Air Base Command Removes All POW/MIA Memorial Tables Rather Than Remove Sectarian Religious Branding

3/22/2020

Air Base Command Removes All POW/MIA Memorial Tables Rather Than Remove Sectarian Religious Branding

A Department of Defense contractor (and Air Force veteran) stationed at Al Udeid (Qatar) Air Base contacted MRFF President/Founder, Mikey Weinstein regarding the religious branding (Christian Bible Placement) of POW/MIA Memorial Tables located at the air base.  According to its Wikipedia entry, Al Udeid Air Base is a military base southwest of Doha, Qatar host to a forward headquarters of United States Central Command, headquarters of United States Air Forces Central Command, and the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing of the USAF.

Shortly after contacting Mikey, MRFF’s client in this instance of religious branding of a POW/MIA Memorial Table emailed the result of MRFF’s contact with the Al Udeid Air Base command regarding this unconstitutional religious messaging:

“It turns out that the MRFF has been engaged in a long discussion with the military about POW/MIA tables that recognized troops of all faiths. Recently, I noticed the displays were gone entirely. I haven’t found a notice, or policy change announcement. My assumption is that the DoD or base commander made the decision that, ‘if the display can’t have a Bible, there won’t be a display.’ It’s unfortunate that there isn’t a display honoring those gone but not forgotten, but I still feel that it’s better to have that empty space than an altar to Christianity in a military that has non-Christian members as a rising minority, especially among younger troops. 

Thank you MRFF for fighting for troops (and people like me who work with the troops in a khaki and polo uniform) who silently bear a culture that privileges Christians, and for pushing back against prominent displays of religion that exclude the rest of us. We fight for the right of freedom of religion, and your organization helps us enjoy that right.”

A Grateful Veteran

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9 Comments

  1. OldSolider

    That is despicable and blasphemous and a disgrace to all POW/MIAs. Shame on the MRFF

  2. Mark Sebree

    Old Soldier,

    While it is a disgrace, the blame lies with the base commander, not the MRFF. The Bibles have no place on a Missing Man/POW/MIA Table. It was added by evangelical/theocratic “christians” who wanted to push their own fantasy about the world. POWs and MIAs are of all religions, including Buddhism, Wiccans, atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Native American Shamanism, Humanists, and so on. Would you ignore and disrespect them by only honoring the christians?

    The Missing Man Table should honor ALL POWs and MIAs, not just the christian ones. Whats more, this was done in a foreign country with a non-christian majority. Including the unnecessary bible on the table risks alienating our much needed allies there.

    The base commander showed his true colors (yellow) and threw a hissy fit when Mikey called him on his religious favoritism. He could have just removed the bibles from the tables and otherwise left them in place. Instead, in a fit of childish pique, he took away all the tables entirely.

    Religious privilege, especially christian privilege, has no place in the military. The CO is supposed to be an educated man, Perhaps it is time for him to learn this lesson.

  3. OldSoldier

    Mark Sebree let me tell you something. I spent 25 years in the military in the National Guard and Regular Army. I was a Chaplain’s Assistant in Desert Storm. The spiritual well being of a Soldier is just as important as their physical well being. It DOES have a place in the military. We are one nation under God. George Washington prayed in the snow at Valley Forge. Eisenhower prayed in his inaugural address and included a prayer in his D Day message to the troops. Patton talked about how the chaplain plays an important role in the military. The MRFF dishonored all POWs by taking that Bible off the table. That is sickening to me how dare they? You dumb bastard religion does have a place in the military. I was a Soldier but I was also God’s servant and there are no athiests in foxholes. Did you ever serve in the military, I bet not so keep your mouth shut about something you know nothing about GOT IT

  4. Grey One talks sass

    Blah blah blah says Old Soldier, or words to that effect. To me it sounds like “All these historical figures ignored the separation between church and state so it’s ok for me to be all historical too.”

    Here, I’ll make it easy; your holy book does not belong on a table which represents the many, not the few. Got that?

    Of course you don’t because we’ve tangled before and here you are spewing the same vile rhetoric you’ve spewed before.

    You’ve become a joke Old Soldier. Learn to adapt, learn how to knit, or most importantly follow the Lord and Savior you profess to worship and learn to SHARE!

    I’ve said it before and it feels appropriate here – when one has become accustomed to privilege equality feels like persecution.

  5. Old Soldier

    Yes Gray One Who talks sass and I don’t need you to give me sermons. To me people like you are a joke. I will ALWAYS hold true to my beliefs about God and country in that order despite what nitwits like you say. That flag and the cross go hand in hand. With this terrible epidemic we need God now more then ever. I put my life on the line for my country and you as I recall didn’t answer when I asked you if you served or not. Now which one of us is the joke

  6. Grey One talks sass

    Old Soldier, I answered you all those days ago – I told you it was none of your beeswax if I personally served in the military.

    You are so hidebound I’m surprised you can still walk and talk yet here you are, continuing a months old argument. So let’s delve in, shall we?

    See, you conflate service in the military with patriotism, as if there were only one way to serve or express ones love of their country. In my book that’s binary thinking and I am definitely not a black or white thinker; grey has always been my favorite color.

    What catches in my craw after months of reflection is you lied when you took your oath of office. If I remember how the oath goes, a soldier swears to defend the country from enemies foreign or domestic, to place the country first and themselves second while in service. Many times you comment that you place your deity first and country second, meaning any battle you engaged in was not on behalf of your country but in your deity’s name. I guess as a citizen that is your right but that’s not the oath you swore to uphold.

