Removal of religion from our ranks

On Apr 14, 2019, at 1:21 PM, (name withheld) wrote:

I find it interesting as a soldier for our great country that none of our leaders ever ask what they would like to have.  I’ve noticed that where I once found a Bible on the POW tables on bases once sat that a Book of Faith is now placed. It feels to me that you have become as Isaiah states bringing wind and confusion to our ranks.  I don’t wish to attack or denigrate, but it appears to me that anyone asking for explanations receive open attacks in retaliation pasted all over your website. What I’ve seen shows a genuine concern from your constituents that in turn brings scorn and destruction rather than a true adherence to any belief or Faith.

I hope and pray you could provide a professional response without the need to destroy what you deem an attack and injustice. I’m a simple Christian soldier seeking only to understand why you would take such a defensive stance, when you seek to quote the Constitution I defend, yet would remove people’s constitutional rights to religious expression trying to convince everyone that this is the only way to appease all. I’m a very tolerant person and believe that any religion that betters a person is in turn helping that individual. In attempting to be politically correct you would in turn insult and attack rather than help in a situation. A gentleman in the Middle East taught me that religion in and of itself teaches peace and tolerance yet here we find ourselves attacked for simply trying to understand why we are attacked as Christians to appease the rest of the nation founded on Christianity.

Sincerely

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein

From: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]militaryreligiousfreedom.org>
Date: April 14, 2019 at 1:50:34 PM MDT
To: (name withheld)
Subject: Re: Removal of religion from our ranks
(name withheld), I appreciate your attempt to be professional and courteous… Yet you insult me and millions of your fellow citizens by claiming that this country was “founded on Christianity“… Literally NOTHING could be further from the truth… A statement like that reminds me of the famous statement that “fish in an aquarium never see the water“, good sir…

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere
From: John Compere
To: (name withheld)
Cc: Military Religious Freedom Foundation <[email protected]militaryreligiousfreedom.org>
Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2019, 6:02:02 PM CDT
Subject: Fw: Removal of religion from our ranks
(name withheld),
There are many reasons why it is wrong as well as unlawful for evangelical Christians to put their religious scripture version in the middle of non-religious American POW/MIA dinner table displays at government facilities to publicly proselytize their private religious beliefs without lawful authorization. Here are a few –
 
It is illegal & wrong because it (1) disobeys the US Constitution, established law & military regulations, (2) distorts the original historic non-religious purpose of POW/MIA remembrance by promoting their religious scripture version, (3) distracts from POW/MIA remembrance by promoting private religious beliefs not shared by all POWs/MIAs, military members or Americans, (4) disregards normal dinner table settings that do not include religious scripture versions, & (5) disrespects millions of American military & civilians who are not evangelical Christians.
 
If you are really sincere in your inquiry, attached you will find my detailed explanations regarding the secular POW/MIA dinner table displays, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (80% Christians), & the 62,000+ military men & women (95% Christians) we represent at their request in the war on military religious freedom we are fighting. Hopefully, you will find them helpful.
 
Most Sincerely,
 
Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Military Religious Freedom Foundation Advisory Board Member

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere

On Apr 14, 2019, at 5:27 PM, John Compere  wrote:

Also, (name withheld), your conclusion stating our nation was “…founded on Christianity” has no basis in fact, history or law. The USA was founded on secular republic principles not sectarian religious ones. Please see the third attachment.
MRFF(POWMIA table displays).pdf
MRFF(WaronMilitaryReligiousFreedom).pdf
MRFF(Constitution Day).pdf

From: (name withheld)
To: John Compere
Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2019, 9:05:11 PM CDT
Subject: Re: Fw: Removal of religion from our ranks
Thank you for your response and the info. I’m very thankful for the nonsecular goals which our founding fathers aimed to achieve.  I was just disappointed there was no real ill intentions in the removal of the Bible yet another form of religious book placed there. I can see removing all forms and perhaps having a fire of library allowing a choice of religious literature made available without placing anything on the table
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

On Apr 15, 2019, at 3:39 PM, Mike  wrote:

Hi (name withheld),

 

I came in late, so I’ll start from the beginning and thus try to avoid the implications of the tete-a-tete between you and Mr. Weinstein.

 

I’m unclear about the meaning of your first sentence. To which ‘leaders’ are you making reference? In my experience, political leaders ask all the time, mostly using generalities, except when they’re asking for money. I’ve found that military leaders don’t usually ask, they command. But your point escapes me.

 

In your second sentence you refer to the placement of a Book of Faith on a POW/MIA table where you once found a Bible and followed that with a personal slight aimed at Mr. Weinstein through the use of a Biblical reference. You quickly attempted to deny the personal slight was a personal slight and then, because it undeniably was, reversed course and attempted to defend it by asserting that people innocently asking questions about the work of the MRFF “receive open attacks in retaliation” which are then “pasted all over our website.”

 

So let’s be clear. Since I have personally responded to many messages to Mr. Weinstein and the MRFF, I’ve gotten pretty good at determining which of them are from people simply asking questions and which are attacks. Yours was snide from the get-go and subsequently asked to be taken as an inoffensive attempt to understand. As a result I will do my best to help you understand, but I’m clear that you came in loaded for bear and may well choose not to understand.

 

Your comment about the Book of Faith replacing a Bible indicates that is what set you off. To help you understand, it was an attempt at compromise by those in authority at a particular institution. I’m not sure of the details. I don’t think it is a satisfactory choice but am not sure if it has yet been fully resolved.

 

Per your fundamental question, we are indeed protecting the very constitution you claim to have defended and we are in no way removing “people’s constitutional rights to religious expression.” We are, as the Founders intended, preserving the right of everyone to her or his religious or non-religious belief by upholding the separation of church and state. Our government cannot and should not proselytize, promote or promulgate one belief system over others. I trust that’s not hard to understand.

 

Having a military installation display a POW/MIA table is certainly appropriate if they so choose. However, to add a Bible to said display, when the original POW/MIA tables and subsequent ones put up by the American Legion did not include one, is not only inappropriate but is an affront to the memory of the many POWs and MIAs who were not Christians. It is, in fact, a demonstration of insensitivity to their memory to blithely assume a Christian symbol suffices to honor the disparate beliefs of all those represented.

 

I hope this helps you understand.

 

As to your later question, asking why it is that “Christianity seems to be the only religion that is being pushed out while the rest are being accommodated?” I believe this gets to the core of your concern. I think “seems” is the operative word here; “accommodated” is another.

 

First, we have nothing against Christianity, as over 95% of those associated with the MRFF are themselves Christians. Thus, Christianity is not being “pushed out” in any way. It is being recognized as a belief system, just as are others, and should not be expected to predominate when all beliefs and believers are honored equally.

 

What in fact “seems” to be the case is that there is a sensitivity among certain Christians that sparks a defensive crouch whenever it is suggested that other belief systems deserve to be respected. Your assertion that we are “a nation founded on Christianity” when we are in fact a nation founded on the principles of the Enlightenment is an example thereof.

 

What I find, just to offer an extra thought, is that some who claim to be followers of Christ demonstrate a perhaps subconscious need for martyrdom, a need made manifest in a desire to conjure up attacks where none exist in order to luxuriate in a sense of suffering for Jesus and justify attacks on presumed non-believers as defending the faith.

 

Best,

 

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


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