"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
From: (name withheld) Subject: Donations Date: December 7, 2021 at 10:40:35 PM MST To: “[email protected]”
This organization is a complete joke and proves to be the very definition of frivolous lawsuits. America was founded on Christian principles READ the Constitution as it is written. Don’t put your own personal views just read the damn words. If you feel so persecuted please feel free to move to another country that suits your needs.
US Army Veteran
Response from MRFF Board Member John Compere
On Dec 8, 2021, at 9:10 AM, John Compere wrote:
US Army Veteran (name withheld), First & foremost, thank you for your military service. Secondly, this will acknowledge receipt of your confused claim America was founded on Christian principles & your lack of any authority other than read “the Constitution as it is written”. Please be advised we have read the Constitution as it is written & found the following –
The Constitution Preamble states 6 secular (non-religious) reasons our nation was founded by & for “We the People”. The Constitution is secular, establishes our secular democratic government & contains no reference to a deity, a religion or a religious scripture. The Constitution Article VI  & 1st Amendment lawfully separate religion from government & government from religion (aka: separation of church & state) & prohibit our government from establishing, enforcing or endorsing a religion. Our American Founders proclaimed to the world “The United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion” in an international legal document which was negotiated during 1st President George Washington’s administration, unanimously ratified by the Senate & signed by 2nd President John Adams (1971 Treaty of Tripoli in the public records). Case closed.
For your information, we were the first nation in history independently established by and for the people without acknowledging any higher authority (emperor, monarch, dictator, deity, religion, scripture, etc) other than the people and our government. History also documents there were no public prayers opening or closing the 116 day Constitutional Convention. Founder James Madison reminded the delegates of the secular purpose – “This is derived from the superior power of the people.” Less than 20% of American colonists belonged to religion establishments in 1776. Less than 50% of Americans belong to a church, synagogue, mosque or temple today (Gallup poll).
For your additional information, even Jesus separated government & religion (Matthew 22:21;Mark 12:17). 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 Supporter Mike Challman
On Dec 8, 2021, at 9:51 AM, Mike Challman wrote: Good Day, (name withheld) – First and most importantly, thank you for your service. I am also a veteran – US Air Force. As well, I am a lifelong, devout Christian and an MRFF supporter. I’m sorry to hear that you feel the MRFF is a “complete joke”. Do you have much insight into the work of the organization? I’ve been actively involved as a volunteer for a number of years now, and I have seen the value of our Constitutional advocacy, time and time again. Prior to getting involved, I had my own doubts about the need for the MRFF but as I became better informed it was clear that this organization is doing important work. You may be interested to know that the MRFF very rarely files lawsuits – most of our work is done by Mikey Weinstein personally engaging various military leaders whenever a military member asks for MRFF assistance. We don’t “create” any of these issues, they are already happening and impacting the lives of military members and their dependents. Those are the people who reach out to the MRFF for help. So while you may not feel there is a need for such an organization, I can assure you that there are many, many other military members (active and retired) and dependents who disagree with you. Regarding your comment that “America was founded on Christian principles” and that they are somehow enshrined in the Constitution… with respect, I strongly reject that assertion… and again, I’m saying that as a Christian myself. To start, the Constitution says nothing at all about a relationship between Christianity and our nation, and makes no mention of God or any other divine being. The only mention of the word “religion” itself is in the First Amendment, and it appears there as a prohibition against the creation of laws to establish a religion (Christian or otherwise). In the body of the Constitution, Article VI holds the only mention of anything religious, and again it is in the form of a prohibition. Specifically, that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public trust under the United States.” But I’m going to guess that you have heard these explanations before, so I won’t belabor the point. My main purpose in responding to your email is to suggest that you may want to learn more about the work of the MRFF before you dismiss it out of hand. I’d be happy to continue this dialogue with you, if you are interested. Peace, Mike Challman
Christian, Veteran, MRFF Supporter
Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member James Currie
Dear (name withheld),
If you truly are a US Army veteran, then the Military Religious Freedom Foundation respects your service to our great country, as it does the service of all who have put on the uniform and sworn the oath. As a member of the Board of Advisors of the MRFF, I have been asked to respond to your recent email (above).
