removal of bible at wyoming afb

 

From: (name withheld)

Subject: removal of bible at wyoming afb

Date: July 22, 2018 at 7:15:12 AM MDT

To: [email protected]

 

Dear Mike,
I became interested in who or what kind of organization would be motivated to do what was done with the bible at the wyoming afb. I was interested in the testimony you gave about how your family was treated at the academy. That’s unfortunate and pertains to the behavior of individuals who should be countered in good debate using truth. You are not supporting this kind of need amongst individuals by what you did in this case. Essentially you are doing what the enemies of Israel have been attempting to do with Jerusalem now for centuries. Eradicate its rich history that is a part of human history and essential in the exercise of intelligent debate of ongoing civil governance in the world. Anyone who takes the time to understand cannot move to re-move the impact that the Judeo-Christian heritage has had on this country. Unfortunately the attacker’s do not look for the truth to understand but to undermine. Im sorry your family was treated as it was by those who need to first know God themselves before becoming any use to the other but I would encourage your honesty in your response about this. The Holy bible has a testimony that stands on its own and is ageless. Pursuing removal of this book from US civil government is not pusuit of justice for your family or this country but is akin to a kind of conquest such as building the dome of the rock on the holiest site to the jewish people as a means of provocation. How’s that different from how your own family was treated?

Sincerely

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Joan Slish

On Jul 22, 2018, at 12:13 PM, Joan Slish  wrote:
Dear (name withheld),
You cannot equate what has happened with the Dome of the rock to what Mikey and MRFF are doing.
Mikey lost many family members during the holocaust.
Members of his family that survived gave testimony to Steven Spielberg for his movieSchindler’s List,
Mikey and MRFFare 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 (420 in total) of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) are Christians. In fact, 96% of our 56,700+ soldier clients are mainline Christians and we fight for them more than any other belief or non-belief.
We also have many distinguished and honorable military members (including Christian Chaplains and religious leaders) on our Board and Advisory Board whom we rely on for their expertise on religion in the military.
Check out our Mission statement.
The laws concerning the military (government entity) and civilian life are different. For anyone to say they are the same is false.
As defenders of the Constitution we fight for the separation of church and state.
“…but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” (Article I, III)
This means that from the President to Congress to the military – no one’s job is based on their religion.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion (Establishment Clause), or prohibiting the free exercise thereof(Free Exercise Clause).”(First Amendment)
TheEstablishment Clausemeans 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.
TheFree Exercise Clause(which is subservient to the Establishment Clause) means that our soldiers are free to exercise any religion they want 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 ofthemselvesand 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 ClausejurisprudenceinReynolds v. U.S.,98 U.S. 145 (1878). In that case, thecourtexamined 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 Clauseby law.
The Supreme Court heard theLemon v. Kurtzmancase in 1971 and ruled in favor of theEstablishment Clause.
Subsequent to this decision, the Supreme Court has applied a three-pronged test to determine whether government action comports with theEstablishment Clause, known as theLemon 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
 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
To place the Christian god above all others in the military is in violation of the Separation of Church and State codified in the Constitution (1878), Reynolds v. U.S., Lemon v. Kurtzman, the Lemon Test and Parker v. Levy.
“Actually, the original tradition of the table was started by the River Rats, the group of Vietnam combat pilots who began this tradition in 1967, did NOT include a Bible, and neither does the American Legion’s version, which sticks to the original tradition. The Bible wasn’t added until over three decades later, when the VFW Ladies Auxiliary published a new version in a 1999 issue of their magazine that added a Bible. So, if you want to honor the original tradition, it would NOT have a Bible.”Chris Rodda  Research Director for MRFF
Jefferson wrote the Statute of Religious Freedom, whose preamble indicted state religion, noting that “false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time” have been maintained through the church-state. To “compell a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.”
In hisNotes on Virginia(1782), Jefferson wrote: “Millions of innocent men, women and children since the introduction of Christianity have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned. Yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one
half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. . .”
The Treaty of Tripoli was signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796.It was submitted to the Senate by PresidentJohnAdams, receiving ratificationunanimouslyfrom the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797, and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797;a mere 8 yearssince our Constitution went into effect. If what was written was wrong in anyway, there would have been uproar. But, it passed unanimously and confirmed that America was not founded on Christianity.
Treaty of Tripoli:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
                              
