Thank You from Merchant Marine Academy group

Published On: January 11, 2023|Categories: MRFF's Inbox|10 Comments|

From: MRFF Client/USMMA Alum’s E-Mail Address Withheld
Subject: Thank You from Merchant Marine Academy group
Date: January 11, 2023 at 10:03:11 AM MST
To: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]>


On behalf of the Merchant Marine Academy group, we want to thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication on solving the painting of Jesus in the Elliot M. See room in Wiley Hall.

This would not have happened without your work.

Thank you again.

Anonymous Alumnus

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  1. A.L. Hern January 11, 2023 at 1:15 pm

    If Jesus were everything those relentlessly promoting him insist he is, no pious mariner would ever be afloat on the sea in a lifeboat to begin with.

    Still, one might also view the painting as a metaphor for secular society — the lifeboat, and those in it — having just thrown Jesus over the gunwales for trying to take command of the boat in spite of his lacking any lawful authority to do so.

  2. Mike Challman January 13, 2023 at 9:28 am

    Goody Day, A.L. Hern –

    With respect, your first comment is a non sequitur. The issue at hand is never which beliefs are better or more believable.

    As for the relationship between secular society and religious belief, the answer is not to throw religion out of the metaphorical lifeboat. Religious belief should always be welcome in our society, including in the US military — provided its expression is appropriate and consistent with our Constitution. The right to individual religious beliefs should be protected with the same fervor as the rights of non-believers. It’s incumbent on military leaders to ensure the time, place and manner of any expression, be it belief or non-belief, is appropriate and conforms with both military regulations and Constitutional principles.

    We are a stronger nation when there is mutual respect among all people.

    Mike Challman
    Christian, USAF veteran, MRFF supporter

  3. Grey One Talks Sass January 14, 2023 at 6:13 am

    Mike, I agree the nation is stronger when peoples of all and no faiths work together. But that isn’t what is happening here/now.

    How would you address the Nationalist Christian issue? Not Christians like my mom who live their life respecting others, but those who insist every knee will bend to their specific toxic brand of faith?

    I’m all for smiting but my therapist says I need to direct that energy into more productive avenues. (I still like the smiting idea though which is why I’m asking for your opinion)

  4. Mike Challman January 19, 2023 at 9:54 am

    Hi Grey One – thanks for your thoughtful comments. I agree that the current divisiveness in America is tremendous… and a tremendous problem. So, I’d not suggest any sort of Pollyanna “solution” like merely smiling through it all. I’ve been an active supporter of the MRFF for many years now, and I believe that the MRFF approach to the threat of Christian Nationalism is the right one.

    First, call out inappropriate actions every single time they occur in our military. And not just the inappropriate actions of Christian Nationalists, but anyone who steps on the religious freedoms of other military members. Unfortunately, it’s a subset of my fellow Christians who are responsible for 99.99% of these problems.

    Second, keep the focus on the ACTIONS, not the belief itself. This is one of the areas where I often see people with whom I agree about the importance of Constitutional rights go awry… in that they take aim at the underlying belief, often even mocking it. That’s a mistake. The point is to correct actions, not get into a debate about what is believable to someone.

    Third, be vocal in challenging the inappropriate action. While I personally favor genteel discourse (yes, even smiling!), it’s become obvious to me over the years that being too polite doesn’t get anyone’s attention. So, while Mikey is often castigated for being assertive (even aggressive), he is rightly unapologetic about that and I understand why it’s necessary.

    Fourth, demand prompt corrective action. This means immediately addressing whatever the inappropriate action was and ensuring it doesn’t happen again. That can include some form of punishment for military leaders who knowingly commit this sort of inappropriate action. I’ve been around the block a few times, and I know that these things are almost never ‘accidental’. Perhaps the recent issue involving the painting at USMMA is one of the rare examples of a situation that wasn’t the result of a recent, intentional act – but of course it still needed to be promptly addressed (and it was, to the credit of USMMA). But military leaders are smart people, and when one of them intentionally promotes their personal belief in a manner that gives it even the appearance of an official endorsement, then they need to be held accountable.

