Military Religious Freedom

Published On: January 27, 2023|Categories: MRFF's Inbox|2 Comments|

From: (name withheld)
Date: January 25, 2023 at 1:42:01 PM MST
To: [email protected]
Subject: Military Religious Freedom

Good afternoon.  I read an article in Fox News regarding the removal of the large Jesus painting at the Merchant Marine academy.  I am rather disappointed in Numan for catering to your demands.  If Jesus means nothing to a cadet, that is on them and I pray they do find their way to Him.  If a picture of allah was hanging up, so what, that is not who I worship and I would not ask to have it removed, but I would hang my Jesus picture next to it.  

I am a 30 year military vet and honesty groups like yours just add more problems. What value do you add other than having a picture removed? What about all the military personnel that were forced out of the military for not taking the COVID vax?  Did you do anything about that?    Religion is not pushed on military members. Catholics have the option to worship, Christians do etc. and those who want to worship Satan can as well.  

I feel really bad for those who don’t know Jesus and salvation.  He is the only way to eternal life.  If you take time to familiarize yourself with the bible, you will see first hand the prophecies are coming to light. The rapture is going to happen at some point and so is the tribulation. Things are starting to line up.  I am not a bible thumper, but a bible reader.  

(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

On Jan 25, 2023, at 5:54 PM, Mike wrote:

Hi (name withheld),

I appreciate your characterizing us as an “honesty group”. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think, though, that we “add more problems”, except for people who don’t understand the way the separation of church and state protects everyone’s right to believe as she or he chooses. Oh, I guess we may create some problems for bible thumpers, but you’re not one of those.

I urge you to consider finding another source of information than Fox News, their bias does a lot of harm, in my estimation, and it may have misled you.

You see, if the picture in question depicted Allah saving those people, as you suggested, we’d have had the same problem and taken the same action. Your hypothetical response, adding a picture of Jesus, would only aggravate the situation and create what I’ll call a belief contest. That’s why elements of our government, including the military, cannot propose, support, favor or indicate a preference, whether intentionally or accidentally, for one belief system over the others.

That’s the beauty of the separation of church and state.

Enjoy your reading.


Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)

Response from MRFF Board Member John Compere

On Jan 25, 2023, at 3:03 PM, John Compere wrote:

(name withheld),

Thank you for your past military service.

Please be advised the United States Constitution 1st Amendment prohibits our government (including the Merchant Marine Academy) from establishing, enforcing or endorsing a religion & requires government neutrality regarding religion. American religious freedom is a shield of protection for the right of all Americans (including Merchant Marines) to determine, enjoy & practice their own beliefs free from government favor or disfavor. It is unlawful for our secular government to purchase & place a large painting of Jesus in a secular government facility to proselytize Christianity.

Please be informed all military members were required by lawful order to be vaccinated against COVID (along with other immunizations) to insure military readiness & protect the military from deadly disease. This mandatory requirement originated when General George Washington ordered the Continental Army to be vaccinated against smallpox in 1777. As you know, all military members are required to obey lawful orders. The military enlistment code includes “…I will obey the orders…of officers appointed over me…” (10 US Code 502). Disobedience of a lawful order is a punishable military offense (Article 92, Uniform Code of Military Justice). We actively supported military members who obeyed lawful orders to receive COVID vaccinations (96% of active forces), protected themselves, their families & the military community from infectious disease & ensured their military readiness. We also actively encouraged those not vaccinated (4% of active forces) to obey lawful orders to be vaccinated.

For more information about our religious freedom, please see my historical article “Religious Freedom is America’s Original Liberty” (


Brigadier General John Compere, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation (a civil rights advocacy organization for the military, 7 time Nobel Peace Prize nominee & composed of over 80% Christians)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member James T. Currie

On Jan 25, 2023, at 3:03 PM, James Currie wrote:

Dear (name withheld):

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and its Founder & President Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein have asked me to respond to your recent email.

