Quick Question

From: (name withheld)
Subject: Quick question 
Date: August 15, 2018 at 12:12:52 AM MDT
 
I used to be a real churchgoer and Christian but couldn’t buy the whole “you are going to hell” thing if you don’t believe_________.  Especially because my folks (mom and step dad) weren’t Christian and my bio dad was a Mormon abusive selfish jerk of a man.
But I have found that most religions have some doctrine that is whacked.
What I don’t understand is why you have such a hard on against Christians.
I stumbled across something or other about you and your organization on YT and just did a tiny digging and BAM, you really do have an anti Christian agenda.
I mean I don’t go to church or believe the whole religion thing but it became obvious to me quick that you are not for freedom of religion but rather anti Christian.
Have you ever considered that NOBODY CARES anymore what others believe?
I mean cmon, isn’t there a better agenda to tackle?
Anyway, nothing personal and seriously, I’m just a dude who used to be a Christian and a devout one but pulled away once I read this book “conversations with God”.  It’s pretty fringe.  But nonetheless, you really do seem to be “against” more than “for”
And it’s obvious.  Wouldn’t this make you fringe too?
And yes, I didn’t check grammar or spelling because I don’t really care about that either. And I did notice you got really personal in your attack’s against a zealot who wrote you a letter.  Citing grammar and spelling….
Who cares.
Live and let live and if you are wrong, well hell it is for the both of us.  But at least until I get there, I’ll find something that makes me happy rather than miserable, which is by the way how you and your organization look.
There is a God and I am not it.  That’s my stance.
Best!
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Joan Slish
On Aug 15, 2018, at 2:46 AM, Joan Slish  wrote
Dear (name withheld),
Thank you for contacting Mikey with your question.
I don’t know where you did your research but if you did it on our website you didn’t dig hard enough.
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 57,000+ 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.
Check out our inbox and see the vile hatred and anti-Semitic emails Mikey receives on a daily basis from Christians.
We also have liaisons on almost every base in the world.
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 theEstablishment 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
AFI (Air Force Instruction) 1-1, Section 2.12:
 2.12. 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.
To place the Christian god above all others is in violation of the Separation of Church and State codified in the First Amendment by Reynolds v. U.S.; Lemon v. Kurtzman; the Lemon Test; Parker v. Levy and AFI 1-1, Section 2.12.
I have attached the in-depth formal complaint by our lawyer Donald G. Rehkopf with more rules and regulations that have been broken and have been deliberately kept out of the media.
Who cares?
Our service members care because they are being proselytized by a fringe group of Christians, being forced to go to mandatory meetings with Christian prayers, mainline Christians are told they are “not Christian enough” or “not the right kind of Christian”, given poor performance ratings, advancements withheld and some kicked out of the military on trumped up charges, all in the name of Jesus.
US Army Chaplain Major James Linzey,who, in a 1999 video, described mainstream Protestant churches as “demonic, dastardly creatures from the pit of hell “that should be “stomped out.”
Just imagine serving in our military, being a mainline Christian (not born-again) and knowing this is how they feel about you.,
We fight for the rights of all of our service members under the Constitution, case laws and the UCMJ.
I hope this answers your question but if you have more, please feel free to contact me.
Joan Slish
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
On Aug 19, 2018, at 11:59 PM, Mike  wrote:


Hi (name withheld),

For a guy who doesn’t care any more you manage to come up with some fairly odd conclusions.

Sorry your reading has led you to believe we’re more ‘against’ than ‘for,’ but I guess it depends on what you’re reading.

To clarify, we are against some things. We’re against the practices of people who insist their religious belief system is the only right one and everyone else must accept the one they’re promoting whether it suits the rest of us or not. Whether that belief system is Christian, Jewish, Islam or Hindu doesn’t matter to us.

But the fact is that the dominant religion in the U.S. is Christianity, so the one we see forced on people here happens, more often than others, to be Christian, or, to be fair, a version thereof. To be clear, the primary offenders tend to be hard-line fundamentalist Christians who are devoted to a sect known as Dominionism. These tend to be folks who have decided America is or should be a Christian Nation and its military should be Jesus’ Army.

We, on the other hand, are for freedom of belief, whether religious or not, because that’s what the U.S. Constitution and freedom of choice is about. We support the law, we support the separation of church and state and, because our focus is the military, believe military regulations protecting freedom of belief must be observed and protected.

Contrary to your perception, we have “no hard on against Christians.” In fact, over 95% of the staff, supporters and clients of the MRFF are themselves Christians. They are the kind of Christians who think forcing their religious view on others is not what Jesus had in mind.

Per your notion that “NOBODY CARES any more what others believe,” we don’t agree. We find that many people care a great deal; some care so much they are convinced that everyone else must see it their way or be damned to hell. Our experience tells us that rigid Christian fundamentalism can be a very destructive force that denigrates women and often minorities, despises the LGBTQ community, hates Jews, Muslims, atheists and others who do not accept their singular view of what is holy. And they want to rule not only this country but the world.

We have no interest in making people miserable, as you suggest, but rather are interested in promoting freedom of thought and choice, which in turn lead to happiness and self-understanding.

I hope that helps you better understand what we’re about.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

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