Forced To Pray Incident With Surgical Procedure

Military Religious Freedom Foundation and Mikey Weinstein,

My name is (withheld) and I want to thank you for helping my family through a very difficult matter connected with my husband’s surgery in a large military hospital.

Please do not release our names or any other facts that can identify us as we still fear we can be hurt from this hospital and my husband’s command.

My husband is a (military rank withheld) in the U.S. (military branch withheld). He has seen much combat.

Recently it was decided that he needed an operation to fix a serious medical problem due to his prior combat deployments. Surgery was schedule on (day and month withheld) of 2018. The procedure was to take about 3 to 4 hours and there was some potential risks given how serious it all was.

My children and my sister were at the (name of military medical facility) at (name of military installation and state/country withheld) waiting for the operation to begin. When all of a sudden the surgeon who is also a (officer’s rank withheld) came into the waiting room area located in the (name of hospital ward withheld) on the (number withheld) floor. He said these exact words to us which we remember very well: “Kneel with me now and all join hands. We pray to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to guide and bless my hands for the (name of medical procedure withheld) to bring health to (name and rank of active duty patient withheld).” He then left quickly and never even looked in our eyes.

I was just so shocked and did not know what to say or do? We all did kneel and joined hands as he had ordered. Because we felt we had no choice but to obey. He was about to cut on my husband. What choice did we have?

We are a Christian family and attend a (Protestant denomination withheld) church off base. My sister who was with us is married to a Jewish man. She and I both felt violated and horrified. Our kids are young and did not understand what had just happened. But we did. We felt sick.

As the operation went on I asked to speak to the surgeon’s supervisor. I was very upset and crying at this point. After an hour or so the supervisor came out and I told him what happened. My sister stayed with the kids in the waiting area. The supervisor seemed nice at first but then told me that what the surgeon had done was “well within his First Amendment rights for speech and religion” and could not therefore be stopped. I gave this person a piece of my mind. I told him that my husband had deployed into combat (number withheld) times and had been wounded and decorated to protect the Constitution. I told him that I felt ashamed and embarrassed. And insulted by the forced prayer we were made to participate in. He said there was nothing to be done and left.

I was aware of the MRFF due to (name and rank of another active duty service member) who had received help from them a few years ago. I found the website online with my phone and called Mikey Weinstein. To my surprise he answered his own phone. He was so nice. I was still crying and scared. He said he would take care of this. He promised.

I went back to the waiting area with my sister and my kids. My sister was scared and so was I about what had happened. I mean after all the person we are complaining about has his scalpels and his hands in my husband’s body right this moment.

Less than an hour later another higher ranking officer with the hospital came in to see us and apologized for what the surgeon had made us do. He said he had gotten a call from Mr. Weinstein and that after the operation was done this surgeon would no longer be involved with any medical services for my husband. I asked if this surgeon would be punished? I asked about the surgeon’s supervisor who refused to help us? I was worried they might be doing this forced prayer behavior to others. The higher ranking officer said that he could not discuss any disciplinary matters with me. But he assured me that this surgeon would not be allowed to ever do these things again to other patients and their families. I just wonder how widespread all of this is?

My husband made it through the procedure and is doing well. We have new doctors now. They are helpful and nice. My sister and I decided not to tell my husband about all this until he recuperated some from the operation. We just told him (number withheld) days ago. He is very mad at the surgeon and his immediate supervisor and is proud that we fought back even during the operation.

I want to thank the MRFF and Mr. Weinstein for standing up for us. And for helping us so fast!

If there is any more fallout from this we will call first for more help to MRFF right away. We will always be thankful for what you did when nobody else could help. Or would help. We will never forget this.
Please don’t use our names. Dealing with what happened is about all we can handle in our lives right now.


(name, phone number and address of Active Duty Military Member’s Spouse withheld)

 Dear military wife and children of combat injured husband,

You and your family have been through enough without this.  It angers me to read.  I was a military surgeon, and I can easily picture everything you wrote as though I were personally witnessing it (pardon the subconsciously snarky pun).  You accurately felt as though you were held hostage, at pain of torture to your husband.  The cruelty of such extreme manipulation is worthy of ISIS.  How dare that officer put you through this?!  How dare he!!!!  I have no doubt your concerns were valid, as I know personally what can be made to happen, and with “plausible deniability” to cover it up.  You did what you had to do, and you were brave to do it.
I hope Mikey can get that officer properly punished and retrained, but you can imagine what even Mikey’s tenacious talents are up against.  Still, if anyone can do it, it’s Mikey.
Another target and victim of Christian extremism in the military

A few years ago I signed up with a local eye surgeon to have

my cataracts removed.   I was lying on the surgeon’s table,

with my eyes covered ready to undergo the knife when the surgeon said “Let us pray.” 

He proceeded to pray –with his assistants –for the success of my surgery. 

I didn’t dare raise an  objection at that point as he had the knife in his hand and I was in no

position to offend him.   I can understand how those people felt.

Fortunately the surgery was a success.   Later I was told that he was

a 7th Day Adventist.

(name withheld)

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  1. This is a strange incident to have occurred and the fact that the doctor or staff who prayed publicly also was not close to the family and probably a stranger to You and Your Church and Family.

