Wreaths Across America

Published On: December 9, 2021|Categories: MRFF's Inbox|1 Comment|

From: (name withheld)
Subject: Wreaths Across America
Date: December 9, 2021 at 5:50:01 AM MST
To: <[email protected]>

You clowns do understand that wreaths on graves has to do with the circle of life and the remembrance and honor of those who fought in wars? But then what else would oneexpect of such a janky of an organization that thinks the American flag is a symbol of a religion? Little cultish? Per Collins Dictionary: A wreath is an arrangement of flowers and leaves, usually in the shape of a circle, which you put on a grave or by a statue to show that you remember a person who has died or people who have died. This dates back to Greek and Roman times. I bet you think all OK signs are gang signs too! I am blessed that they have placed a wreath on my father’s grave every year and honor his service.Sorry you aren’t. Funny how the groups that sound the patriotism banner are pretty damn un-American. Time for someone’s nonprofit status to be revoked.

(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member James Currie

Dear (name withheld):

I have been asked by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to respond to your recent email about wreaths on veterans’ graves. Placing a Christian wreath on the grave of a non-Christian does not honor the dead. It insults someone who served their country in uniform, for it implies that they embraced one particular religion: Christianity. You indicate that you are an atheist. Perhaps you would be comfortable with some stranger placing a Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Hindu symbol on your grave, but the atheists I know would not appreciate such an action. They hold to their lack of faith just as ardently as any religious person clings to their own religious beliefs. Far from being a divisive element, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation attempts to eliminate the divisiveness that occurs when someone in authority in the military tries to impose their religious beliefs on the men and women who serve under them. The fact that a private organization has taken it upon itself to place Christian symbols on the graves of all veterans who are buried in a U.S. Government cemetery, no matter the religious denomination indicated on their tombstone,  is the divisive element here.

You are perfectly within your rights to allow a Christian wreath on your future grave. You should make your wishes known to your survivors so that they can be implemented. But for many non-believing veterans, having a religious symbol on their grave would be antithetical to what their lives and beliefs stood for, and they would consider such decoration a great insult. Insulting veterans is the divisive element here, and it is what MRFF seeks to prevent.Col. James T. Currie, USA (Ret.), Ph.D.Board of Advisors, Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member James Currie

Dear (name withheld),

I have been asked by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to respond to your recent email about wreaths on veterans’ graves. It is clear that you have done a little bit of research on the topic, but I would point you to the words of the poet Alexander Pope: “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.” I’m afraid you have not drunk deeply enough of that Pierian spring. If you had delved more deeply into the history of wreaths, you would have found the following:

“Wreaths originally served as Christmas tree ornaments, and not as the standalone decorations we’re familiar with today. They were formed into a wheel-like shape partially for convenience’s sake — it was simple to hang a circle onto the branches of a tree — but the shape was also significant as a representation of divine perfection. It symbolized eternity, as the shape has no end. Together, the circular shape and the evergreen material make the wreath a representation of eternal life. It is also a representation of faith, as Christians in Europe often placed a candle on the wreath during Advent to symbolize the light that Jesus brought into the world. A German Lutheran pastor named Johann Hinrich Wichern is often given credit for turning the wreath into a symbol of the Advent, and lighting candles of various sizes and colors in a circle as Christmas approached.”

Your interpretation of the Christmas wreath as a non-sectarian symbol of life is several hundred years out of date. You are absolutely correct in that this is how it started, just as the Christmas tree began as a pagan symbol, but meanings change, and the meaning of the Christmas wreath changed several hundred years ago.

If you are happy that an outside group places a wreath on your father’s grave, then the MRFF has no problem with your decision. What MRFF objects to is the willy-nilly placing of what has now become—for the fast few hundred years—“a symbol of the Advent,” as indicated above on the graves of non-Christians whose survivors did not request such. There are, as of today, seventy-seven religious markings that the VA allows on tombstones in its cemeteries. Many of these markings do not signify Christian beliefs, and it is MRFF’s contention that placing Christian wreaths on the graves of non-Christian veterans is an insult to their beliefs and to the veteran himself or herself.  That this insulting behavior is being done by a private organization in a U.S. government cemetery is the problem.  MRFF honors your father’s service to our country as it honors the service of all who have put on the uniform. We respect his right to be honored as he would wish, just as we respect the right of non-Christian veterans not to have placed on their grave a symbol representing a religion that was not their own. That is what this discussion is all about.

Col. James T. Currie, USA (Ret.)

Board of Advisors, Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Ordained Elder, Presbyterian Church (USA)

Response from MRFF Board Member John Compere

On Dec 9, 2021, at 4:39 PM, John Compere wrote:

Your presumptuous protest is morally misdirected & would be more rationally redirected at the religious organization promoting itself & its version of religion by placing its religious wreaths on the graves of deceased military veterans without permission of the veterans’ families. Some of those families consider it an uninvited & unwanted intrusion on the personal burial site of their loved ones.
Any organization wanting to put & publicize its promotional products on the sacred resting place of deceased military veterans should have the decency & respect for the families involved to seek & obtain their permission.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, when requested, represents the right of those families to object & prevent thoughtless trespasses on the graves of their deceased family members. We do so because we support & respect the wishes of those families. See militaryreligiousfreedom.org.

Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era) Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation

And you would be more rationally directed to educate the illiterate asshatsyou represent and not come off as a bunch of clowns.

(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Board Member John Compere

On Dec 10, 2021, at 7:11 AM, John Compere wrote:

“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers.” – SOCRATES

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

On Dec 15, 2021, at 9:16 PM, Mike wrote:
Hi (name withheld),
Actually, the folks who make, sell and distribute the wreaths see it differently.

Mike Farrell (MRFF Board of Advisors)

On Thu, Dec 16, 2021 at 5:01 AM (name withheld) wrote:

By the way as an Atheist, do you go to work on Christmas day?

Bet your kids hate your ass for not getting any presents! Then

again, I would assume any kids or spouse you have long disowned


(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

On Dec 16, 2021, at 12:35 PM, Mike wrote:

How very Christian of you.
Your comments bespeak a cluttered and intolerant mind. One not given toserious consideration of facts and not prepared to deal with serious
Mike Farrell (MRFF Board of Advisors)

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One Comment

  1. Katherine December 10, 2021 at 9:13 am

    What absolute poppycock all of you so-called self righteous souls at the MRFF are bleating about. Thankful to have been made aware of your nonsense debacle interference to the wreath laying by Fox News both here in the United Kingdom and Europe which shows you for what you truly are. In this current climate of democratic rights being chipped away and governments around the world using totalitarian type dystopian laws and mandates to control mass populations, your axe to grind amongst all of this diatribe is to witter on about the laying wreaths on the tombstones of what you discern to be possible non-Christians buried there. I can assure you my Great Uncle Ernest of the Hampshire Regiment wouldn’t give two hoots whether he had been a Christian or not if someone were to place a wreath on his gravestone in Ploegsteert right now. The mere fact that he is being remembered for all of his 19yrs on this planet is what matters, not just on a memorial date selected by politicians annually. At a time when we all tend to reflect on those we have loved past or present, this is the end of an extraordinary year again and that is a normal time to contemplate and reflect regardless of religious beliefs held by me or you.

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