The Constitution reflects our founder’s views of a secular government protecting the freedom of any belief or unbelief.
The historian, Robert Middlekauff, observed, “The idea that the Constitution expressed a moral view seems absurd. There were no genuine evangelicals in the Convention, and there were no heated declarations of Christian piety.”
“The Salem witchcraft was the rock on which the theocracy shattered”. George Lincoln Burr (1857– 1938), Professor of History and Librarian at Cornell University
“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787
“History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”
Thomas Jefferson: in letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813
“The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” 1787-1788
“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
George Washington, letter tothe United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789
Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

“The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
James Madison, 1819, Writings, 8:432, quoted from Gene Garman, “Essays In Addition to America’s Real Religion”

“Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.”
James Madison; Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations, EcclesiasticalEndowments
“God has appointed two kinds of government in the world, which are distinct in their nature, and ought never to be confounded together; one of which is called civil, the other ecclesiastical government.”
Isaac Backus, An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty, 1773
“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.
What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.”
James Madison 1785 Memorialand Remonstrance against Religious Assessments
“Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;”the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”
As Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
The Unites States is not a theocracy and according to our Founding Fathers the Constitution is not based on Christianity or biblical law.
When the military oversteps the bounds of case law and military regulations and our service members contact us, then, and only then do we step in.
Joan Slish
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Response from MRFF supporter Susan Zanol
On Jul 22, 2018, at 9:45 PM, Susan Zanol wrote:


Mr. (name withheld),
You asked what kind of organization would be motivated to do what was done with the Bible at the Wyoming Air Force Base. The answer is, a very patriotic one. Why? Part of what the MRFF does is to act as a watchdog to ensure what our Founding Fathers called separation of church and state, specifically concerning the members of our military. The Bible on a Fallen Comrade table meant to honor All of the missing and fallen, implies that only Christian military members are worthy of remembrance. Perhaps that is what you believe. If so, you are wrong. There are many members of the military who are not Christians. Have you considered how they must feel walking by one of these tables? I know plenty of empathetic Christians who agree that the Bible should not be on these tables. The removal of the Bible in no way prevents the exercise of ones faith
Removing the Bible has nothing to do with revenge. It has everything to do with truth. That is the truth set forth by by the writers of  our Constitution who included “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..”  Bibles on Fallen Comrade tables clearly violate this.  Do some research and reconsider, please. Removing the Bible was absolutely the right thing to do. I commend Mr. Weinstein for having the courage to initiate righting this wrong.
Sincerely,

SUSAN P. ZANOL, Lt Col, USAF (ret)
MRFF Supporter


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

On Jul 22, 2018, at 7:46 PM, Mike  wrote:

Dear (name withheld)

Your rather longwinded dissertation, filled as it is with an arrogant presumption poorly disguised as a pretense at sympathetic understanding, is actually quite tiresome. There is nothing in it but a lecture from one who reeks of self-satisfaction to one about whom he knows nothing but nonetheless feels entitled to disdain.

You have encouraged our “honesty” in response. The implication is vile. What you’ll find is that we always respond honestly. Something else you have not taken the time or trouble to understand, because to do so is to invalidate your premise, is that Mikey’s experience and that of his family at the Academy didn’t make him the blunt anti-Bible and anti-Christian instrument you hypothesize. What it did was sensitize him to the danger not only to his family but to our country inherent in the hyper-Christian zealotry that undergirded not simply the evident anti-Semitism at the Academy and elsewhere, but also the intolerance it created toward anyone audacious enough to fail to bow to Christian dominionism.

So the answer to your inauthentic interest about “who or what kind of organization” would do “what was done with the bible at the wyoming (sic) afb” is that Mikey Weinstein formed the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and dedicated himself and his organization to protecting the religious freedom of the women and men in the U.S. armed forces. It is done by protecting the separation of church and state, so that no arm of the U.S. Government is found to be promoting, favoring or proselytizing, overtly or inferentially, in support of one belief system over the many others in existence.

