It Stays!

From: (name withheld)
Date: August 31, 2019 at 3:19:25 PM MDT
To:[email protected]” <[email protected]>
Subject: It Stays!

So your job is to remove the bible of a hero who was tortured .

Wow what a job you have must make you feel big and powerful.

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

On Aug 31, 2019, at 9:37 PM, Mike  wrote:

 

Hi (name withheld),

No, our job is to uphold the Constitution and the laws of this country that protect the freedom of religious or non-religious belief. It’s not about being big and powerful, it’s about honoring everyone appropriately.

We have no problem with the Bible in question. It just doesn’t belong on a table dedicated to POWs and MIAs, all of whom were not Christians. If you’d bother to look at the history of the POW/MIA tables, you’d see they were originally quite scrupulous in recognizing and honoring the fact that people of all beliefs and some of no particular belief fought for our country and paid for it dearly. We think it’s inappropriate, not to mention presumptuous, to act as if all were Christians or, perhaps, that it’s only the Christians that matter.

I hope that helps you better understand.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Martin France
From: Martin France
Subject: Re: It Stays!
Date: August 31, 2019 at 6:08:18 PM MDT
To: (name withheld)

 

(name withheld), your simple email requires a slightly more complex explanation.  While Mikey and the MRFF are happy and proud to honor the service of the veteran who owned the Bible in question and gratefully acknowledge his sacrifice, there’s more to the story.  The Bible in question sits on a table that doesn’t memorialize ONLY the veteran in question, but is a set piece meant to honor ALL POWs/MIAs.  
Now, please read this closely.  If the VA center or a local church wanted to set up a special memorial for this one service member–because of his connection to that particular VA Center or church or community–and include memorabilia from his time of service and those items included his personal Bible, then no one would have a problem with that.  Likewise, if there was a Jewish veteran honored and the display included his copy of the Torah, or a Muslim vet’s display included his Koran, or an Atheist vet’s display included a book by Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris, then that would be fine.  Any of these books might sit in the personal display along with dog-tags, letters, uniforms, etc but AGAIN they’d be representing only ONE person.
But the VA Center in Manchester NH is a government owned, taxpayer funded building and organization.  When it sets up a table to remember ALL POWs/MIAs, what’s included should represent ALL and exclude NONE.  Putting a Bible on the table would imply that ALL represented by the table are or were Christian–or that only the Christian POWs/MIAs are worthy of veneration.  Would you be okay if a Koran was there instead of a Bible?  I kinda doubt it because you’d think that a Koran doesn’t represent the beliefs of most POWs/MIAs.  If you had a family member that was buried in a national cemetery and everyone just assumed that they were Jewish and put a Star of David tombstone on their grave, would that be okay?  In both cases, the MRFF would be fighting hard on YOUR behalf to protect YOUR religious rights.
So, as I explained to someone else with a question similar to yours, leaving the Bible off of the table is like calling for a moment of silent prayer or reflection–it excludes no one and allows all to consider deep thoughts as they see fit.
Yes, it is Mikey’s job to see that the Bible in question is removed from that table and put in a more appropriate, representative place–like a memorial to its owner.  That’s what our Constitution demands because of the “establishment clause” and settled case law that prohibits preference being given to any particular religious view.  I swore to defend that Constitution for the first time more than 42 years ago and served as an active-duty officer in harm’s way several times for over 37 years (until one year ago tomorrow).  I served to protect Christians and their right to have a Bible of their own, as well as the rights of Atheist GIs who didn’t want to be converted to any religion or forced to practice a religion (as well as Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Hindus, Native Americans, etc, etc).
It’s not just a job for Mikey and the MRFF, it’s our DUTY to protect the Constitution, and frankly, everyone’s duty.  Mikey doesn’t feel big and powerful, but together with others protecting our rights and yours, the MRFF and our position demands that we act with all of the power we can to enforce our laws and protect the rights of all members of our military, present and past.  We would do the same to protect you from someone who would impose their religious views on you or your family.  I know that because more than 90% of the thousands of MRFF clients are actually Christians.
 
Sincerely,
Marty France, PhD
Brigadier General, USAF (Retired)
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere
Date: August 31, 2019 at 6:21:50 PM MDT
To: (name withheld)
Cc: Military Religious Freedom Foundation <[email protected]militaryreligiousfreedom.org>
Reply-To: John Compere

 

(name withheld),
 
Department of Veteran Affairs medical facilities are for all veterans (of many different religious & non-religious beliefs). They are not exclusive worship centers for some Christians. Religious scriptures can be placed in the hospital chapels for those who want to see, read or use them.
 
To publicly promote & endorse one religion (over all other religions & beliefs) by placing its religious scripture version on non-religious POW/MIA remembrance displays in the foyer of government facilities violates the US Constitution 1st Amendment prohibiting our government from “respecting” a religion establishment. Our secular government, which includes the DVA, is lawfully required to remain neutral regarding religion (neither pro-religion nor anti-religion but religion-neutral).
 
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, whose “job” is a non-profit constitutional rights organization representing the right to freedom of religion for over 65,000 military members & veterans (96% are Christians), does not want to “remove” the Bible, just relocate it to the chapel where religious scriptures are appropriately placed. For our pro bono advocacy “job” on behalf of present & past military members (when requested by them), the Foundation has been officially nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 7 times. Our “job” ensures military men & women have the constitutional right (like all Americans) to determine, enjoy & practice their own beliefs without having the beliefs of others publicly imposed upon them
 
Would you feel the same if the religious scripture of another religion (Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Jainism, et al) had been placed, promoted & endorsed publicly on a secular POW/MIA remembrance display in a government medical facility by the DVA?
 
