"When one proudly dons a U.S. Military uniform, there is only one religious symbol: the American flag. There is only one religious scripture: the American Constitution. Finally, there is only one religious faith: American patriotism."
MRFF Founder and President, Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein
MRFF supporter Rabbi Arthur Flicker beautifully responds to anti-Semitic, Christian supremacist “Why do you hate Christian sailors?” hate mail
From: (name withheld) Subject: Why do you hate Christian sailors? Date: October 25, 2021 at 2:49:49 PM MDT To: Information Weinstein <[email protected]>
Dear Mickey Weinstein and the MRFF Staff,
I am in the U.S. Navy Reserves and do my drill at NOSC Alameda where you all are trying to take the Navy Bible away from our POW table memorial display.
I can tell you that me and so many other Navy personnel there know what your scam is all about. You just hate anything Christian and will do all manner of unspeakable things to eliminate Jesus Christ from our U.S. Navy.
To begin with that sailor’s Bible is there for all sailors. Not just the Christian ones like us. That Bible just means faith in God. And even jews like you all at the MRFF have to believe in some god or another.
If a jew bible had been put there or a muslim bible you all would never be making a shitshow. But just let a Christian try to put our Bible there and then you all suddenly want ‘cancel culture’ for Christian sailors.
Maybe you all need to remember that most sailors are Christians as are most POWs and most MIAs. Most KIA are also Christians. More Christians have served and died for America than any jews or muslims or atheists. Look it up Mickey.
Maybe you all at the MRFF should be thanking us Christians for giving you a free country. And defending it with our blood much more than with jew or muslim or atheist blood.
Having our Christian sailor’s Bible on that sacred Table has been earned by us Christian sailors. By sheer numbers more than any jew or muslim or atheist sailors.
Be careful Mickey when you poke Christian sailors in the nose.
That is not the way to thank us for heroically defending your American freedom.
And speaking of noses Mickey. Keep your long pointy jewish one out of the Navy’s official business.
Remember that Christian sailors stopped Hitler or you’d never have even been born boy!
Response from MRFF Supporter Rabbi Arthur Flicker:
From: ARTHUR FLICKER Subject: Re: Why do you hate Christian sailors? Date: October 25, 2021 at 4:30:49 PM MDT To: Michael L Weinstein <[email protected]>
How sad, disrespectful and discouraging to see this email from Naval Reservist who didn’t have the courage to put his name on this disgusting email.
Today, about one hour before I saw this reservist’s pathetic email, I officiated at the funeral of a 91 year old Jewish Korean War Naval veteran. The funeral took place in the Jewish War Veterans’ Cemetery here in Albuquerque.
In this small cemetery, the hallowed ground is occupied by Jewish men and women who not only fought to defend our country, but also often did so having to deal with ignorant, selfish bigots such as that nameless naval reservist.
One of the foundations of this country is religious freedom. A visit to any National Cemetery will reveal not only rows of crosses, but also Jewish stars, Muslim crescents, symbols of other faiths, as well as markers without any religious symbols at all. All who are brave and dedicated to serve in our armed forces are entitled to do so without the discrimination and disrespect of those who falsely believe this is only a Christian country.
Thank you for standing up for the religious rights of all and for our Constitution.
Rabbi Arthur Flicker
Response from MRFF Supporter Mike Challman:
On Oct 25, 2021, at 4:39 PM, Mike Challman wrote:
Dear “NOSC Reservist” –
Mikey shared your email with me and asked if I’d be interested in offering a response. Generally, I’m happy to correspond with fellow Christians who have written to the MRFF because I believe that notes like yours are virtually always the result of a deep misunderstanding of the mission of the MRFF. In your case, I’m less enthused about responding because of the nastiness and bigotry that you spew. To me, it suggests that although you identify as a Christian, you and I have very different ideas of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ and even more disparate notions of Christian charity. If nothing else, I hope you would consider this gentle correction in that regard, and endeavor to be more Christ-like in your communication.
