Religious Freedom

I pray that someday you will grow to learn how important it is to follow God, and that the things of this world are only temporary, and that God is eternal and forever. He longs for each of us to be with him in eternity. May God touch your heart and I pray you grow to love him and see that his ways are right and good, and that he is our sovereign father.

 

God be with you.

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

Dear (name withheld),

Your message and the prayers mentioned in it are appreciated in that they represent what appears, on its surface, at least, to be a good-hearted wish that we might, if we thought properly, enjoy the fruits of the kind of relationship with God you believe you have.

I wonder, though, if you have considered the possibility that what you apparently sincerely believe to be Truth may not be the only way to understanding, satisfaction, or oneness, either spiritual or otherwise?

I get a bit tired, frankly, of hearing from “believers” who are so sure of the correctness of their particular belief system that they easily slip into the prideful place of assuming that anyone who doesn’t believe in their God in their way is wrong. It’s a kind of trap for “believers,” this notion that there is only one way to salvation and they have it and anyone who doesn’t sign on and see it and do it their way is doomed.

Your message suggests that those of us associated with the MRFF don’t have the kind of relationship with God that you have found. I’d argue that that may be true. Those I’ve come to know in my association with the organization would find that your presumption argues that you are so cramped in your belief that you presume to arrogate to yourself to right to lecture others on what they must do in order to get right with what you call your “sovereign father.” There is, I think, an inherent weakness in such a belief, one that ‘protesteth too much.’

Instead, the good people here, most of them Christians but many of different faiths and belief systems, are so secure in their place in the universe, their relationships and their beliefs that they have no need to presume, as you have, that those who don’t see things their way are wrong or dangerous or in need of correction.

It is the security of belief, in whatever form they’ve chosen, that is enjoyed by the good people associated with the MRFF that gives them the energy to support the U.S Constitution and its separation of church and state, the precepts that allow all Americans the freedom to believe or not believe as they choose.

Best,

Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Slish

 

Dear (name withheld),

Contrary to what you have heard or read, 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.

 

To continue to say that Mikey is an atheist is a lie when he knows full well that he isn’t. He uses that in order to anger Christians and continually uses Mikey and MRFF to fundraise off of us.

 

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.

https://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/about/foundation-voices/

 

Check out our Mission Statement

https://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/about/our-mission/

“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.

 

I find comfort in the scriptures regarding Mikey:

 

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election (chosen ones), they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Romans 11:25-29

 

Revelations 11 speaks of two witnesses. Speculation is that they are Moses and Elijah (both Jews) because they appeared with Jesus, Peter, James and John on the mount of Transfiguration.

Elijah never died and was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11–12) and God buried Moses in a secret place (Deut. 34:5–6; Jude 9).

 

Thank you for being concerned about Mikey’s salvation but God already has plans for the salvation of all of Israel – His “chosen ones,” “beloved” and the “apple of His eye.”

 

Remember that Jesus, His disciples and early followers (before Paul) were all Jews and God will ultimately save them.

 

Blessings,

Joan Slish

MRFF Advisory Board Member


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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