews the means to protect themselves.

    “…..should we ever turn our back on Israel, which will not happen now with Trump as president, then God will turn His back on the United States!

    Well, God turned his back on the Israelis during the Roman and Babylonian period and the USA did not exist 2,000 to 3,000 years ago so you can’t say that God had turned his back on the USA because we did not support Israel during that time period. Where does it say that in the Bible about God punishing a non-existing USA?

    “…..Israel is the only democratic nation in that entire region,”

    Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and all those smaller countries surrounding Saudi Arabia could have been democratic countries so why did the USA not force them to become democratic when we had the chance to so so after World War II? I will tell you why we did not do so because like the wealthy ruling elites in the Middle East, the USA has been dominated by our own caste/class plutocratic system.

    We tried to make the Iraqi and Phillippine governments in our own democratic image and look how it turn out for those countries.

  10. XaurreauX April 3, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Face it Joshua, secularists scare the crap out of you because we are a threat to your VERY fragile faith. In fact, I would say when push comes to shove YOU CAN’T CUT IT!

    Secularism is for grownups who take responsibility for their own faith and do not need the government to prop up their religion for them, as you obviously do.

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