And please spare us the attempt at historicity. “The Holy bible has a testimony that stands on its own and is ageless.” Really? Can the same not be said of the Koran? Some hold that true of the Book of Mormon, as well. Or the Torah? And what of the records of the Eastern faiths or those of indigenous peoples? You give yourself away, Daniel, in your pretense at “honest debate.” You put yourself forward as one who ‘knows God,’ but your self-puffery suggests you need some more knowing.

The Bible has been properly removed from the tribute tables in question because those to whom tribute is being paid are women and men of many faiths and some of no faith at all. The original version of these tables quite properly did not include a religious tract of any kind. It is insulting and hypocritical in the extreme, not to mention illegal and contrary to military regulations, to add one.

Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)


Response fro MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere

On Jul 22, 2018, at 6:13 PM, John Compere  wrote:

Mr. (name withheld),
 
Please be advised the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is an American non-profit constitutional rights organization (80% of us are Christians) dedicated solely to ensuring the right of military members to freedom of religion (to which all Americans are entitled under our American Constitution) is respected & protected. We currently represent over 56,000 (96% of whom are Christians) military men & women who requested our assistance. For this advocacy on their behalf, MRFF has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 7 times.
 
The US Constitution prohibits our government or its representatives (which includes the military) from endorsing or promoting a religion or religious scripture. The military mission is to defend our nation against its enemies – not endorse or promote a religion or religious scripture. The military service oath is to bear true faith & allegiance to the Constitution – not to a religion or religious scripture. Military chapels are available for those who chose to worship & military chaplains are available for those who seek spiritual support.
 
There is no uniformity in religious beliefs. American Christianity, for example, has over 2,000 vastly different varieties (World Christian Encyclopedia). The military publishes an official list of recognized religions for the military alone that currently includes 221 different belief groups (US Department of Defense). Whose beliefs are the true ones – mine, another person’s or yours?
 
“The” Holy Bible does not exist – only copies of copies of copies of copies, etc, changed & corrupted by clergy & scribes over the centuries to conform to human doctrines & dogma. There are no original texts – only countless different versions from copied copies (ancient foreign hearsay many times removed). Whose version is the true one – mine, another person’s or yours?
 
Our many Christian & few non-Christian clients do not want the religious beliefs or religious scripture of someone else imposed upon them in the military workplace interfering with their military mission & military duty. MRFF respects their right to American Constitution freedom of religion & protects it with pride & patriotism (when requested). They have & deserve the right & freedom to determine, enjoy & practice their own beliefs just as you, me & all Americans.
 
“God enters by private door into every individual.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (American Essayist)
 
“Man is the Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion – several of them.” Mark Twain (American Philosopher)
 
“We were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not.” – Ronald Reagan (American President).
 
Most Sincerely,
Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam)
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2018 6:09 PM
To: Joan Slish
Subject: Re: removal of bible at wyoming afb

 

Dear Joan,

The simple question that comes to mind then is how long before your organization begins action to edit the Declaration of Independence?

 

Best Regards!

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Joan Slish

On Jul 22, 2018, at 5:27 PM, Joan Slish  wrote:

Are you serious?

It was the Supreme Court that made those rules in 1878, 1971 and 1974.

MRFF wasn’t even started until 2005.

The Declaration of Independence from the British was ratified on July 4, 1776. How would you like us to edit it? Please come back and take over our country? Please tax us as much as you want without letting us have a say? Please make the only official religion in America Anglican?

Your simple question is just that…simple nonsense.

Joan Slish


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. Todd

    The MRFF only represents .002%
    of those military veterans, current active duty, reserve and civilian DOD personnel that agree with removing the Word of GOD. Why are we letting these minute (adjective) groups of individuals cram their beliefs down the majority’s throat. The majority rules, always has, always will. I served proudly in the military and am a Desert Storm Veteran. It is sad to see military leaders making decisions based on a few minute numbers. This shows how our country has regressed. I can assure you that the majority does not agree with your foundation including those great men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country so that misinformed individuals such as MRFF have the freedom to express their lack of common sense.

  2. Franklin Tharp

    Well, to quote a very well known ancient philosopher – “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.” – Commander Spock, Starfleet Command

  3. Grey One talks sass

    There is also this pesky document called The Constitution and Bill of Rights. Obviously neither commentor nor letter writer has read it.

    If the Christian Bible is on the table then included MUST be a book from all other faiths and a book of science for those of no religious faith. Not sure the table is big enough for all that. Or, better still, let’s leave faith where it belongs- within the person – and leave the books of the table. You know, follow the rules.

