MRFF Forces Quick Removal of Blatantly Unconstitutional Religious Proselytizing on Installations Official Website

Published On: May 28, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBMHH) is located in the Arlington, VA area and is home to the Arlington National Cemetery Honor Guard.  MRFF President/Founder Mikey Weinstein was contacted by over 20 senior military and civilian personnel (majority Christian along with several installation residents) regarding a highly inappropriate sectarian religious message posted to the installation’s website.  Chaplain (Lt Col) Scott Koeman used the Chaplain’s corner of the official May 20, 2021 post newspaper The Pentagram to present an in-your-face sermon clearly intended to proselytize and tout Christian exclusivism:  

It is because we are forgiven that we have a relationship with God. It is because we are forgiven that we shall enter the very gates of heaven.  The only reason we are forgiven is that at some point in our lives we recognized our sin and repented of it. We acknowledged to Jesus that we were sinners; we asked for Christ’s forgiveness; we confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord; and, we were baptized into him. On that day, we passed from death to life. We were born again in Jesus Christ. 

It should be noted that The Pentagram is an authorized publication for members of the Department of Defense and is a significant communications link distributed to a substantial number of military installations and personnel in the Washington, DC area. 

For the Pentagram, our publication’s name is more than a banner – it is a reflection of more than 60 years’ worth of news reporting, documenting everyday life and significant happenings in the Military District of Washington beginning just after World War II, spanning through the Korean and Cold Wars to present day. Today we have a weekly circulation of 24,000, which includes the National Capital Region and the Pentagon. Also notable is the fact that we are a “joint” publication, serving the communities of all three portions of JBM-HH: Fort Myer, Fort McNair and Henderson Hall, since 2009. (https://bit.ly/2RTurx2

Mikey immediately contacted the JBMHH Command support staff to clearly point out the significant legal violations created by hosting this sectarian religious content under the installations primary official communication portal: 

…based on the egregious violations of the No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as well as construing constitutional caselaw and a large number of DOD regulations instructions and directions, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, on behalf of over 20 military complainants, the majority of whom happen to be Christians and a number of whom reside at your actual installation, respectfully requests that you remove the unconstitutional, fundamentalist Christian supremacist Chaplain’s-sermon from the “Chaplain’s Corner” of the all too official military website we have sent you immediately!!!… there is a time place in manner for this Lieutenant Colonel/chaplain to disseminate his sectarian proselytizing Christian religious views but on this official military website is precisely NOT the legal time place and manner to do so!!… There is also no required disclaimer on that part of the website which by regulation is supposed to be there… Secretary of Defense Austin has made it clear that his number one priority is to be the Lode Star for religious and racial diversity, unity and respect… What this Chaplain has spewed on your website is DIRECTLY counter to that effort and is incredibly destructive to good order, morale, discipline and Unico Asian… Please remove that noxious Christian proselytizing article right away and see to it that the chaplain is appropriately punished as well as anyone else who directly or indirectly is responsible for that terrible article being published on your website… Please advise ASAP 

After failing to receive a timely response, Mikey forwarded this information directly to JBMHH Commanding Officer Col. David D. Bowling.  Within 48-hours of this information being forwarded to Col. Bowling, Mikey received this reply: 

CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED 

Dear Mr. Weinstein, 
The Joint Base Commander, COL Bowling, has asked that I respond directly to you. Thank you for your interest in the Pentagram and please be advised that subject article has been removed.
 
Very Respectfully,

Acting Director of Public Affairs
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall

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