I mentioned in the first sentence of my reply to you the oath that we all took when we joined a branch of the U.S. military. I took that oath when I joined the Army, as you also would have done. In that oath we swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. . . .” Maybe you have never actually read the U.S. Constitution, though your email to MRFF suggests that you might have done so. If you have read this document, I suggest that you go back and re-read it, as it is a very legalistic document which sets out the framework of our government. Some parts of it are hard to understand and interpret, but other parts, especially Amendment One, are fairly straightforward. “Congress shall make no law,” begins the First Amendment, “respecting an establishment of religion . . . .” Those words make it crystal clear: the United States government is religiously neutral. It favors no religion over another, and the Christian religion is not elevated above any of the other religions that are practiced within our borders. Such religious neutrality is part of the inherent strength of our country, and it is one reason why we don’t kill each other over religious differences except when demented fanatics take it upon themselves to punish those whose beliefs differ from their own. Those killings are perpetrated by individuals, and not by government, as happens in so many countries.
Your invitation to supporters of MRFF and religious freedom to “move to another country” is totally antithetical to our country’s principles. We in the United States not only tolerate a wide variety of views about religion and other subjects, such toleration is built into our Constitution. Again, I refer you to the First Amendment. MRFF does not file “frivolous lawsuits.” It goes to court only when such action is necessary to defend the religious freedom and beliefs of those who serve in uniform. It is most often able to effect a resolution to a religious freedom problem by simply pointing out to the appropriate military leaders certain Constitutional provisions and the laws and regulations derived from them.
I could cite you numerous historical examples of the views of our Founders as to the true basis of our Constitution, or I could ask you to go back to the works of John Locke and read some of his philosophy as the basis for our government. But with regard to religious freedom, I will simply quote one of our best known Founders, Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the following in a letter to the Danbury, CT, Baptists in 1802: “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people [meaning the First Amendment] which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” Please note Jefferson’s words about the “wall of separation between Church & State.” Nothing could be more clear. Here we are, 219 years after Jefferson wrote that letter, and the true meaning and explanation of our Constitution and its relationship to religion cannot be improved upon. I hope, Mr. Page, that you will do your own research on this issue. If you do an honest and thorough job of such, you might well come back and apologize to MRFF for your initial email.Col. James T. Currie, US Army (Ret.), Ph.D.Board of Advisors, Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Response from MRFF Supporter Rabbi Joel Schwartzman
On Dec 8, 2021, at 6:39 PM, Rabbi Joel Schwartzman wrote
Dear (name withheld),
You have criticized the MRFF and its purposes. If you were a truly wise Christian, you would understand the need that many people in the military feel to protect them from coercive bosses, superior officers as well as other who might be in their chains of command. A truly wise Christian wouldn’t be intimidated by an organization like the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. He or she would praise it, instead. He or she would praise an organization which defends as much as you do a military person to believe and practice as he or she chooses. A truly wise Christian would understand that there are some other military members who want nothing to with religion and certainly not with those who want to foist their beliefs on them. Lastly, a truly wise Christian would have read American history and would have long since realized that our founding fathers were actually fearful of religion. They wrote our founding documents with an eye toward and a will to separate church from state. It’s the reason for both First Amendment clauses: the one which forbids Congress from establishing religion…thus saving us from the curse of having a national religion to which all must be obedient and which might persecute its citizens; and the second part of that same amendment called the “free exercise” clause which guarantees the right of each citizen to practice the religion (or no religion) of their choosing. A truly wise Christian would respect others and realize that just as he or she has found peace, love and purpose in their religious expression, so, too must space be given to their fellow citizens so that they are able to seek those same elements in their lives in ways that they find most suitable to them and their circumstances. Bigotry, hate and intolerance such as you have displayed only serve, at one and the same time, to reveal and to undermine your purposes. As opposed to what you seem to posit, this is not a Christian nation, per se, although it has many who practice some form of Christianity. The blessing of this country is that it allows all its citizens a freedom to worship and believe as they will. Were you to study more and practice less anger toward those who don’t believe as you do, I believe that your life would be much richer. And, were you to do this, you would approach the status of being a truly wise Christian. Good luck on that journey.
Chaplain, Col (Ret), USAF Joel R. Schwartzman
Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
On Dec 8, 2021, at 6:27 PM, Mike wrote: Mr. (name withheld), I don’t know who printed up the constitution you refer to, but you’ve been seduced. The real Constitution of the USA doesn’t make any reference to Christ or Christianity and the principles it is based on came from the Enlightenment. Enlightenment is something you could use. Mike Farrell