DoD Army Employee & Former U.S. Army Officer Thanks MRFF for Prompt Response to Christian Proselytizing at Bagram Airforce Base (BAF), Afghanistan

Dear Mikey and Chris

I wanted to personally thank you both for your prompt response to the complaint I submitted to MRFF on 22 November 2017 regarding an egregious example of religious proselytizing within the Department of Defense (DoD).

There are 5 DoD dining facilities on the largest military installation in Afghanistan, Bagram Airforce Base (BAF), and at both entrances of each dining facility the day’s lunch and dinner menus are prominently displayed.  The menus are also available on the BAF website.  On this particular day, I noticed a group of coalition (ie. U.S.-allied but not U.S. armed forces) service members and civilians walking away in total disgust shaking their heads and refusing to enter the dining facility.  I thought maybe the food choices were not the best since this is, after all, a war zone.  I then read the official menu displayed and saw that each menu had “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good – Psalm 107:1 NIV” in impossible-to-miss, large, bold lettering along with a “Thank you, Lord!” displayed on the bottom of each menu.  Words cannot describe the anger, embarrassment, shame and frustration I felt along with an untold number of U.S. and allied military and civilian personnel who are either of another religion or non-religious altogether.  Keep in mind; there are a large number of foreign allied Soldiers and foreign allied civilians with vastly different and diverse religious backgrounds who eat in these official U.S.-controlled, DoD  dining facilities along with U.S. personnel.

I’m a retired U.S. Army officer who served 30 plus years on active duty and currently works as a Department of the Army Civilian deployed in BAF, Afghanistan.  There are many rules and regulations within the Department of Defense that are strictly adhered to and breaking them can result in Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) criminal actions for military members and loss of employment for DoD civilians.  Rules and regulations pertaining to religious proselytizing are routinely egregiously broken in order to validate and establish Christianity as the dominant and exclusive religious faith for DoD armed forces and DoD civilian personnel with absolutely no adverse actions taken within the DoD.  This blatant disregard to established regulations needs to end!  The U.S. Constitution forbids this portraying of Christianity as the “official” DoD and U.S. religion.

Thank you MRFF once again for taking up the cause for those of us who would face immediate and harsh retaliation if these issues were brought up within our chains of command. I have witnessed this type of reprisal all too often during my many years with DoD, in uniform and out, and its why I am a MRFF client and urge others to do the same when faced with this type of religious bigotry.

Thank you,

(DoD Army Employee/Former U.S. Army Officer’s name, rank and all other Identifiers withheld)


 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. David F. Strohl

    So let me get this straight… American military and DOD civilians will face reprisals (or worse) if they complain that others (that are being paid by us, the US Taxpayer) are proselytizing for a certain religion, which is contrary to the establishment clause of our constitution and the UCMJ and DOD policy. How and why does this keep happening? It feels like a torturous game of Whack-A-Mole, in that when you successfully stop it from happening one place, up its ugly head rears up in another. The real question is why has the JAG office turned into such a den of cowards with regards to prosecution of these people who knowingly violate US law and UCMJ/DOD Policy, over and over again. Until the JAG office grows a pair and puts an end to these utterly unconstitutional actions, things like this will never stop. I’ve never met a prosecutor yet who shies away from a rape or murder case, yet this is something they just cannot do? The law is the law, and prosecutors don’t get to pick and choose which lawbreakers that they get to prosecute. I truly feel for the religious minotities in the military (having been one myself) and what they are forced to endure solely so that one group can feel more “comfortable” in their faith. Sorry to break it to them, but their comfort is not enough of a reason to do this. If their faith is so weak that it requires constant external stroking and vindication by making others faiths (or lack of one) be subjugated, I think their faith needs a serious review to see if it meets with the constitutional standards we all live under. In this country, we’re all equal, and if you don’t respect that, you’re not a very good American in my book.

    Thanks Mikey, for all that you do.

  2. Tom O

    “The law is the law, and prosecutors don’t get to pick and choose which lawbreakers that they get to prosecute.” Unfortunately, they DO “get to pick and choose which lawbreakers that they … prosecute.” It’s called “prosecutorial discretion,” and the legal system provides NO mechanism to force a prosecutor to do his/her job if s/he decides not to prosecute someone, no matter how obviously guilty the accused is. The ONLY recourse is bad publicity, which has some influence on elected prosecutors, but very little on appointed ones.

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