Dear Mike

I’m saddened to hear you attacking our Military Chaplain remembrance symbols. I wonder why you’re so angry? Why? Christian People are about love. It’s a Muslim that has their Koran teach to kill at any one who doesn’t believe. Jesus is one who gives forgiveness. That’s what He died for. But better yet, rose up from the grave having taken our punishments for sin. Now you can laugh and choose to ignore Him now, but when your body dies you will stand before Him and answer to the way you have conducted your life. Whether you want to believe or not judgement comes. God bless you may He have mercy on your spirit.

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Joan Slish

Dear (name withheld),
What people in the religious community don’t realize is that our military is SECULAR. There are people of other faith or of no faith that don the uniform because they love this country.  Religious accommodations are made through the Chaplains Corps to meet each of their needs.
 
The museum is part of Maxwell Air Force base which is government property. There are laws, Supreme Court rulings and the Uniform Code of Military Justice that must be followed. 
 
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
 
Air Force Instruction 1-1, Section 2.12, which reads as follows:
“Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause. Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.”
 
The above law and regulation are based on case laws:
 
“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 (according to the time, place and manner) 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
 
In an article I read, a different story was given about a Chaplain to divert from the original story, which was glossed over.
 
This is the true story we fought against as written by MRFF’s Research Director Chris Rodda.
 
The story in the plaque was a complete fabrication and was taken down by AFEHRI, CMSgt Emily E. Shade. She stated:
 
“As a result of your inquiry and after looking at the framed wording, I concur that the dates and story seem inaccurate.
We have removed the photo of the wording from the exhibit, as well as from our Facebook page.”
 
No one here is “laughing at God” as you seem to assume. 
 
Contrary to what you may have been told 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 (317 in total) of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) are Christians. In fact, 96% of our 50,200+ soldier clients are mainline Christians and we fight for them more than any other belief or non-belief.
 
You’re preaching to the choir here.
 
Our name reflects our mission: The Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
 
We are defenders of the Constitution (Separation of Church and State), Supreme Court rulings and the UCMJ.
 
As a Jew, Mikey’s hereafter has been sealed by God so you don’t have to worry about him:
 
“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, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”  Romans 11:25-29
 
The Koran isn’t the only religion that says to kill unbelievers.
 
Jesus said:
 
“But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” Luke 19:27
 
Joan Slish
MRFF Advisory Board Member

 Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere
 Dear (name withheld),
This will acknowledge receipt of your email questioning why the United States Armed Forces cannot publicly promote a religion & sharing your private Christian beliefs.
 
The answer to your question is because it is unlawful. The United States Constitution 1st Amendment & military regulations prohibit our military from promoting a religion.
 
We respect your right to determine, enjoy & practice your own private religious beliefs just as we respect the right of all military members to do the same. In fact, we represent military members (96% of whom are Christian) who request that their right to determine, enjoy & practice their own private religious beliefs be respected & free from interference.
 
If you are sincere in your inquiry, the facts of this particular violation & the purpose of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation are attached below. More information on both is also provided at www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org.
 
Most Sincerely,
Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)
Former Chief Judge, US Army Court of Military Review
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam)
Military Religious Freedom Foundation Advisory Board Member

 Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

Hi (name withheld),

Please don’t be sad. The only anger here results from the insistence by some zealous believers that their version
of what they think of as the ‘one true faith’ must be accepted by everyone else. Since the Constitution, the laws of the land and military regulations protect the right of every individual to embrace the belief or non-belief system of her or his choice, our efforts in support of that premise requires that we oppose words, actions or displays that violate it.

The separation of church and state, as I’m sure you understand, is the determination made by our nation’s Founders
to ensure that our government, in all its parts, does not propose, favor or promulgate one belief system over others.
That being so, we oppose no belief system; what we oppose is the promotion of any one over others, as was the
case with the display in question.

I’m not sure if you’re aware of the fact that the story that provided the basis for the display was repudiated by the
organization that sponsored it in the first place once the facts underlying it were found to be false. That, plus the
fact that the flag itself was not what it had been represented as being meant that the display was inappropriate. Just
flying a Christian flag because we like chaplains doesn’t comport with the above laws and regulations, so it has to be
removed.

Your Christian beliefs are quite clear and we respect them. They are shared by most of our members, staff, clients and
supporters. But I would note that the Christians among us who are, as you suggest, “people who are about love,”
would not share your condemnation of either Muslim people, the Islamic faith or the Koran. I suspect they, as do I
would find your statement both unChristian and repellant. I’m not quite sure how it is you’re able to justify fitting such bigotry into a devotion to Jesus and his teachings, but these days one does find some pretty reprehensible accommodations being made.

Respectfully,

Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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