Removing a bible from a display.

On Mar 2, 2019, at 6:12 AM,   (name withheld)  wrote:

You idiots have to all be democrats, on the same level as Nancy Pelosi. Put on your pink hats and go protest something trivial, and get all you can for free from hard working, God fearing Americans.
You are all a cancer on what’s right about America, and sicken me.
I wish you nothing but the worst

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein
Subject: Re: Removing a bible from a display.
Date: March 2, 2019 at 7:21:40 AM MST
To:  (name withheld)

 

(name withheld), you seem a bit upset?…not sure why?….our 14 proud MRFF client veterans who ASKED US to intervene for them at the the Manchester NH VA Med. Center are thrilled with our activism for them….…..by the way, sport, I am a registered Republican myself…and served as one of Ronald Reagan’s lawyer’s in his White House for over 3 years…..perhaps do a little homework and stop wasting my and your time before you start throwing stones, bro, eh?

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere

On Mar 2, 2019, at 8:58 AM, John Compere  wrote:

(name withheld),
 
The historic tradition of the POW/MIA dinner table display was originated by the River Rats, a group of American combat pilots from the Vietnam War, who began this remembrance of our POWs/MIAs without any religious scripture. Thereafter, The American Legion continued the remembrance also without any religious scripture. A few religionists have now disrespected this non-religious remembrance tradition & attempted to change its purpose by placing their version of religious scripture on the display to promote their version of religion without lawful authorization.
 
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation represents military men & women who requested the religious scripture of others be removed from the POW/MIA displays because it (1) disobeys the US Constitution, military regulations & American law prohibiting endorsement of one religion over all others, (2) distorts the original purpose of POW/MIA remembrance by promoting only one version of religious scripture, (3) distracts from POW/MIA remembrance by promoting only one religion, (4) disregards common dinner table settings that do not include religious scripture, & (5) disrespects all military members & all Americans who do not want someone else’s religious scripture publicly proselytized on POW/MIA remembrance displays.
 
The purpose of POW/MIA dinner table displays is to leave a place at the table for our POW/MIA comrades for when they return. It was & is intended to be about THEM. It is not now & has never been about promoting one version of religion.
 
There are at least 10,000 world religions recognized & over 2,000 vastly different Christianities with countless competing scriptures in American alone (World Christian Encyclopedia). The US Department of Defense official list of religions for only the military currently includes 221 different belief groups. If the purpose of the remembrance displays is changed to or combined with recognition of a religion, whose version of religion do we use – mine, yours or someone else’s? Who decides this – me, you or someone else? This is a good example of the conflict, controversy & contention created that disrupts military mission & duty when religionists attempt to impose their version of religious beliefs on others in the military.
 
Most Sincerely,
Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Advisory Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation (over 80% Christians)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Martin France
From: Martin France
Date: Sat, Mar 2, 2019 at 10:12 AM
Subject: Fwd: Removing a bible from a display.
To: (name withheld)

Dear (name withheld),

Thanks for your (nearly) monosyllabic diatribe.  You might find this hard to believe, but I do not consider myself a democrat and, in fact, have only voted for a democratic presidential candidate one time in my nearly 60 years of consistent respiration.  In fact, I’m now on the MRFF’s Advisory Board and as such occasionally take the time to respond to screeds like yours.  The content below addresses, I hope, some of your concerns and should explain our position on the issue.  Here goes:
I recently retired after 37+ years of active duty service in the US Air Force.  (You don’t mention your service to our nation, so I’ll assume you did not and have little or no perspective in that regard)  With respect to the MRFF’s support of the effort to remove the Bible from the POW display, I’d like to discuss the Golden Rule–one of the most common tenets found across all virtually all religions and an near-universal call for empathy and understanding… hopefully even for the “god-fearing” Americans you mention.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Let’s now ask how you, as (apparently) a devout Christian would want to be treated by those of other faiths.  If you lived in a neighborhood or worked in a unit in which the vast majority of the others with you were NOT Christian–possibly Muslim, Jewish, LDS, or even Atheist.  My guess is that you would be very happy to be in the United States where our Constitution would specifically prevent those others from imposing their views on you or coercing you to practice or believe as you do.  You’d also be happy  that they could no insinuate their views on you or your family by forcing the unit or neighborhood to adopt and display symbology unique to their views in common areas in which you conduct your daily business.  My guess is that any actions such as I describe would be taken very negatively by you and your fellow minority members and that you would search for a way to assert your rights to not only practice your religion, but also to be free from the daily drumbeat of their coercive efforts.  Please, just TRY to put yourself in those combat boots for a few minutes.
The Golden Rule.  You would ask and request that those “others” respect your rights and allow you to do your job without being judged based on your personal, private, and Constitutionally-guaranteed rights.
The Bible on the POW table (or the Bladensburg Cross currently in the news) violates your (and virtually everyone’s) Golden Rule.  It assumes that all who honor POWs and ALL POWs and MIAs believe that the Bible and Christianity are necessary and sufficient conditions for honorable service and veneration–that this religious perspective is superior to all others and the sole representative written artifact validating service and sacrifice.  My guess is that Muslim veterans would disagree with this and find such an assumption abhorrent.  As an Atheist myself, I find that view demeaning and discriminatory because I know of many great “Atheists in Foxholes” with whom I have served.
So, what should we do?  We can’t practically put a full bookshelf of ALL available religious texts on the table.  We shouldn’t completely ignore the spiritual aspect of strength that some find critical to their service either.  So, I’d suggest the following…  Let’s put a blank, untitled journal or diary on the table, with a pen nearby.  The journal can serve as a symbol of the strength of ideas and words that sustain us all.  Those that would choose to honor the table, could also leave their own personal message of tribute in the journal–religious or not according to their own tradition.  Then, in my view, none would be offended, excluded, or diminished–and all could honor our POWs/MIAs.  And, if that is not acceptable, then by far the best possible compromise would be to simply put a bound copy of our Constitution on table, for THAT is the written document and set of ideas for which all those that serve sacrifice, and for which our POWs and MIAs have ALL given so much.
Sincerely,
Marty France
Brigadier General, USAF (Retired)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
On Mar 2, 2019, at 5:43 PM, Mike  wrote:

Hi (name withheld),

Well, you’ve made it clear what side you’re on, but you’ve also made it clear you don’t know much about us.

I’m not sure you know anything about the freedom of belief in this country, but if you’d like to talk about it, please drop us another line. As it is, I get that you’re angry, confused, full of hatred and intent on lashing out at people you don’t know on the basis of your own sad, tired assumptions.

That’s pretty pathetic. But please feel free to get back to us, but this time please at least try to be more clear about what’s bugging you.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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