From:  (name withheld)
Date: March 1, 2019 at 10:24:48 AM MST
To: [email protected]org
Subject: AMERICA
Just saw what you deranged people are trying to do with a WWII Bible on display in Virginia. I have fought for this country as did my Father ,his Father and most of my family. I am 8th generation in America and can clearly see your organization is a problem with a self serving agenda. You are, as other organizations and people are trying to do is deny American Citizens the Freedom of Choice, Religion and the ability to pursue a good life for ourselves, family and friends. You have NO right to tell me or any one else what we can see and do. It is clear that you feel threatened by any one that doesn’t believe in your perverse agenda. You are no better then the terrorists that kill and destroy in the name of their religion and beliefs.   If you do not like the Bible on display.. DON’T LOOK AT IT !!!  You people are sick and need to look at your own lives before judging others.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere

On Mar 1, 2019, at 11:31 AM, John Compere wrote:

Dear (name withheld),
The historic tradition of the American POW/MIA dinner table display was originated by the River Rats, a group of American combat pilots from the Vietnam War, who began this military remembrance without religious books. Thereafter, the American Legion continued the tradition without religious books. A few religionists have disregarded & disrespected this non-religious tradition by placing their religious books on the display & publicly imposing their religious choice on others without lawful authorization.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation represents military men & women who have requested the religious books of others be removed from POW/MIA displays because it (1) disobeys the US Constitution, military regulations & American law by endorsing a religion, (2) distracts from the original purpose of POW/MIA displays by promoting a religion, (3) distorts the original non-religious tradition of POW/MIA displays by inserting a religion, (4) disregards common dinner table settings that do not include religious books, & (5) disrespects all military members & all Americans who do not want someone else’s choice of religion proselytized on public POW/MIA displays.
The purpose of POW/MIA dinner table displays is to leave a place at the dinner table for our prisoner of war & missing in action comrades for when they return. It is intended to be a respectful remembrance of THEM. It is not now & has never been about other’s choice of religion.
Most Sincerely,
Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Advisory Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation (over 80% are Christians)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
On Mar 2, 2019, at 7:43 PM, Mike wrote:

Hi (name withheld),

Good for you and your father, your grandfather and most of your family. We applaud your service. But we’re concerned about your lack of understanding about our work. We’re “deranged”?

What is it that we’ve done that makes you think we have a “self serving agenda”? How in the world have you come to the conclusion that we’re trying to “deny American Citizens the Freedom of Choice,” as you put it, and also deny them “the ability to pursue a good life for themselves, family and friends”? I confess I am utterly baffled at the fact that you could come to that conclusion based on anything we’ve done.

You go on by saying we “have NO right to tell me and anyone else what we can see and do.”  (name withheld), you’ve got to clear this up for me. Where and when did we do any of these things?

And you say “It is clear that you feel threatened by any one that doesn’t believe in your perverse agenda.” Let me assure you we don’t feel threatened… well, I should add that the constant hate mail and the periodic death threats from racists, bigots, homophobes, hyper-Christian zealots and the like do bother us a touch, but it’s nothing we can’t handle. But what in heaven’s name is this “perverse agenda” you claim we have?

You think we’re “no better than the terrorists that kill and destroy in the name of their religion and beliefs”. What, pray tell, have we done to earn this fusillade of nastiness and insult?

Oh, my goodness! I think I’ve found it. Your last two lines – “If you do not like the Bible on display.. DON’T LOOK AT IT!!! You people are sick and need to look at your own lives before judging others.”

Oh, (name withheld)… Oh, dear, dear (name withheld), you poor soul.

(name withheld), my dear man, it’s not that we “do not like the Bible.” For Pete’s sake, over 90% of the people involved with the MRFF are Christians, what in the world makes you think we don’t like the Bible?

Because we are good, patriotic, law-abiding Americans, we think it’s wrong to put a Bible on a POW table because: 1) many of the POWs were not Christians, and 2) the military cannot be in the business of promoting one religion over others. That’s the law and it’s military regulations as well. The U.S. Government cannot and should not be seen to be promoting one religion over others.

Plus, you should know the original POW table, the one that started this tradition, did not include a Bible or any other religious artifact because they understood it would not be proper.

So, (name withheld), I’m sure you’re embarrassed now and feel that you’ve made a fool of yourself by judging us so inappropriately. But don’t take it too hard. We know that people sometimes let their emotions carry them away just like you did and then they end up trying to figure out how to apologize to us and make amends. But don’t worry. We’re fine. We’ll just carry on protecting the right of religious choice, of belief or non-belief, of all the women and men in the military. And we’ll think of you as we do.


Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


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