As I said, I believe you possess a deep misunderstanding of the mission of the MRFF. We exist to ensure that all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom to which they and all Americans are entitled by virtue of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Pretty simple. No “hate”. No “scam”. No “unspeakable” actions. No “cancel culture”.
There are several key words in that simple sentence that merit mention. ALL MEMBERS OF THE US ARMED FORCES means everyone. Christians. Non-Christians. Religious Non-religious. Believers. Non-believers. Everyone. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM means the freedom to believe or not believe. The freedom to practice any number of religious traditions, or no tradition at all. And in order to have that degree of freedom, there needs to be recognition by the military hierarchy that no individual manner of belief or unbelief can be favored over any other.
In the case of the Bible on the POW table, it’s pretty obvious that it’s inclusion advances just one particular religious belief over all others. The fact that it’s the same sacred text that is the foundation of my (and your) religious belief is entirely beside the point. Such a display is inappropriate. The MRFF is not challenging the Christian faith itself, only the action of including a sectarian religious text in the display. You are incorrect about what the MRFF would do if the display included the text of another faith tradition – our response would be exactly the same.
You say that the Christian Bible is there “for all sailors”. With respect, I call BS. I strongly suspect that if the display instead contained the Koran or the Satanic bible that you would not accept that it represents “all sailors”. But in any case, this isn’t about what is the “right” religious text to include in the display. It’s about having no religious text in a display that is supposed to truly represent “all sailors” (and all military), a display that has the tacit endorsement of the US Navy.
You say that “most sailors are Christians, as are most POWs and most MIAs. Most KIA are also Christians. More Christians have served and died for America than any jews or muslims or atheists.” Again, and with respect, I call BS. This isn’t about some sort of crazy “majority rules” calculus. The ranks of our POW, MIA, and KIA brothers and sisters include every manner of believer and non-believer, and all of them are equally deserving of our respect and honored remembrance. To suggest that the Christians in those ranks deserve more prominence because there may be more of them is nonsensical.
You also say a lot of other things that are hateful, unseemly, and irrelevant. I’ve nothing more to say about those things beyond what I said at the start of this email.
The MRFF is an honorable organization, led and supported by honorable people, performing an honorable mission. I am proud to be a part of this effort. I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Mikey Weinstein, whom I consider my brother and who deserves the heartfelt thanks of everyone who has sworn or affirmed to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States”.
Peace, Mike Challman Christian, Veteran, MRFF Supporter
Response from MRFF Board Member John Compere
On Oct 25, 2021, at 5:03 PM, John Compere wrote:
Your anonymous anti-Semitic, anti-American & anti-Christian attack against fellow Americans you do not even know reflects only on yourself & reveals contemptible cowardice lacking the courage & conviction to provide correct identification. Your repugnant religious racist ranting demonstrates despicable & disturbing derangement.
For your information, the purpose of the POW/MIA dinner table display is & has always been REMEMBRANCE (i.e. to leave a place at the dinner table for prisoners of war & those missing in action for when they return & to never forget them). The purpose is not now nor has it ever been about religion. The display was created in 1967 by the River Rats, a group of American combat pilots from the Vietnam War, as a REMEMBRANCE memorial for missing comrades & did not include religion. The American Legion has continued this REMEMBRANCE tradition for decades without religion.
