From: (name withheld)

Subject: Religion
Date: August 14, 2018 at 5:39:33 AM MDT


I have a question. You are saying religion should be separated from military because it fringes on people’s beliefs, but aren’t you doing the same thing. So you are saying I should not be able to say or pray in front of other Soldiers because it might offend them. That is bull crap. You and all your supporters are in fringing on my right as a Catholic to pray at anytime I want. If people don’t like it walk away or ignore it and you and everyone else quit in fringing on my right to pray at the cafeteria or on the battlefield.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere
On Aug 14, 2018, at 7:45 AM, John Compere  wrote:


(name withheld),
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is an American non-profit constitutional rights organization (over 80% Christians) dedicated solely to ensuring the right of American military members to freedom of religion to which all Americans are entitled under our Constitution. MRFF represents over 57,000 military men & women (96% Christians) who requested their right to determine, enjoy & practice their own beliefs be respected & protected without coercive interference from others, especially superiors.
The US Constitution prohibits our government (which includes the military) from promoting or endorsing a religion. Military regulations also prohibit promoting or endorsing a religion. The military mission is to defend our nation against its enemies – not promote or endorse a religion. The military sworn service oath is to bear true faith & allegiance to the Constitution – not to a religion. Military chapels are available for those who wish to worship & chaplains are available for those who seek spiritual support. Every military member has the right to personally pray as long as it does not interfere with the military mission, duty or rights of others.
Our military consists of men & women of many different faiths & beliefs. Our many Christian & few non-Christian clients do not want another person’s beliefs imposed upon them in the military workplace interfering with their military mission & duty. When requested, MRFF protects their lawful right to constitutional freedom of belief with patriotic pride & will continue to do so.
Your contemptuous criticism is misplaced. 57,000+ American military men & women do not believe their constitutional freedom of belief to be “bull crap”- nor does the MRFF.
Most Sincerely,
Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam)
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Joan Slish
On Aug 14, 2018, at 5:31 PM, Joan Slish  wrote:


Dear (name withheld),

If you pray verbally – as you’ve alluded to – in front of your buddies in the cafeteria and on the battlefield, then you’ve broken what Jesus said in Matthew 6:5-6:

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.


But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”


By doing this, YOU are infringing on the rights of others and to state that they should walk away or ignore it is ludicrous.


Bowing your head and silently praying to the Father is ok because He can read your mind.


Mikey and MRFF 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 (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.


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)


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 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


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 with more rules and regulations that have been broken, by our lawyer Donald G. Rehkopf.


Your verbal praying is a form of proselytizing and makes you a hypocrite according to Jesus.


Joan Slish

MRFF Advisory Board Member

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

On Aug 14, 2018, at 11:46 PM, Mike  wrote:

Dear (name withheld),

Ah, (name withheld), how unChristian of you. Do you misunderstand intentionally? Is your faith so weak that it is threatened by the requirements of the U.S. Constitution?

No one here says you can’t pray privately if you choose. Nor does the U.S. Constitution. But military regulations make it very clear that any officer or non-com or one in authority over others must refrain from promoting, promulgating, proselytizing or otherwise imposing his or her beliefs on subordinates.

No one here is “fringing” on your right to pray when you choose, unless you do so when you’re in a position of authority over others and they are made to listen.

So you go right ahead, (name withheld). Pray at the cafeteria or on the battlefield. That’s your absolute right. Just don’t shove your beliefs down the throat of those who may not welcome them.

Get the difference?

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)

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