May 28, 2018
MRFF Assists Active Duty Clients in Ending Practice of Coerced Prayers During Unit’s Duty Status/Assignment Meetings
14 active duty clients stationed at a U.S. Military facility in Hawaii contacted MRFF President/Founder Mikey Weinstein seeking assistance regarding their unit commander’s practice of holding coerced sectarian religious prayers during weekly unit meetings intended to discuss duty status and assignments. In an email to Mikey dated May 28, 2018, a representative of these 14 MRFF clients described the situation:
Our (unit commander designation withheld) had been holding a weekly duty status and assignment meeting as always. This meeting is always mandatory. But at the end of it this time he literally ordered us all down to our freaking knees. And then ordered us to all hold hands as he said a special prayer. He raised his voice as he prayed to “Jesus Christ The Living Savior” to make sure that the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii would stop erupting. Seriously, right? Not the first time he’s done this religion deal on us.
But this was so jacked up we couldn’t believe it this time. We knew this was wrong the moment he did it. Actually all 14 of us who reached out to you are Christians. But many in our unit are not. You could see the shock and hurt on their faces. But what are we supposed to do? He’s the (unit commander designation withheld). All of us wanted you to try to fix this but none of us wanted our names used. If our names came out we would be viewed as narcs in our unit by many who support our (unit commander designation withheld).
Mikey immediately contacted the superiors of the unit commander to inform them of and demand corrective action for this obvious violation of the Constitutional principles of church-state separation and military regulations requiring religious neutrality. The rapid results from Mikey’s efforts were detailed in the MRFF client’s email:
Anyways after you spoke to our (superior unit commander’s designation, name and rank withheld) it all got fixed. Next day later our volcano praying (unit commander designation withheld) got called into the (superior unit commander’s designation withheld) office and got hit with some pretty serious duke nukem ass kickery we heard. Our (Senior NCO’s unit designation) was there and told us all about it. Seems our (unit commander designation withheld) even tried to tell his boss that the prayer had been “voluntary”. Total lie! He has not apologized but we heard he got some nasty paper from the (superior unit commander’s designation withheld) on this whole deal.
Mr. Weinstein we all really appreciate what you did here to stop this violation of our constitution rights. Until it happens to you you just don’t get how bad it is.