Read only half of the law/amendment

A blown up plastic Santa with “God Bless America” sign is an offense?

The amendment provides for the free express of one’s religion. Putting on the uniform does not stop your right to express your opinions (covered by an amendment to the constitution, right?), even you religious opinions.

Religious freedom is a major part of the freedom in this country.

Restricting my right to express an opinion about my religious beliefs is just as wrong as trying to force your beliefs down my throat.  Yet, I would fight any day to defend your right o express your opinion.  At least you could respect my rights also.

Retired US Army Warrant Officer 3 with 21 years of service, Vietnam Veteran.

May God bless you and your staff and may you see the light of the world, Jesus Christ, the truth, the way.


Response from MRFF Board Member John Compere

On Dec 11, 2019, at 1:41 PM, John Compere wrote:

(Name withheld), first & foremost thank you for your military service.

Please be advised the US Constitution, American law & US Armed Forces regulations prohibit our government, which includes the military, from promoting & endorsing a religion on military installations except in military chapels. It should surprise no one that our military is required to comply with our laws & its own regulations. Even Jesus separated religion & government (see Mark 12:17)

We must remember this is the season of goodwill to all. The winter holidays are for military members & their families of all religious & non-religious beliefs – not just Christians.

Best wishes for the holidays.

Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)

Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)

Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation (80% Christians)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Marty France

On Dec 11, 2019, at 4:52 PM, Martin France wrote:

(name withheld), thanks for your email to the MRFF. I’m a member of the MRFF’s Advisory Board and, as such, occasionally volunteer to answer emails addressed to Mikey or the MRFF as an organization.  Let me take on yours point by point (see below in red ink).
Sincerely,
Marty France, PhD
Brigadier General, USAF (Retired)
MRFF Advisory Board Member

A blown up plastic Santa with “God Bless America” sign is an offense?
Yes, in the location where it was displayed and given the context of the display.  Yes, several can take offense at something that conflates a relatively secular, harmless, and ecumenical tradition (Santa Claus) with a military uniform of sorts and a statement at a government owned building that that government organization (namely the Dept of Defense) believes that Santa Claus thinks it’s necessary to invoke god’s blessing on America.  The implicit message here (counter to the Establishment Clause of the Constitution) is that the DoD endorses only the Christian perspective.
The amendment provides for the free express of one’s religion. Putting on the uniform does not stop your right to express your opinions (covered by an amendment to the constitution, right?), even you religious opinions.
But the amendment does not mean that a government organization can endorse a specific religious perspective.  True, you can put that exact same Santa on your front lawn and I’ll defend your right to do so.  In fact, putting on the uniform DOES limit your right to express your opinion.  You can read the UCMJ for that, or Air Force Instruction 1-1, or refer to the Hatch Act or legal opinions like Parkey v. Levy.  In all cases, military members in uniform AND even civilian government employees have legal limitations place on what they can say and do in the religious and political realm–based upon the situation, their rank/grade, and the time and place.  For example, an Atheist Brigadier General cannot hold a meeting with his subordinates telling them that he wants them to stop going to church on Sundays and that he’ll now institute a policy of mandatory organizational Sunday brunches at Applebee’s at which he explains how he believe that Religion is the Opiate of the Masses.  That would be wrong.  Very wrong.  Agree?  A Jewish officer also couldn’t mandate that her subordinates display a Menorah in the office space and ask them to participate in the candle lighting.  I can’t believe that you never faced this sort of restriction or guidance in your 21 years.  (Note:  I did, throughout my 41+ years in uniform)
Religious freedom is a major part of the freedom in this country.
I absolutely agree with you and so does everyone associated with the MRFF 
Restricting my right to express an opinion about my religious beliefs is just as wrong as trying to force your beliefs down my throat. 
  See above.  In certain circumstances, we can do the first.  We advocate for no one being able to do the latter–that’s wrong, as you cite.
 Yet, I would fight any day to defend your right o express your opinion.  At least you could respect my rights also.
We agree, and we do respect your right to have an opinion–as long as you’re a civilian, or a military member expressing your opinion in the proper context.  For example, when I was on active duty, I would’ve been court-martialed if, in the office, I had said “The President is a lying, incompetent narcissist who should be impeached.  I’m going to a rally in support of impeachment this weekend and I’m going to wear my uniform to express my support for those seeking his impeachment!”  That would’ve held true in 1998 as much as it does today.  Now that you and I are retired, we’re free to do both of these things if we so choose (or even protest on the opposite side of the argument).  Don’t you agree?
Retired US Army Warrant Officer 3 with 21 years of service, Vietnam Veteran.
May God bless you and your staff and may you see the light of the world, Jesus Christ, the truth, the way.
Even though over 80% of all MRFF clients are Christians, Ron, as is most of the staff, some of us just don’t see religion the same way you do.  We’ll defend your right to practice your religion, but what we fight is the idea that one particular religious perspective (usually expressed by those that see things as you do) isn’t seen as a necessary or sufficient condition for service in our military.  If you think that ALL members of the military should or must be Christians, or that they must subordinate themselves to Christian beliefs while they’re in uniform, then we don’t really have any common ground to move forward, do we?

 

 

 

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