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)

On Mon, Sep 2, 2019 at 9:48 AM (name withheld) wrote:

Except our country was built by Judeo-Christian principles and a country without a firm moral base crumbles.  Other religions are tolerated but they are not part of the foundation of our nation.

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

On Sep 2, 2019, at 11:15 AM, Mike  wrote:

That, of course, is hogwash. Are slave ownership, female suppression, slaughter of the indigenous and social ranking by wealth Judeo-Christian principles? Our country was formed by people of many different belief systems who profited from the Enlightenment and determined that we must, in order to properly honor all beliefs, separate the church from the state.

Your notion that other beliefs “are tolerated” but not fundamental is the basis for what is now understood as Christian supremacy, which, along with white supremacy, is part of a plague infecting too many.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


No problem put them all there but our nation is founded on Christian principles period.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere

On Sep 2, 2019, at 11:22 AM, John Compere  wrote:

It is fact, history & law our nation was created as a secular republic – not a sectarian nation based on religion. The Preamble to the Constitution provides 6 secular reasons our nation was established for “We the People”. The secular Constitution contains no deity reference and commands “no religious  test” shall ever be required for public office (Article VI). The USA was the first government in history formed without acknowledging dependency on a higher authority (monarch, deity, religion, etc.). There were no public prayers during the 116 day Constitutional Convention. James Madison reminded the delegates of its secular purpose “This is derived from the superior power of the people.” Over 80% of colonists did not belong to religion establishments in 1776.
 
This was publicly proclaimed & confirmed by our Founders in the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli, an international legal document, negotiated & prepared during 1st President George Washington’s administration, unanimously ratified by the US Senate and signed by 2nd President John Adams, notifying the world “The United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
 
The secular founding of our nation and the intent of our Founders to do so is clearly established in their early founding & governing documents as well as their writings, the originals of which are preserved in our historical archives.
 
History deniers & revisionists with self-serving sectarian agendas deliberately & dishonestly disregard our historically documented secular founding. Their unqualified & ill-conceived viewpoints are based on their personal ideology and not facts, history, law or our founding & governing documents.

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere

From: John Compere
Sent: Monday, September 2, 2019 1:45:53 PM
To: (name withheld)
Cc: Military Religious Freedom Foundation <[email protected]militaryreligiousfreedom.org>
Subject: Fw: It Stays!

(name withheld), I would also recommend for your reading “The Founding Myth” by Andrew L. Seidel (Sterling New York, 2019). It is available from Amazon. John

From: (name withheld)
To: John Compere
Sent: Monday, September 2, 2019, 12:50:06 PM CDT
Subject: RE: It Stays!

I will read the book, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to converse with me on the matter. It is nice that someone somewhere truly is passionate about our nation’s future.


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

I wish I could agree with you, but I think the facts on the ground say otherwise.

I appreciate your work in the inner city and am happy to hear you and your friends no longer experience racist behavior, but to suggest it is no longer a plague and has been reduced to a mere talking point used for political advantage is stunning.

Do Charlottesville, El Paso, the Charleston church shooting, “shithole countries,” mass incarceration, the economic divide, voter suppression, the humanitarian disaster on our southern border and nameless other current examples suggest to you that all is well? I wish it were so.

It’s nice that things are working out well for you. It’ll be nicer when it’s that way for everyone.

Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. OldSoldier

    I have read a lot of biographies of brave men who were POWs in Vietnam that suffered unimaginable horrors and hardships for years and in every one I can remember, these brave heroes talked about Faith in God getting them through their hellish ordeal. EVERY ONE. We are one nation under God. I am glad someone is finally standing up to this pathetic organization of glorified playground bullies who make demands like a spoiled child!
    Their clientele only represents less then one third of one percent of ALL active duty, reserve and other veterans.

  2. OldSoldier

    Can you imagine how much it hurt that poor old man that you want to remove that Bible that was a family treasure he kindly donated. That it a beautiful thing. Do you at the MRFF have any shame at all? That is lower then a snake as far as I’m concerned.

  3. Grey One talks sass

    Can you imagine the hurt Old Soldier asks us. Without a hint of understanding of the pain and anguish their stance causes every minute of every day.

    Old Soldier takes the internets with this clueless post.

    As you promised in your oath Old Soldier, defend the Constitution. Do your duty to the country you serve and leave your faith inside your heart.

    I know you can’t do what I suggest but I continue to hope your heart will expand to include the rainbow of others living here in the USA. We only have the one Constitution and country. As I learned from a young age, sharing is caring.

  4. OldSoldier

    Gray One listen to me that 100 year old World War II veteran is one of our greatest generation. They had the character and courage we lack today. I have been writing to WWII vets for over 20 years and have gotten over a thousand replies. Put your pea brain to work on this, over and over they mentioned how faith in God got them through the war. To me it is an act of sacrilege (look that up in the dictionary since you probably don’t know what it means) for the MRFF to dishonor our greatest generation over a Bible that in this case should really be considered something sacred. If our forefathers were alive and could see what the MRFF and people like you are doing they would roll in their graves!

  5. G

    Old Solder. The WW II veterans fought for nothing because many of them voted against their own economic interests and that of their kids and grandkids by allowing the American business leaders to send the jobs overseas, importing foreign labor to replace the American workers, busting up unions, and voting for politicians who allowed the business leaders to do these things. Many of these World War II veterans committed suicide when they lost their jobs that went overseas or were replaced by foreign workers and they couldn’t find a similar job with the same pay that they were making plus being discriminated due to their age and being American by their own fellow Americans. They help undo the social and economic policies that were created by FDR that help gave them a better life.

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