    Also, and too, you see nothing wrong with anything I just wrote because in your mind it’s always your deity first and country second. The cognitive dissonance is so strong in you Old Soldier it could have its own gravity well.

    Bottom line – I don’t have to believe as you do. No one does. Freedom of and freedom from religion is what makes our nation great. Just don’t expect the rest of humanity to accept your fossilized ideas, we’ve progressed beyond your outdated notion of what patriotism should look like.

  7. Mark Sebree

    Old Soldier,

    25 years in the military, and you still did not learn that country comes first. I do not care that you were a Chaplain’s Assistant. You obviously did not care about the beliefs of your company, and from what you display here you endlessly proselytized and violated THEIR freedom of religion by trying to convert them to your narrow-minded and hateful beliefs.

    You may believe that “spiritual well being” is important to a person, but you obviously do not understand what it means. Trying to convert people to your beliefs violates their “spiritual well being”, and can lead to depression, anxiety, and many other ills from the stress of not having anyone trustworthy to turn to, especially in a high stress situation like combat.

    Religion’s place in the military is tenuous at best. It depends on the soldier’s, sailor’s, or airman’s beliefs, not yours.

    We are not a nation under your deity, or any other. We are a secular country, made up of people with many different beliefs and variants of beliefs. That includes atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Hindi, Buddhists, Wiccans, Satanists, and others. The government, including the military, cannot promote or disparage any religion, including non-belief.

    Valley Forge took place about 15 years before the US Constitution was ratified, and close to 20 before the First Amendment was ratified. And just because George Washington may have prayed alone in the snow does not indicate that he was proselytizing to his troops as you want today’s military to do.

    As far as Eisenhower and Patton, they were seeped in religious privilege, and their actions took place before the Supreme Court ruled on cases like Parker v. Levy, and other religious rights cases that people like you hate. They did not think of what people who did not follow their religion thought, more out of ignorance than malice. You don’t care out of malice.

    As far as the “under God” portion of the Pledge of Allegiance goes, that was added in the mid-1950’s during the Red Scare and the McCarthy Era. It was not in the original version of the Pledge as written by a Baptist minister, and it was put in to promote Christianity and religion by Congress, which actually makes it a direct violation of the First Amendment.

    The MRFF HONORS ALL POWs and MIAs by removing the bible for the Missing Man table since it represents all POWs and MIAs rather than just some of them. The bible on that table dishonors all POWs and MIAs because it dishonors the rights and freedoms that they fought for. It is saying that non-christians don’t matter, which is an un-American attitude.

    The MRFF dare because it is the right thing to do to that all POWs and MIAs are equally honored, and none are excluded.

    Religion does not really have a place in the military, whether it is like your “dumb bastard religion” or not.

    Despite your delusions, there are atheists in foxholes. There is counter examples, like Ted Williams (Baseball Hall of Famer and fighter pilot), Pat Tillman (NFL player and soldier killed in Desert Storm), Phillip Paulson (Vietnam vet plaintiff in a number of case dealing with the Mount Soledad Cross). There is also the organization called the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, which is comprised of just what it describes.

    And to answer your final question, although it is really none of your business. My grandfather and several great-uncles served during WWII. An uncle of mine was in the Navy during the Vietnam War. I served 6 years in the US Navy, including during Desert Storm. And after I got out, I spend most of my 23 year (so far) career working for various defense contractors writing software to help the war fighters. So you lose your bet badly.

    I obviously know a lot more about what I am talking about then you likely ever will, despite your greater years of service. I shall not remain silent and let evil like yours hold sway and gain power. I and others like me shall continue to fight against your darkness and hatred and intolerance to rebuild this country to the ideals under which it was founded.

  8. Grey One talks sass

    Mark, your comment brought the receipts, thank you so much.

    Old Soldier, aside from my families representatives who served I’ll tell you how I served only if to shut you up.

    Once upon a time this Grey One was a girl who found her True Love. An old Marine and a Hippy – the only love which could have lasted had to be true. Into this idealistic life crept a reminder from his time guarding super secret nuclear items he was not allowed to tell me about.

    Cancer sucks in all it’s flavors. I could have walked but I vowed before the Deity I follow I would not abandon him. There were days we both wished for his death but if you know cancer you know it doesn’t work like that.

    When everyone abandoned my Marine I stayed by his side and gave him the best and most honorable death a human can have. Eights years he lasted when the Docs said he could only expect three or four. I served Old Soldier, my time as hellacious as time spent in the trenches.

    Take your ‘one way to serve’ and shove it you old fossil.

  9. G

    Old Soldier, there are atheists in the foxholes and some people actually threw away their belief that there is a God and their religion after going through a war. If you put God before country, then you should give up your military pension and other military retirement benefits and let God take care of your basic necessities of life.

    Just because you serve in the military Old Soldier doesn’t mean you are special and have a superior claim on being an American citizen. Many Americans can’t serve in the military due to various reasons, so you can’t hold that against them. They have the same rights to give their opinions and comments just as much as you do. They have the same equal standing that you have as American citizens and as human beings.

    We need religion in the military? Well, religion in the military certainly didn’t help us in Korea and Vietnam. Those godless, atheists, Marxists commies certainly beaten us and won despite the fact that we had God on our side.

    We need God in this pandemic? Wrong Old Soldier. What we needed a long, long, long time ago was an affordable/free medical care system for everyone and an American manufacturing base that turn out medical supplies and equipment instead of American medical companies putting their factories in places like India and China. We also needed strong leaders responding to the pandemic instead of the pussies and wussies we have in the White House and in the Republican party. You are the one who is a joke.

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