You are wrong, Mickey

Military chaplains like all the rest of us have the right to invoke God and have freedom of speech. You were terribly wrong and un-American to remove their prayers from facebook. Please read more about our government.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
On Apr 27, 2020, at 9:43 PM, Mike  wrote:


Hi (name withheld),
We received your message. Your characterization of our action as “un-American” is wrong and is not appreciated.
We actually know a fair amount about our government. And we quite agree that chaplains have the right to invoke God. Not to quibble, but their freedom of speech is a bit  constrained by the fact that they are in the military. As the U.S. Supreme Court made clear in Parker V. Levy in 1974, the military is different from civilian life when it comes to the First Amendment. That’s not to suggest chaplains aren’t free to speak or pray, it’s just that military regulations impact the time, place and manner in which they do so.
In the matter at hand, as said, we agree that military personnel have every right to pray. We have no objection to prayer. We object to inappropriate proselytizing. You see, chaplains have a face book page whereon they can do all the praying and lecturing and teaching and enlightening they’d like. But that’s a separate page from that of the unit leader or commanding officer. The commander’s page may not be used to promote one particular belief system over others because doing so amounts to government endorsement of a particular faith and violates the separation of church and state.
These are the kinds of issues that sometimes create confusion. In this matter, it has clearly created great confusion, for you and others. Sadly the tone of the messages we’ve received reflect the fact that Mr. Donohue, who sent around a tract that misinformed people and mischaracterized the situation, began his tirade with a vicious lie, claiming Mikey Weinstein, the founder of the MRFF, is an “anti-Christian activist.” That false characterization, I suspect, caused a great deal of outrage and created a campaign to defend the faith.
We are not attacking the faith, nor are we opposing the chaplains in question. As you may know, the base authorities agreed with our position and removed the speeches. I don’t know if they were placed on the chaplain’s page as should have been the case, but I hope they were.
And I hope this explanation helps you better understand the situation and our position.
Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)

Thanks for your explanation. I apologize for my misunderstanding.

(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

Thank you, sir. I very much appreciate your taking the time to consider this matter.
Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)

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