Those who have no respect for the REMEMBRANCE meaning try to proselytize their religion on the display preempting its historical REMEMBRANCE purpose. Military chapels are the appropriate place for religion displays in the military. That is the reason why many military members, mostly Christians, objected & requested removal of the distracting religious scripture. “There is no argument in the world that carries the hatred that a religious belief one does.” – Will Rogers (American philosopher)
Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation (composed of 85% Christians)
Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
On Oct 25, 2021, at 7:54 PM, Mike wrote:
Hi, I don’t know how to address you because you didn’t attach your name to this pathetic screed. That may be because you’re embarrassed at sending a message that displays so much ignorance, or it may be that you’re simply a coward like the other nameless anti-Semitic cretins we hear from periodically. Like you, they rarely identify themselves. Now please don’t misunderstand me. When I say they rarely identify themselves, I mean they don’t sign their names. But like you, they clearly identify themselves as ignorant, anti-Semitic troglodytes who wouldn’t understand Christianity if Jesus personally explained it to them. You and the rest of your Neanderthal buddies (with apologies to Neanderthals, who were certainly smarter than your lot) must sit in a fat circle and try to come up with people at whom you can express your rage-filled misery. I’m quite certain Hispanics, Black people, believers in Islam and Asians along with Jews are regular targets for you and your ilk. I’ll bet Gays and Trans people probably qualify. Maybe even Christians who aren’t the precise kind of Christian you’re told to think they should be.
So when you’re being a reservist and doing your drill at NOSC, as you put it, I’m quite sure you occupy yourself by checking around to see just which of your fellow reservists is acceptable. Which among them lacks the proper understanding of the country you’re supposedly serving or the religion you claim to believe in so you can recruit them into your little squad of knuckle-draggers? That’s the way it works.
It’s always interesting, I think, to see how the terrified cling breathlessly to one another when they recognize the signs of another lost, panicked soul. Once together they can wallow in their common misery and pick a group or a faith or a family or a color and proceed to rain hatred on whatever target they agree on. It is a truly sick, pathetic dance you do.
Your problem, nameless one, isn’t with the MRFF. It isn’t even with the Jews. It’s not about defending the Bible and pretending to defend Christianity. It’s about lashing out at someone, anyone, to keep yourself from dealing with that clutch of fear in your gut that says you’re leading a meaningless life. It’s just damned sad. Mike Farrell(MRFF Board of Advisors)
Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member James Currie
On Oct 25, 2021, at 8:33 PM, James Currie wrote:
It’s really too bad, Navy Reservist, that your understanding of our country’s history and its Constitution are not as finely developed as is your anti-Semitism and your ignorance of our country’s history. I taught National Security Studies for eighteen years at one of the Defense Department’s “war colleges,” and during nearly two decades, I was privileged to teach some of the finest men and women our country’s military produces. I doubt that you will ever be selected to attend war college, but if you were, you would be exposed to the history of our country’s origins, as it was legally created by those men we call our “Founding Fathers.” They were a polyglot group of patriots, many of whom had taken up arms to fight for our independence from Britain. They understood that our country’s strength lay in its diversity, including its religious diversity, and they determined, both during the Constitutional Convention and during the First Federal Congress, that government and religion should not be mixed and mingled. If you have read the Constitution—and I doubt that you have ever done so—you would have run across this phrase in Article 6, Clause 3: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” There was much that our Founders omitted from the Constitution, thinking that it would be understood as rights reserved to the people. But protection from a “religious test” for office was thought to be of such paramount importance that it was written into the text of the original document.
That was only the beginning for our Founders when it came to establishing what Thomas Jefferson referred to as a “wall of separation between church and state.” During the First Federal Congress the man known today as the “Father of the Constitution”—James Madison of Virginia—offered the words which became the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment to the Constitution. Madison proposed to protect rights which we cherish and hold dear today as foundations of our democracy: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition Congress. The First Amendment also strengthened that “wall of separation” between church and state by its first words, which Madison offered even before enumerating protections for speech, press, assembly, and petitioning Congress: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” It could hardly be any clearer: the United States government operates in one realm, religious institutions in another. The right to be free from government coercion in matters of religion is as fundamental to our way of government as are habeas corpus, free speech, and freedom from self-incrimination.
I have no idea who you are and what your background is. I hope you are a very junior officer, for if so, there might be some hope that as you mature, you might grow out of your bigotry and might even understand that Constitution that you swore to defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic. All of us who have worn our country’s uniform took that same oath, and it is appalling when someone like you clearly does not grasp what it means.
