MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell Educates Detractor

From: (name withheld)
Date: February 15, 2019 at 7:06:05 AM MST
To: [email protected]militaryreligiousfreedom.org” <[email protected]militaryreligiousfreedom.org>
Subject: Seriously?

Parents like me cannot believe your organization is calling out USAFA for having Chick-Fil-A’s Rodney Bullard speak at the NCLS. Chick-Fil-A is a blockbuster company that enjoys incredible business success and treats customers far better than any of their competitors. They also do so much good for their communities during hard time and do not distinguish between who they help and who they will not help. They have gone above and beyond here in our state, even coming in on Sunday (their day off) to serve local citizens who help people recover from hurricanes. If there is something to be learned from a company business model, it is the lesson of Chick-Fil-A.  If our future Air Force Officers can glean anything from the positive and respectful values and integrity of Chick-Fil-A conveyed through this symposium, then our future Air Force will be better off in many ways. Not to mention that the cadets at USAFA far prefer Chick-Fil-A’s product to any of the on-base food establishments and, if asked, would gladly have them open a restaurant on-base. There are more Chick-Fil-A runs by car off-base on the weekends than any other. Just ask the cadets. During Acceptance Day, literally thousands of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches were purchased and brought on base as a reward for all the cadets who had just endured basic training and were longing for quality fast food that is a staple of civilian life. By far it was clear from all the nugget platters, cups, bags, and wrappers that most cadets requested Chick-Fil-A food over the food trucks on base. For USAFA to ignore the leadership message of such an admired and respected company would be a loss to the Air Force.  Anybody who criticizes any cooperation between USAFA and Chick-Fil-A for the conference, simply on account of the religious beliefs of its founder,  is barking up the wrong tree.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere
From: John Compere
Date: February 16, 2019 at 5:49:30 AM PST
To:  (name withheld)
Cc: Military Religious Freedom Foundation <[email protected]militaryreligiousfreedom.org>
Subject: Fw: Seriously?
(name withheld),
 
The US Constitution prohibits our government (which includes the military) from promoting or endorsing a religion version or viewpoint. The US Supreme Court has continuously & consistently confirmed this prohibition as the law of our land. US Armed Forces also prohibit the military from promoting or endorsing a religion version or viewpoint. The 1st Amendment prohibits our government from “respecting” a religion & requires government neutrality regarding religion.
 
The secular military mission is to defend our nation against its enemies (not endorse or promote a religion version or viewpoint). The secular sworn military service oath is to bear true faith & allegiance to the US Constitution (not to a deity or religion). The military as an institution is non-religious by law, regulation, custom & necessity (neither anti-religion nor pro-religion). Mr. Bullard publicly promotes a radicalized religious version & viewpoint that includes hatred toward fellow human beings, including members of our military.
 
Military members, like all Americans, desire & deserve to determine, enjoy & practice their own religious or non-religious beliefs. They do not want the religious beliefs of others forced upon them during their military service in their military environment. In this case, military members have requested the representation of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to protect their right to religious freedom from Bullard’s regressive religious rhetoric during their military service in their military environment at a coercive event sponsored by their military. We do so with patriotic pride & respect for our military & laws.
Problems such as these seldom arise when military leaders demonstrate intelligence, integrity & insistence on compliance with the law, regulations, oath & religious neutrality. These words of American icon John Wayne come to mind “The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.
 
Please go to http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org for more information on this matter.
 
Most Sincerely,
Brigadier General John Compere, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Military Religious Freedom Foundation Advisory Board Member

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

On Feb 17, 2019, at 1:06 PM, Mike wrote:

Dear (name withheld)

I’m sorry you find our position difficult to believe – or, perhaps, understand.

To be clear, I trust there are decent people working at Chick-Fil-A who do nice things for others. That Chick-Fil-A is a “blockbuster company that enjoys incredible business success” is not at issue here. As I trust you’re aware, Dr. Jekyll was a very successful medical practitioner.

Our objection in this matter has to do with inviting a man to speak at the Air Force Academy’s NCLS who represents a business that is known more for its history of anti-gay bigotry than for the “positive and respectful values and integrity” with which you credit it.

When the Academy invites a speaker for its National Character and Leadership Symposium there is, inherent in the invitation, a suggestion of respect and admiration for the speaker and what she or he represents. The young, need I say impressionable, women and men at the Academy who are presented with this particular speaker and what he represents are given the clear impression that this is someone whose life, character and viewpoint are not only admirable but consistent with those of the Academy and the Air Force.

If the NCLS was instead the MLMATM Symposium, the Making a Lot of Money is All That Matters Symposium, and it was held just off Wall Street, your argument might be more appropriate.

The man in question here has a right to believe as he chooses, but the anti-gay philosophy he and his company very publicly represent is not, in the view of the MRFF, a viewpoint that should be given the imprimatur of the Academy, the U.S. Air Force and, by implication, the U.S. Government.

While homosexuality is not a religion, the MRFF has widened its scope to include protection of the rights of gay and transgender women and men in the military because it is the right thing to do, but also because an anti-gay agenda is very much part and parcel of the fundamentalist Christian, or dominionist, belief system that is attempting to corrupt the Academy.

I hope that helps clarify our position for you.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Grey One talks sass

    The letter writer ended with this:

    “Anybody who criticizes any cooperation between USAFA and Chick-Fil-A for the conference, simply on account of the religious beliefs of its founder, is barking up the wrong tree.”

    No one is objecting to the founder of Chick-Fil-A’s religious views. Heinous as they are, he can worship as he sees fit.

    What i find objectionable is the company donating to Anti-LGBTQA organizations. That’s not cool. That’s Chick-Fil-A selling their product to everyone while using those funds to undermine the rights of a specific few at the same time.

    I won’t eat at Chick-Fil-A even though their sammichs, waffle fries, and dipping sauce are very nummy. The idea of my money directly funding an anti-LGBTQA organization takes away the delish factor.

    I imagine that’s the same motivation which sent clients to MRFF.

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