July 1, 2020
On May 14, 2020 Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) and nineteen other fundamentalist Christian Supremacist/Dominionist members of the House of Representatives wrote a letter (generously littered with factual inaccuracies) to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, attacking MRFF over a string of victories on behalf of their clients:
March 22, 2020 – MRFF Demand Leads to Immediate Removal of Blatantly Sectarian Religious Proselytizing Air Force Reserve “Spiritual Resiliency” Video
April 9, 2020 – MRFF Action Leads to Immediate Removal of Sectarian Religious Video from U.S. Army Garrison- Ft. Hamilton (Brooklyn, NY) Official Facebook Page
April 20, 2020 – MRFF Demand Leads to Immediate Removal of Overtly Sectarian Religious Video from Ft. Drum (NY) Official Facebook Page
April 27, 2020 – MRFF Once Again Assists Numerous Clients in Removal of Sectarian Religious Proselytizing Video Posted to a Military Installation’s Official Facebook Page Under Cover of COVID-19 Pandemic
May 23, 2020 – MRFF Assists Clients in Rapid Removal/Relocation of ‘Marital Advice’ Sectarian Proselytizing Messages
… a string of impressive victories that ended with new social media guidelines issued by the U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains on May 26, 2020.
The May 14, 2020 letter to SecDef Esper from these 20 Christian Supremacist/Dominionist members of the so-called ‘Prayer Caucus’ of the House of Representatives expressed great frustration with U.S. Military Commanders agreeing with MRFF’s Constitutional and regulatory arguments pertaining to the application of religious freedom principles within the military’s command structure. This frustration included a demand that “This must end”:
We are growing frustrated as senior military leaders, often out of ignorance, continue to violate the religious liberty and clearly expressed, explicit intent of Congress when it comes to chaplains. Far too often, commanders react in a knee-jerk fashion to loud complaints from vocal anti-religion activists only to have their decisions immediately overturned upon scrutiny, but often only after congressional intervention pressing the Services to adhere to their own regulations (let alone the Constitution). This must end.
The U.S. Department of the Army, explicitly responding on behalf of SecDef Esper, fully supported the commander’s decisions in these matters while making a particularly obvious point of the blatant inaccuracy of describing these commander’s decisions as being “knee-jerk” reactions “to loud complaints”:
In all cases outlined in your letter, the commands that received a complaint sought assistance from their higher headquarters and the Army staff. In response to inquiries, the Army provided guidance to ensure chaplains and commands are able to continue to use social media for religious support activities in compliance with applicable laws and policy.
The congressional tantrum by the ‘Prayer Caucus’ regarding these decisions favoring MRFF’s clients in support of actual Constitutional religious freedom, as opposed to the Christian Supremacist view of religious freedom, continued in a 2nd letter to SecDef Esper on July 1, 2020 which begins:
While we appreciate the Army’s response to our letter dated May 14, 2020, we are discouraged to learn that the Army is not only standing behind the decisions of commands that have restricted the religious liberty of their chaplains and servicemembers, but the Army and the Department of Defense (DoD) are also supporting these actions and guiding commands’ responses to the aggressive demands of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and Mikey Weinstein. … [emphasis added]
This ongoing tantrum was welcomed on Fox News when GOP Congressman Doug Collins appeared on @Night w/ Shannon Bream to complain about the success on behalf of MRFF clients by “Mickey” Weinstein on the evening of July 1, 2020.
In an article for DailyKos on July 2, 2020, MRFF’s Senior Research Director Chris Rodda clearly pointed out an ongoing and oft repeated lie contained in this 2nd letter:
The letter also accuses MRFF of “anti-faith [emphasis added] claims made against chaplains,” omitting, as in their first letter, that in one of the cases in that letter MRFF’s clients were chaplains — twenty-two Christian chaplains.
But facts won’t stand in the way of these shameless Congressional Christian Supremacists.