The Bible on the POW/MIA table of which you speak is a religious book, held sacred in its various versions by different Christian sects and denominations, completely unaccepted by other religions. There is not even one Christian version of the Bible. Different Protestant denominations use one version or another. Roman Catholics use a different version. Maybe you did not know this. Perhaps you thought there was one version of the Bible, accepted by all Christians. I don’t even know which version of the Bible was on the POW/MIA table. It might not even be the one you think is sacred. Regardless, there is no reason to have a religious book of any kind on a table honoring missing warriors and POWs. There have been POWs and missing soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen of every religious persuasion and of no religion whatsoever. We honor them for their service and sacrifice, and we respect their right—guaranteed by our great Constitution—to determine in their own hearts and minds which religion they will follow or if they will choose not to follow any religion at all. That right is guaranteed to them by that document we all swore to protect, and when I read something like the screed that you composed—and to which you were apparently afraid to sign your name—reeking as it does with ignorance and hatred and misunderstanding of our great country’s founding document, I wonder at your education, and I blanch at your bigotry. Rather than attacking Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, you should be grateful that there are people who devote their lives to making a reality out of one of the great freedoms given us in the Constitution. I only hope that you will one day grow up and see the light.
By the way, you might want to visit the American cemetery in Normandy, France, and see the tombstones of those who died there in the successful effort to defeat the NAZIs. I think you might be surprised at how many have the Star of David on them. I have walked through those rows of graves, and as I do so, I cannot help thinking that the NAZIs did not have any chance at all against our great country, with its religious freedom for all. It is one huge reason for our strength and our success.
Col. James Tyson Currie, USA (Ret.), Ph.D.
Board of Advisors, Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Response from MRFF Supporter Rabbi Joel Schwartzman
On Oct 26, 2021, at 5:32 AM, Rabbi Joel Schwartzman wrote:
Dear Mr. Navy Reservist, (Unnamed) Bigot: My succinct answer to your rather disgusting, hateful and ignorant email is simply this: try putting a Jewish (note the “ish” suffix) Bible or a Koran on that memorial table, and then count the seconds it takes for the MRFF to respond and have those removed as well! It’s un-Constitutional, my dear Mr. Navy Reservist Bigot, to use anyone’s holy book in the way it was being used in this display. Were you able to understand the laws of our land and the UCMJ, you’d know this. One final thought. Take the percent of Jews and Christians that have served in this man’s military, and you’ll find that there is an equal and even higher percent of Jews who have died for this country as Christians. But your dastardly assertions, couched in antisemitism as they are, would be grounds to have you prosecuted in a land we all have fought for, and for which some of us have died.
Lastly, Mr. Navy Reservist Bigot, I would warn you not to spout your Jew-hatred when in uniform. You might just find you sorry self under prosecution. Get your facts straight and keep your hateful thoughts to yourself. Better yet, get an education because it’s patently clear that you’re no Ph.D.! You might learn something vitally important about the non-Christians in your midst and the contributions they have made to our beloved country.
Rabbi Joel R. SchwartzmanCh, Col, (Ret) USAF
Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Ted Furlow
On Oct 26, 2021, at 12:04 PM, Ted Furlow wrote:
Timing is everything in life, and that bromide applies to my response for Unnamed Sailor’s anti-Semitic screed about the bible. First let me note Rabbi Flicker’s splendid piece addressing this nonsense. Well said, I cannot improve on his thoughts at all.
So instead, let me mention an upcoming PBS program called “American Veteran”. This is a “don’t miss program” that will explore the infinite variety of US veterans who have served this country. It illustrates that the military isn’t a solo Christian group, but an incredible and complex pastiche of Americans and immigrants that choose the higher calling of service to defend freedom. While that freedom allows Unnamed Sailor to write his anti-intellectual drivel, it also enshrines the sacrifice and courage of the common persons – from all races, creeds, orientations, and genders – who “stand to” and face front.