    However what if the Surgeon operating was praying because they felt that it would make the operation more successful and they felt that If You and Your family prayed together with them it would even make the operation even more successful.

    It is really strange for today’s modern times and also the fact that You all are strangers and not in the same church.

    However I have a question – Could it be that You and Your Jewish family member know or feel deep down in Your hearts that this surgeon is not serving The same God as You do ? This is often times a given, taken for granted and assumptive ideology { That everyone who prays to The God they claim os THE GOD of The Bible or Abraham are all serving the Same eXact God. }

    But I know that the Bible does have rules and stipulations, mandates theorem, principles and precepts that DEMAND that anyone who is not following the Message of The Bible is INDEED serving another Christ or God entirely and completely.

    I found a website that really gets down to the very bottom of so many, many things that are involved throughout the religious systems.

    This website really helped me to understand


    At a time when the worried family members were very anxious about the health of their loved one, the surgeon seemed to focus on what he personally wanted, instead of on his professional duties.
    That would upset & insult any sane persons & make them wonder if their patient would be medically neglected at some point, because the doctor’s mind wasn’t focused while at work…
    PS — Wishing your family member a good recovery despite it all…

  3. G

    If that surgeon had to pray to God to help him with his operations, then he should not have been a doctor at all, and if humans could get immediate attention from God regarding their medical problems, then we would have no need for a medical system to help us out.

  4. Several years ago my sister, who has fought mental illness for decades, made her most serious suicide attempt. She was taken to a public (county) hospital. One evening, as she lay in the hospital unconscious and on life support, I said to her that if she wanted to stay in this world we wanted her to stay, and if she wanted to go that we understood and whatever she wanted was ok. A male nurse was working nearby, and when it came time for me to go, he said, “You do know that if your sister dies from this suicide attempt she will go to hell?”

    I am an outspoken, articulate anti-theist, and I was too shocked to say anything. I just assented and left–and then afterwards thought about all of the things I wished I had said. What a horrible thing to believe and then to impose on the family member of someone who is suffering from mental illness! The doctrine of eternal punishment is one of Christianity’s most vile teachings. And to make matters worse, if my sister was actually taking in auditory stimuli, he had said it within earshot.

  5. Joe Langley

    I would prefer that my surgeon pray before he operated. I am a christian and have been a paramedic for 32 years.I have prayed over a pt. many times and have had a church congregation pray over us while working a cardiac arrest during the service! I would never force my religion on anybody,but I also would never be offended by someone asking to pray! We all serve in our own ways!

  6. Stan Levin

    From the Devils Dictionary
    by Ambrose Bierce ………
    Definition of “Prayer” …..
    A request by a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy,
    that the laws of the Universe be changed in his behalf
    Hi, Mikey… how’s it going?

  7. Grey One talks sass

    For those who expressed acceptance of a prayer or indication of personal beleif by the surgical staff I must ask a question: would you be as comfortable if instead of a flavor of Christianity the religion was Pagan? How about the current whipping children Satanists or Muslims?

    I’m fairly certain reactions would differ.

    How about practicing respect for all peoples and ask for a moment of silence? Oh yeah, it’s not about faith. It’s ALL about ego.

  8. Underdog6

    Every surgeon who wishes to impose his religion in the operating room should consider the thoughts of Stephen Roberts. Paraphrased here: “When you consider the thousands of gods invented by man since the beginning of time, you happen to believe in only one more of them than me.
    When you have the courage to examine why you disbelieve in ALL those other gods, you will understand why I disbelieve in yours.”

    I had the frightening experience of an former military surgeon doing his prayer ritual just as I was about to receive anesthesia for a relatively minor surgery. How does a person respectfully say they wish too decline the offer?

  9. G

    Joe Langley

    If the surgeon blotches the operations, are you going to blame him/her or blaming God not answering the surgeon’s prayer?

  10. Mikeys Mouse

    @Valerine, that nurse was only speaking the truth. Anyone who dies without Christ will be judged and suffer eternal torment. That is the punishment for our sins which we so rightfully deserve.

  11. Mark Sebree

    @ Mickey Mouse,

    No, that is not the “truth”, that is nothing more than your opinion based on your personal beliefs. Thus, the nurse was also not speaking the “truth” since she was only expressing her beliefs. A person is not subject to your beliefs, and thus is also not subject to your personal opinion about what is and is not “sinful”.

    Quite frankly, the way that you interpret your personal beliefs shows your deity to be hateful, intolerant, and sadistic. 2/3s of the world’s population is not Christian, which according to you means that they automatically “suffer eternal torment”, no matter how good, noble, and compassionate they were or how many people they helped directly or indirectly. Add to that the fact that what is and is not considered to be “sinful” varies according to the denomination and interpretation of your mythology. That means that if certain actions are actually sinful or opposing those actions is sinful, something that you cannot actual know while alive, then a significant proportion of Christians will also “suffer eternal torment”. That means that all told, your deity will condemn around 80% – 90% of the world’s population to “eternal torment”, if not more. That is not the sort of deity I would want anything to do with.

  12. Whoa! Dr. Pavlov! Calling Dr. Pavlov! One of your indoctrinated puppies is loose!

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