Military religious freedom

Hypocritical, it is freedom of religion that is guaranteed in the constitution not freedom from religion. Most religions and especially Christianity require the spreading of the good word. You violate that constitutional right of religious practice in your mission statement. My Brothers and Sisters in arms do not need your religious interfearence and unconstitutional clamor.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Martin France
On Jun 15, 2020, at 10:41 AM, Martin France wrote:
Dear ( name witheld)
Thanks for your note.  As a member of the MRFF Advisory Board, I occasionally answer email for Mikey.  In this case, I’d like to make it very clear and quick:  while we understand that many religions expect their members to spread the word (i.e., evangelize) and the Constitution does cite religious practice as a fundamental right, Congress and the Supreme Court also acknowledge that it is fully appropriate and allowable for the government to limit some aspects of religious practice in the military and government civilian employee workplace.  One of the best examples of this can be found in Air Force Instruction 1-1, paragraphs 2.11 and 2.12.
If you read this, you’ll see that a commander can’t evangelize their subordinates and can’t discriminate against them for their own particular beliefs.  You would be free to practice your religion on your own time and in the appropriate place, but doing so in the military workplace (except for visiting chaplains or reading the Koran behind a closed door in your own office, as examples) is not allowed.  The DoD and all other services have similar guidance.
Here’s an excerpt:
2.12. Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause. Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.
With your Army experience, you can probably imagine how difficult it would be to be assigned to a commander with a completely different set of beliefs than you–Muslim for example.  How would you feel if he or she started every staff meeting with a prayer to Allah complete with a prayer rug?  What if he/she stopped operations for daily prayers or expected everyone in her/his organization to fast during Ramadan?  That happens in theocracies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but is not allowed in the US and most other Western democracies.
Again, thanks for your note–and your service.  If you have any questions, please let me know.
Sincerely,
M France
Brig Gen, USAF (Retired)
MRFF Advisory Board

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
On Jun 15, 2020, at 12:05 PM, Mike  wrote:

 

Hi (name withheld),
 
Hypocrisy is a two-way street. Are you suggesting that if one is given the freedom of choice as to her or
his religious preference or belief, she/he has no right to believe in none? What kind of freedom is that?
 
Your “especially Christianity” comment suggests other beliefs aren’t as strongly inclined to spread the
“good word.” How, exactly, do you define the “good word,” and how do other faiths fail to spread it, in
your view?
 
We support the Constitution in all respects, apparently more than you understand. Your “Brothers and
Sisters in arms” are our staff, clients, supporters and champions. Any difference between you and them
is probably only that they know how to spell interference.
 
Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)

Response from MRFF Board Member John Compere
On Jun 16, 2020, at 7:04 AM, John Compere  wrote:
First & foremost, thank you for your past military service.
 
Please be advised the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is the only American non-profit constitutional rights organization dedicated solely to protecting the right to religious freedom of our military men & women from those who do not respect that right. To date, we have represented almost 70,000 of your “Brothers & Sisters in arms” (95% are Christians) who requested our assistance. We will proudly & patriotically continue to do so as long as there are those who do not respect the right of our military men & women to determine, enjoy & practice their own religious or non-religious beliefs. For this pro-bono advocacy, the Foundation has been officially nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 7 times.
 
For your information, the US Constitution (Article VI) prohibits any religious test for public office – separating religion from government & protecting government from religion. The 1st Amendment provides our historic trinity of religious liberties – (1) freedom from government established or endorsed religion, (2) freedom of religion or no religion, & (3) freedom for religion speech. It separates government from religion & protects religion from government. This is known as American separation of church & state lawfully established over 2 centuries ago. Even Jesus separated religion and government (see Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17).
 
Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation (over 80% Christians)

Actually I am a Chaplain and a very strong Christian believer, and yes I make mistakes like spelling errors. I don’t believe that other religious organizations fail in spreading their word but your organization tries to prevent all of that. I have to say that one of the best things that happened to me was recieving a Bible at the Korean airport before I left for Iraq and your organization would have that situation stop. By the way there were probably ten different religious organizations there giving out reading materials. All of us thought that they were great even if we were not interested. I wrote you because my religious beliefs allow me to talk to anyone about God and anyone has the right to say they are not interested but you do not have the right to stop me. The constitution does not support the supression of religion but in fact supports the expression of religion. Thank you and God bless.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
On Jun 20, 2020, at 1:33 AM, Mike  wrote:

(name withheld),

 
You’re a chaplain. That’s nice. We just represented over twenty chaplains in a dispute. Did you happen to hear about that?
 
You’re also a “very strong Christian believer.” That’s also nice. Over 95% of our staff, clients and supporters are Christians.
Did you happen to hear about that?
 
I suspect you’re guilty of selective hearing. You accuse us of spreading atheism which is false. You claim our organization is
‘trying to prevent’ religious organizations from “spreading their word,” which is also false.
 
You claim that “one of the best things that happened to” you “was receiving a Bible at the Korean airport” before you left for
Iraq and our organization “would have that situation stop.” What in the name of God are you talking about? Why would we
care if you got a Bible? We don’t care if you get a dozen Bibles, Russell. And we don’t care if you give those Bibles to
members of the military who ask for them.
 
What we do care about is that you do your religious teaching and preaching in the proper time, place and manner according to military regulations. Time, place and manner, Russell. Them’s the rules. And it’s not about our being against religion, it’s about
our seeing that the laws and regulations ensuring the separation of church and state be honored so that no one feels forced
to accept the imposition of unwanted proselytization.
 
The constitution is neutral on religion; it supports the freedom of each individual to believe as she or he chooses.
 
Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)

 

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1 Comment

  1. Jeff

    Name Withheld is obviously intent on promoting false information about MRFF’s policies and actions. Trying to reason with such a person by presenting facts and the actual laws is therefore fruitless.

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