From: (name withheld)
Date: July 29, 2019 at 4:31:58 PM MDT


It is such a tragedy your organization has to devote most of your resources and time to attempt to remove Christian symbols (sometimes referred to as bigoted) from government institutions and installations.  I hear so much about how we are a secular nation. Only revisionist historians would make such a claim. Our roots are deeply embedded in Judeo-Christian heritage.  It’s just modern “Christian’s, like the atheist claiming to once be a fundamental Christian that are turning people against Christianity. Name one hospital an atheist has built. Name one home an atheist has built for the homeless (see Habitat for Humanity a Christian organization). Name one atheist response team or trailer that is yet to respond when communities are struck with disaster.  You continue to attack and try to secularize the very people who are trying to make our society better. I just don’t get it Mikey, why do you hate us so much? I almost feel like you would throw us to the lions if you could.

(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere

On Jul 29, 2019, at 7:36 PM, John Compere  wrote:

(name withheld),
Please be advised the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (80% are Christians) represents more than 64,000 military men & women (96% are Christians) who complained & requested their right to freedom of religion under the US Constitution be respected & protected. The Foundation motto is “Fighting for our service members’ rights, so they can fight for ours.” For pro bono advocacy on behalf of military members, it has been officially nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 7 times.
It is fact, history and law the USA is a secular republic – not a sectarian theocracy. The US Constitution (1st Amendment) provides out historic trinity of religious liberties – (1) freedom from religion, (2) freedom of any religion or no religion, & (3) freedom for religion speech. It prohibits our government (which includes the military) from “respecting” a religion & requires government neutrality regarding religion (neither pro-religion nor anti-religion). This has been American law for 228 years. It is also in US Armed Forces regulations.
The secular military mission is to defend our nation against its enemies (not promote or endorse a religion) & the military service sworn oath is to bear true faith & allegiance to the Constitution (not to a religion). The military must remain neutral regarding religion by law, regulation, tradition & necessity (neither pro-religion nor anti-religion but religion-neutral).
Like our diverse nation, the military is composed different religious & non-religious believers. No belief uniformity exists. There are 10,000 distinct world religions recognized with less than 1/3 practicing a version of Christianity & 33,820 diverse Christianities worldwide with 2,000 different Christianities in American alone (World Christian Encyclopedia). The Department of Defense officially recognizes military belief diversity with its list including 221 different belief groups. Its 2010 survey showed more than 1/3 do not practice some version of Christianity. The Department of Veteran Affairs official list for military grave emblems includes 70 different belief groups.
So you see, there is great belief diversity in the military & our military men & women want to be able to determine, enjoy & practice their own beliefs which is their inalienable constitutional right. They do not want your beliefs or anyone else’s publicly forced on them. Military chapels are provided for those who choose religious worship & military chaplains are available for those who seek religious instruction.
Most Sincerely,
Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Advisory Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
On Jul 30, 2019, at 1:22 AM, Mike wrote:

Hi (name withheld),

You misunderstand. Why do you choose to do that?

I agree with you that it’s tragic that we have to remind people that the government – and that includes government entities like a VA hospital – cannot and should not be promoting one particular faith or belief system over others. You’d think any good American, no matter what her or his belief system, would understand that in order to properly honor the freedom of religious or non-religious choice for all of our people the government can’t be in the business of promoting, suggesting, or implying that one belief system is the “right” one, or is  preferable to all the others.

Wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you understand that? And freedom of religious belief certainly includes non-belief, doesn’t it? I mean that’s only logical.

But to my point about your choice to misunderstand: You seem to have a beef with atheism. Of course, it’s your right to have whatever belief you choose, but why do you leap to the assumption – incorrect, by the way – that the MRFF is an atheist organization or that all the people associated with our work are atheists?

And why would it trouble a thinking person to have us point out that it’s inappropriate to have a specific religious viewpoint being promoted by a governmental organization? I certainly don’t want to imply that you’re not a thinking person, but I am troubled by your logical leaps.

For example, what makes you think Mikey hates you? That’s just silly. And what makes you think anyone who supports the freedom of religious or non-religious choice is an atheist? That’s… that’s sort of nuts.