Advisory Board Member
From: (name withheld) Date: October 26, 2021 at 11:43:19 AM MDT To: Michael L Weinstein <[email protected]> Subject:Christian Sailor
Mikey, As I read bits and pieces of your fan mail from the “Christian sailor” to my wife at breakfast this morning, she began singing a famous song, whereupon it occurred to me that your “Christian sailor” had sprung a leak and was taking on serious water, whereupon it occurred to me that you should sound the alarm so he could start bailing ASAP.
The song she sang was “Suzanne.”
Here’s a bit of it that caught my attention: And Jesus was a sailor When he walked upon the water And he spent a long time watching From his lonely wooden tower And when he knew for certain Only drowning men could see him He said, “All the men will be sailors then Until the sea shall free them … Now Suzanne takes your hand And she leads you to the river She is wearing rags and feathers From Salvation Army counters And the sun pours down like honey On our lady of the harbor And she shows you where to look Among the garbage and the flowers. Do you remember the name of the musical genius who wrote “Suzanne” (and so many others)?
It was Leonard Cohen. You should probably pass the word to your “Christian sailor.” By now he’s got to be up to his neck in saltwater.
Response from MRFF Supporter
On Oct 26, 2021, at 10:40 PM, Steve wrote:
Dear Despicable NOSC Reservist, Somehow I have a hard time that one so willingly ignorant of the Constitution, Nava Regulations and even the basic message of Jesus be such an ignorant ass as to write this email. Of course your email address is probably fake and you are too cowardly to use your real name. A Sailor who truly embraced our creed of “Courage, Honor, and Commitment” and taken a sacred oath to defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic” should write someone who has both served our country faithfully and actually defends the religious rights of all based on the Constitution. Please know that I really do know what I am talking about after serving nearly 40 years in the Army and Navy, from which I retired as a Commander in the Navy Chaplain Corps in December 2020. You make so many jacked up and erroneous comments in this email that it is hard to take you seriously as a Sailor if you even are one, and to that I have my doubts. The Bible you refer to is a Bible used in a marketing campaign to sell Bibles to the military market. They did the same with the other services. It illegally used the official Navy Seal on its cover and its publisher was charged with copyright infringement and the Bible banned from sale in 2012. As to the table, it was never supposed to have the Bible or any other religion’s sacred scripture placed on it. However, due to blatant ignorance and often intentional violations of the spirit of what this memorial to our fallen and missing in action, which is supposed to honor all of our fallen, not just Christians which the placement of any Christian Bible implies, and yes I am a Christian. Your references to other scriptures “jew bibles and muslim bibles” is so incredibly hate inspired that it boggles the mind. Likewise your almost Nazi like comments about Mr. Weinstein sound just like the words of Julius Streicher, the Publisher of the nearly pornographic “Der Stürmer,” in regards to the words you used. If you are a Sailor you are using the terminology of the Nazis you are in violation of the UCMJ. Your sound like a domestic terrorist using this incident to try to threaten an American exercising his right to defend and promote the religious rights of military personnel who come to him for help. He is very effective, and he helped this a Christian chaplain in telling the truth when a retired Navy Officer demanded of my commanding officer be charged with politically motivated felonies for supporting Christian teachings in a Chapel Service where I was preaching the Gospel. Thanks to Mr. Weinstein, his legal team, and the testimony of other chapel members and staff who contradicted the accusations and were present during the sermon I would have been tried by Court Martial. What you are doing is little more that domestic terrorism and making threats against Mr. Weinstein. I do hope that you fuck up and reveal who you really are so you can, should you be in the Navy be charged and prosecuted under the UCMJ and given a discharge under other than honorable conditions. If you are a fake, I really do want you to expose yourself so people can reject and shame you everywhere you go you damned Nazi thug. Be sure to pack your asbestos water skis for your eternal vacation on the Lake of Fire. With no respect whatsoever, I am yours, The Inglorious Padre Steve