    So that’s how I see it.


  5. Mike Challman January 19, 2023 at 10:04 am

    Grey One – Just saw that I misread your comment. You are talking about smiting, not smiling! :-) Personally, I’d prefer the second option.


  6. Ken Jackson January 26, 2023 at 9:57 am

    As an alum of USMMA I find this matter totally repugnant. What sort of disgruntled organization is the MRFF? Aren’t there enough problems in the world without you pursuing those who have no beef and stirring the pot? I assume that the so-called disgusting painting of Jesus walking on water has been in place since the Academy was situated at the current location at King’s Point in Sept 1943? Your actions smack of so much revisionism now expected and required by the “woke” branches of the military and every other higher institution of the “former” USA. It is certainly your right as an organization to attempt to change the United States for the worse through the use of the 1st Amendment as I am exercising my right as a private citizen to admonish this organization for doing nothing to promote the goodwill of our nation. What exactly got under your craw that caused you to seek to tear down the greatest institution ever devised by the founding fathers? If I don’t like what is on media, I don’t participate and thus by walking with my feet and eyes I have averted their intent and desire. Why are you not able to do the same?
    Instead, you are so intent on destroying that which can’t be destroyed that it will ultimately be to your own demise. I would suggest that prayer is a far better solution to your anger and ill-intent! Ken Jackson Class of 1974

  7. K Jackson January 26, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    It is apparent from stated goals posted on Wikipedia that your organization is an anti-Christian hate group and thus should thus be “targeted” (your term) as the fraud that your group is. For those who haven’t bothered to understand the organization’s intent, I quote:
    “MRFF is an American watchdog group and advocacy organization founded in 2005 by Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein. The group’s goal states it will, “Ensure that members of the United States Armed Forces receive the Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom to which they are entitled by virtue of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. “Weinstein describes the group’s target as: “A small subset of Fundamentalist Christianity that’s called premilliennial, dispensational, reconstructionist, dominionist, fundamentalist, or just Dominionist Christianity.”
    It is apparent that you have no problem with other faiths such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Atheism since they aren’t “targeted” by MRFF as being offensive, as is Christianity, no matter how small the subset. There are many subsets of all the various faiths mentioned with which they disagree internally, but you failed to “target” them. Thus, your organization is fraudulent because you are NOT fighting FOR all religions, but AGAINST one religion – ie Christianity! If you care to refute those statements, I suggest you do so publicly in a forum that all can clearly see such as your website and other media. This would be appropriate since you chose to crow so loudly about your “victory” against Christianity. Would you care to elaborate on your other successes against other faiths?

  8. Grey One Talks Sass January 29, 2023 at 6:43 am

    K Jackson, your reading for comprehension skills are as lacking when it comes to the Constitution and Bill of Rights for the USA as it is for the Christian holy book.

    If any of the faiths you listed as faux examples of privilege had performed any of the acts already perpetrated by Nationalist Christians the MRFF would have been involved, because the Constitution.

    Take your persecution complex and get it checked. It’s a bad look for you to be honest; especially for an “alum of USMMA”.

    I would have thought the oath you took meant something. Surprise, surprise, surprise. You are an oath breaker.

  9. Jeff February 15, 2023 at 1:24 pm

    Ken: you are misinformed about the issue. The issue is that midshipmen were being forced to attend ceremonies in a room with a large painting extolling religion – and a very specific religion. This violates military regulations as well as the constitutional rights of those in attendance who don’t share in those beliefs. I’m sure you would understand the issue better if the painting there depicted Mohammed. If you want to be taken seriously hete you will need to honestly address the real issues at hand, and not put up a barrage of false accusations demonizing Mikey and MRFF, which, after all, consists mostly of Christians.

  10. Jeff February 15, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    Ken: MRFF happens to be opposed to the actions of Christians often because it is Christians who are proselytizing and otherwise being disrespectful to the beliefs of non-Christians in our military branches – not Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, or atheists. Those Christians are violating military regulations and the constitution. Most of the clients and board of MRFF are in fact Christians, so calling it an anti-Christian organization makes no sense.

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