I do hope you’ll calm down a bit, (name withheld), and think through the issue. Once you do, you might just find out that wanting religion and religious expression and religious artifacts kept separate from our government so that everyone feels that their right to believe as they choose is protected, is a very American position.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)

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  1. An Old Soldier

    General Compare I wish to point out something. According to you Your organization “represents” 64,000 military personnel. I did some research and found out that as of now our military has 1.3 MILLION active duty personnel and 865,000 reserves. You only represent less then three percent of all those in the military. Your not the great force for social change you make yourself out to be. You do not represent me or my views. We are one nation UNDER GOD.

  2. Mark Sebree

    An Old Soldier,

    It does not matter how many people the MRFF represents. What matters is if the clients have a case (which they usually do).

    What’s more, because of the potential consequences for speaking out against superior officers, especially COs, XOs, and Flag ranked officers, to one’s career and one’s life, most people that have been harmed by their actions are not willing to speak up. Figure as a minimum that for every person he and the MRFF represent, at least 10 more either benefit from his actions or were also harmed and were afraid to speak up.

    Mikey and the MRFF is a force for social change, and that change is happening. Mikey represents the views of the minorities, not the majorities. He represents those without power to those who have all the power.

    We are a nation of laws who’s government derives from the will of the PEOPLE, according to our founding document, the US Constitution. No deity is mentioned in therein, and no deity is needed. We are not under your deity, nor anyone else’s. No person is beholden to any religious belief or non-belief, and no law can be primarily derived from any religion. ALL laws MUST have a secular reason and purpose, despite what far/extreme right dominionists and theocrats think.

  3. G

    Old Soldier.

    If you don’t like what MRFF does, then you can leave the USA and go to a religious theocratic state. No one is forcing you to stay.

  4. Al Terpak

    The older I get the more I’m amazed at how irrational and hateful people who espouse to being Christian go to huge lengths to attack anyone who doesn’t have their same belief system. I’ve given up long ago trying to have a logical discussion with these people since they were trained (brain-washed) from childhood and have not been able to form a rational thought pattern since High School. These are the very same people who vote for a similar party that their parents did and won’t change that because it’s too hard for them to think otherwise even if the other candidate/party is superior. It is even more galling to see how a single right-wing party has co-opted these religious bigots for the purpose of corrupting our democracy and it’s institutions all under the name of a Christian God/Jesus. Continue the good fight for all of us who believe in a true, secular Constitution and democracy. And even though I have been an atheist for a long time, I still will fight to protect their right to practice their religious beliefs even as they are trying to restrict mine.

  5. Sasha Whitefur

    The American Constitution, was inspired by The Articles of Confederation of the Iroquois Nations.

    A proud member of the Hodenonsaunee/Iroquois.

  6. Grey One talks sass

    Letter writer is purposefully blind to the charitable acts committed by Atheists. In their myopic world view only Christians do good works. They are not only wrong but wrong at the top of their Christian Nationalist voice.

    When a person opens their eyes to see good they will find it no matter the label.

    Also – the only revisionist history espoused is by the letter writer – looking at you David Barton. In my book David has some ‘splaining to do.

  7. B.B.

    I do not recall seeing any type of van with American Atheists on the side handing out food and clothing at any natural disasters.

  8. Grey One talks sass

    Aw BB, you bring a smile to my face. You said “I do not recall seeing any type of van with American Atheists on the side handing out food and clothing at any natural disasters.”

    Plenty of folks show up to help in a disaster. Mr Rogers talked about them many times. When things are bad, look for the helpers he said. That’s where the folks who don’t fit into your idea of the world will be. They help by doing the correct thing without expecting anyone to believe as they do.

    It’s not surprising you don’t see them, blinded as you are by that plank in your eye. Perhaps some time reviewing yourself in front of a mirror would be beneficial?

  9. RC

    B. B.

    So, because YOU don’t see it, it doesn’t happen?

    Wow, you just redefined the scientific process. Stop the presses!

    FYI, I am a staunch, PROUD Atheist, and I give to charity and donate my time when I am able. I live my life by the golden rule of treating others how I would want to be treated. I help my fellow man out. I don’t judge people who are different. Can YOU say the same buddy?

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