If you actually are a thirty-year military veteran, then I commend you, as few people serve that long. If you were in for that many years, at various times during your service you would have taken an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” If you don’t remember swearing this oath, then that’s a real problem. If you took the oath and didn’t know what it means, then that’s clearly just as big a problem. Perhaps you don’t understand what the MRFF is and what it does. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to upholding the Constitutional rights of those who serve in our military forces, specifically centering its efforts on protecting these men and women from religious fanaticism and religious proselytizing on the part of officials in the military and other parts of government. It is notably successful in doing so, having served over 82,000 clients, 95 percent of whom identify as Christian. It has been nominated many times for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The issue at the Merchant Marine Academy was brought to MRFF by individuals who were concerned that the Academy was violating the First Amendment to the Constitution by its seeming endorsement of one religion—Christianity—over all others. Such an action by a U.S. Government entity is forbidden by the First Amendment to the Constitution, which was added to that document in 1791, strengthening the prohibitions that were already contained in it. As President Thomas Jefferson explained in his January 1802 letter to the Baptist congregation of Danbury, Conn., “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people [that is, 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.” Jefferson, who knew the men who drafted the First Amendment, notably James Madison and George Mason, understood what these men meant when they put the First Amendment on paper and managed the process that got it added to the 1787 document as part of what we now call the “Bill of Rights.” Notably, they were painfully aware of the religious strife that had plagued their ancestors in Europe, and they were determined that the United States would not have the same experience.

You do not indicate  whether you ever studied the Constitution as part of your military education, but I cannot imagine that you did not reach a rank in thirty years of service without having been exposed to such education. Whether you were a commissioned officer or an NCO, you would have been expected to understand just what it meant when you raised your hand and swore that oath. If you just blindly said the words without understanding their meaning, then I feel sorry for you. You would have, in effect, been agreeing to a contract in which you agreed to put yourself in harm’s way, perhaps losing your life, without knowing what the contract meant. I taught for eighteen years at one of the Defense Department’s “senior service colleges,” and one of our goals for the students who matriculated with us was to ensure that they got a full dose of Constitutional history and law during their time with us.

If you are at all interested in learning about the Constitution, I could suggest to you any number of books that might enlighten you. An old and still dependable one is The American Constitution: Its Origins and Development, by Alfred H. Kelly and Winfred A. Harbison. It was originally published in 1948, and it has gone through many editions since then. You can find it on Amazon.

As for your complaints about punishment given to military servicemembers who refused the Covid vaccine for religious reasons, I can only say that I am not aware of any major religious denomination that determined, according to its doctrine, that this was a bona fide religious question or issue. Indeed, all the religions whose comments I have seen have all stated that protecting one’s fellow humans from disease by getting vaccinated is the thing to do. Moreover, as you must undoubtedly know, the Covid vaccine was swept up in politics by then-President Trump, who suggested, in one of the most bizarre recommendations ever uttered by anyone holding that office, that bleach and horse medicine would keep you safe from this virus. Over one million Americans lost their lives because of Covid, and many of them were Trump followers who had refused the vaccine. During your thirty-year career, no matter what branch you served in, you would have been ordered periodically to report to the infirmary or medical clinic, where you would have been given certain inoculations. Nobody asked you whether you wanted them, and there was no way to refuse them. You were ordered to take them, and I’ll bet you did so. The small number of service members who refused the Covid vaccine were disobeying a lawful order, and they were appropriately disciplined for doing so.

You can believe anything you want in terms of religions, and MRFF will not bother you. But if you should ever be placed in a government position and start trying to impose your beliefs on others, the MRFF will come down quite hard in defense of our Constitution. It’s what it does, and it does it very well.

Col. James T. Currie, US Army (Ret.), Ph.D.
Board of Advisors, Military Religious Freedom Foundation

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  1. Jeff January 27, 2023 at 7:28 pm

    Of course a bigot is offended that other bigots were prevented by MRFF from trampling on the constitutional rights of other people. Keep up the great work, MRFF!

  2. Ironmoped January 28, 2023 at 8:25 pm

    The writer opened his comments with, “I read an article in Fox news…,” well… there’s the first sign of diminished intellectual capacity.

    The 2nd sign was moving from a painting of Jesus to COVID vaccinations! The MAGA crowd has a very difficult time making a cogent argument about anything – they can’t stay focused long enough to make a point.

    The military recognizes 221 religions. Are you going to let them all display a testament to their faith?

    If you do, then you have 221 violations of the Constitution!

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