Major General John B. Morrison, Jr.
Commanding General, Fort Gordon, Georgia
Cyber Center of Excellence
Re: Today’s Mandatory “Spiritual Bar B Que” at Fort Gordon
Major General Morrison,
Sir, my name is Mikey Weinstein and I am the Founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). MRFF is a large civil rights advocacy organization with the main mission objective of protecting the Constitutionally-mandated wall separating church and state in the United States armed forces. In this regard, MRFF currently represents well over 52,300 active duty, reserve, and national guard U.S. soldiers, sailors. Marines and airmen as well as veterans. About 96% of MRFF’s aggrieved military clients are professed Christians.
General, let me please get directly to the reason I am so earnestly writing you at this late hour on a Saturday night in the middle of an autumn weekend.
I am extremely disappointed to inform you that, earlier today, Saturday, October 14, 2017 (at or about approximately 10:00 am, EDT) at the storied,100 year-old military installation you command, Fort Gordon, large numbers of very junior enlisted soldiers-presently undergoing the rigors of Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at your installation-were ORDERED by their Army superiors to form up from their barracks and MANDATORILY marched over, in formation, to one of the Fort Gordon chapels and FORCED to participate in an elaborate, Fort Gordon-sponsored and produced Christian proselytizing program which went by the telling name of a “Spiritual Bar B Que”. At the very least, several companies of soldiers, apparently, were FORCE-MARCHED to this Christian proselytizing event so it may have actually been that an entire BATTALION was involved in this unconstitutional disgrace.
Here’s what occurred at this “Spiritual Bar B Que, General Morrison. As a now VERY convenient, Army-ordered, captive audience, your young U.S. Army soldiers were INVOLUNTARILY inundated with loud Christian rock music and INVOLUNTARILY prayed over by an all-too enthusiastic Protestant/Christian Army chaplain (who, of course, outranked every one of them considerably) trying his level best to get them to accept and surrender to his version of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sir, the entire “Spiritual Bar B Que” affair lasted for several hours (from forced-march over to the Chapel to forced-march back to the barracks) before these young Army soldiers were eventually dismissed from this MANDATORY Christian proselytizing activity at approximately 1:30 pm EDT today.
General, MRFF is now representing over 40 U.S. Army personnel under your direct command at Fort Gordon, sir, who quite justly feel as though they have been brutally subjected to fundamentalist Chrisitian predators and bullies superior to them in the Fort Gordon chain of command under YOUR control. Indeed, sir, their Army superiors have trampled all over their Constitutionally-guaranteed civil rights NOT to have the United States Army violate the No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of our United States Constitution. Needless to say, other precious Constitutional civil rights (see Clause 3, Article VI re: No Religious Test) as well as a vast sea of well-settled U.S. Supreme Court and related Federal caselaw and bedrock DoD and U.S. Army Directives, Instructions and Regulations were also egregiously violated by ORDERING these young and otherwise defenseless soldier subordinates to participate in this “Spiritual Bar B Que”.
The majority of MRFF’s clients in this atrocious matter happen to be practicing Christians themselves who clearly understand that, irrespective of the fact that they happen to belong to the majority religious faith group under your command at Fort Gordon, sir, FORCING soldiers AGAINST their will to likewise accept that particular Christian majoritarian faith is BLATANTLY and wretchedly WRONG from a moral, ethical and especially legal perspective! Other MRFF clients in this tragic matter include Army soldiers and Army personnel who follow the religious convictions of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism as well as a number of those who self-describe as agnostic, atheist, humanist and secularist.
The Army’s motto/catch phrase of “Army Strong” was utterly destroyed today by this MANDATORY Christian proselytizing disaster. This FORCED religious conversion event loudly screams only “Army Weak” as it callously tears asunder the good order, morale, discipline and unit cohesion which you, sir, are otherwise charged to nurture and maximize in your Army subordinates and their “battle buddies” via your sworn oath to “protect and defend” the United States Constitution instead of the New Testament, or any other religious or nonreligious text for that matter.
You see, sir, it’s all about the time, place and manner of how military members decide to deploy their religious faiths, or even lack thereof. Had this event been purely voluntary, and thus NOT been subject to the obvious duress of “Command-inducement”, there would NOT have been ANY problem at all. Unfortunately the EXACT opposite transpired as those U.S. Army soldiers under your command who outrank MRFF’s clients, ORDERED and FORCED them to the exclusivist trough of this fundamentalist Christian “Spiritual Bar B Que”.
Major General Morrison, sir, on behalf of its numerous U.S. Army clients under your command at Fort Gordon who have been the innocent victims of this MANDATORY Christian proselytizing and conversion event travesty, MRFF hereby demands that you immediately investigate and aggressively punish all of those individuals who are either directly or indirectly responsible for the ignominious shame of this “Spiritual Bar B Que”.
Sadly, the only thing “Bar B Qued” at Fort Gordon today, sir, were the Constitutionally-guaranteed church/state separation civil rights of the youngest, least experienced and most vulnerable, junior enlisted soldiers under your command. They had absolutely ZERO ability to fight back and object to the denigration, marginalization and humiliation of having fundamentalist Christianity carefully orchestrated and designed to be ruthlessly forced in their faces and down their throats by their Army superiors.
Sir, can you imagine, even for one instant, what unmitigated hell would have been unleashed had your soldiers been FORCED to likewise march in formation and involuntarily participate in the proselytizing and conversion event of another religious faith such as, for just one example, Islam? Why, there would have been oceans of blood in the streets, sir, and you KNOW it!
Please tell me, sir, why is it just fine to allow the Christian faith to enjoy such a prized position of proselytizing exceptionalism and superiority and not the Islamic faith or the plethora of other faith and/or non-faith traditions?
General, what happened to MRFF’s Army clients at Fort Gordon today, on your watch, MUST be immediately and expeditiously fixed, sir.
MRFF and its Army clients demand justice, PLEASE! Is there really any way, sir, that MRFF’s demands for justice for its subordinate, Army enlisted clients cannot be viewed as completely rational, reasonable and fair?
Please advise me soonest as to the swift and formidable remedial actions you will take to exhaustively review this matter, punish those responsible and ensure that such a horrific desecration of Constitutially-guaranteed civil rights NEVER again occurs under your command.
Standing by to hear from you, General.
Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, Esq.
Founder and President, Military Religious Freedom Foundation