  4. Franklin Tharp

    So sorry Grey One,
    But there is no law that says I have to keep my faith within myself! I have a right to express my faith in public as I wish, whether be a flash mob in a Chick Fil-A or preaching on the sidewalk to the bumper sticker on my car.

  5. Mark Sebree

    Franklin Tharp,

    Assuming that you are not a member of the military or any other government branch, you are correct. By the same token, nobody is beholden to your religion and you do not have the right to impose it on anyone.

    However, if you can be seen as an agent or representative of the government at any level, whether a member of the military, public school school administration, or other capacity, there are laws that basically tell you to keep your faith and beliefs to yourself while you can reasonably be seen as a government representative or agent. These laws derive from the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In the military, they include the UCMJ, DOD regulations, and your service branch regulations, which are the law for you. This is in part to recognize that all religious beliefs, including not believing in any religion, are equal in the eyes of the law, as well as to prevent or mitigate the frequent abuse of power that the very religious tend to engage in when they have power over the general public or subordinates.

  6. Franklin Tharp

    Mark,
    As a public school teacher you can have a bible on your desk and you are free to share about your faith if a student asks you about it. A public school teacher you do not gift up your freedom of religion once you pass through those doors of a school.

  7. Mark Sebree

    Franklin,

    Actually, as a public school teacher, you cannot have a Bible on your desk, since that gives the impression of government favoritism towards a specific religion, and religion over non-religion. You also cannot really talk about your faith, particular to the class as a whole, for much the same reason..

    As an agent of the government, you do give up some of your rights in specific circumstances, like a public school teacher while in a position to be viewed as such. The applicable laws are the ones that restrict government action, not protect individual freedoms.

  8. Grey One talks sass

    Christian Nationalists – they always assume a Theocracy means their religion will be The One everyone must follow.

    Franklin claims as a public school teacher they can place their bible on their desk. I’m going to bet if a Satanist or Witch tried to do such a thing people like Franklin would lose their collective brain.

    It’s all brainwashing until it’s your load of laundry – amirite?

  9. G

    Mr. Tarp, if you are so concern about the few dominating the many, you get involved in getting money out of politics by business leaders and wealthy people due to the Supreme Court ruling that corporations are people when in reality they are not. It is not right that the 1% of this country is determined to make life better for themselves at the expense of the society.

  10. Franklin Tharp

    Mark and G,
    Yes, public school teachers can have a bible on their desk which does not violate the so called Establishment Clause.So says the Alliance Defending Freedom
    http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/9335

  11. Grey One talks sass

    Lol really? The ADF is all you have?

    This is the group that says they are fighting for religious freedom except their actions and rhetoric prove they only want to oppress anyone who does not worship as they do. Or looks or loves or… you can fill in the blanks.

    Franklin, you’ve been deceived but since the ADF hates the same people you do it’s not that big of a deal. Otherwise you wouldn’t be citing them as a reference.

    Honestly!!! I needed a laugh today. Thanks.

  12. Mark Sebree

    Franklin,

    Everything that Grey One says is accurate. You might want to actually look at a group that has a track record of winning cases, rather than one that coerces people and local governments to pursue lawsuits that they cannot afford, without telling them that these people and local governments will be liable for the plaintiffs’ legal fees when they lose. Meanwhile, ADF (better named “Alliance Dismantling Freedom”) uses these cases to lie to people, usually through omission, feed the evangelical christian persecution complex, and make money off of the rubes while spending as little as possible on the cases they take up.

    You might try looking at what the winner’s say, or what the judicial decisions on the cases actually are.

    A teacher can have a copy of the Bible IN (not on) her desk, and she can read it during her free time away from the students. There is no honest reason why she should have a Bible on her desk.

    https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/religion-in-public-schools/
    While I disagree with some of the content presented in this “FAQ”, the statements about the laws are generally correct to the best of my knowledge.

    https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/faith-matters/2015/02/02/jesus-sign-is-a-no-go-in-public-school-classroom

    FFRF and ACLU are good sources, mainly because they usually win.

  13. G

    Well said, Mark Sebree and Grey One. How do ya’ like them apples, Tharp?

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