Walla Walla tattoo issue


I am a US Army veteran as well as a former employee of the DoD.  I sincerely doubt you will read any further than this, however I am going to put my thoughts out there anyway.  You sued and denounced the US military for “
proselytizing” against you for being Jewish and how it’s your first amendment right to be, I am amazed at your single sightedness as to how it applies.  So I lay here thinking about it, you have gone after war dead”Nazi Crosses removed from graves of Nazi POW’s” gone after Christians that say Jews are going to hell for killing Christ (I disagree) but you don’t believe that a tattoo is a person’s right?  So this officer in his youth with an advanced ground combat unit foolishly chose the Nazi SS design for sniper scout you feel it’s your right to force him to change it, how does that work?  I have a dragon on my shoulder to represent the US Tank corps but hard line radical Christian will tell you that the Dragon is an image of Satan should they have the right to force me to change or alter it?  I don’t understand why you feel the Constitution protects your right to be Jewish but no one else’s right because it offends you.  If you have read this far perhaps you can enlighten me how you have come to this conclusion.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
On Jul 17, 2020, at 1:25 AM, Mike  wrote:
Hi Soldier (name withheld),
You’ve conflated a few issues here and misunderstood others, so I’m not sure any answer will fully satisfy
you, but let me at least try to clear the air.
Nobody here sued the U.S. Military for “proselytizing against you for being Jewish.” That’s nonsense. Who is the “you” in that sentence?
The MRFF gets involved in issues when complaints come to the organization from someone who feels she or he is being discriminated against. Sometimes someone is concerned about a violation of the separation of church and state. Sometimes people contact us because they feel intimidated about making a complaint when the person committing the perceived abuse is an officer and the individual is of lower rank and fears handling it personally will result in professional grief.
Naze insignia on graves of German POWs in a U.S. military cemetery was brought to us by someone who thought it inappropriate. We investigated, agreed, took it to the proper authorities and resolved it. Do you have a problem with that?
Fundamentalist Christians who belittle and harass non-believers or those of a different religion, even sometimes Christians who are not deemed “proper” Christians, have come to us for help in many different situations. In many, if not all cases, we’ve been able to help find a solution. Do you have a problem with that?
Of course a tattoo is a person’s right. However, a Nazi symbol, such as the one in Walla Walla on a police officer who is supposed to be a public servant, can certainly cause discomfort. That symbol, by the way, was adopted by a Marine group in Afghanistan, was challenged there some years ago and was outlawed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
So when a number of individuals and groups in Walla Walla expressed concern about the tattoo to the chief of police and were rebuffed in a manner that didn’t feel right to them, they reached out for assistance to the MRFF, among others ,and we got involved. Having had some experience in the area of Nazi SS tattoos, we thought we could help.
As you may or may not be aware, after some rather strenuous back-and-forth that involved different groups and organizations expressing their positions, the officer in question decided the tattoo wasn’t worth the damage it was doing in the community and agreed to either alter or remove it. If you have a problem with that I’d suggest you take it up with him.
But when you say you don’t understand why we or someone here feels “the Constitution protects your right to be Jewish but no one else’s right because it offends you,” you make no sense. You quite literally make no sense. As I said at the outset, you have conflated some issues and misunderstood others. But what you seem to have arrived at is a false premise. No one here is promoting Judaism. No one here is promoting any belief system. Our organization is focused on protecting the rights of the women and men in the military to believe as they choose.
You don’t understand the position you’ve set out here to argue about because it is not understandable.  And it has nothing to do with the mission of the MRFF.
Now, because you have made a point about someone here being Jewish and you appear to have a problem with that, we’ll be happy to discuss that with you. But you’ll have to be more clear about just what it is that troubles you.
Finally, we have no problem with your having a dragon tattoo on your shoulder.
Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)

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