Note: The first two of the following emails were written in response to Rep. Turner’s NDAA amendment.
From: (MRFF Client’s E-mail Address Withheld)
Subject: Without MRFF I’d not be alive today
Date: July 6, 2023 at 9:01:20 AM MDT
To: Information Weinstein <[email protected]>
To Whom It May Concern:
I will keep this short and to the point. There is much more I could express but you’ll get the concept. Please keep all of my personal information confidential.
I have never spoken about this publicly but the time has finally come to compose this email.
I am a former U.S. Marine who is Muslim. I am female. I went through hell at basic training being harassed about my faith everyday by a superior ranking NCO. He wanted me to renounce my “fraudulent” faith in front of our entire unit and accept Christ as my Lord and Savior. He would scream at me that “the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim”
I was lost and did not know what to do?
I began to cut myself on my arms. I had suicidal ideation. I had some serious suicide attempts. I wanted my corpse to lay on that senior NCO’s desk with a sign I made that said “Now Gunny am I finally a good Muslim?”
This went on for many weeks. I only told my parents and they and some fellow Marines contacted MRFF, specifically Mikey Weinstein.
Mikey and our base MRFF Reps shepherded me night and day for months and helped me get a medical discharge from the USMC that was still under full Honorable Conditions.
Mikey and the MRFF team also helped me get my VA benefits to help me pay for and get accepted into a Top 20 law school where I graduated a few years ago.
I am now thriving, married and have kids.
Not a day passes without me being forever grateful to Mikey Weinstein and the MRFF Reps who came to my side and helped me fight back. They saved my life pure and simple.
To the Republicans in Congress please know that I would not be alive today were it not for the MRFF.
Your attempt to eliminate the MRFF from helping U.S. military personnel in desperate need of their amazing civil rights activism is beneath contempt and is simply naked hatred of the MRFF’s established record of success in battling unconstitutional religious extremism in the ranks of our armed forces.
From a former Marine and always a grateful MRFF Client.
(MRFF Client’s Name, Address and Phone Number all Withheld)
From: David Miller <[email protected]>
Subject: The Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Date: July 6, 2023 at 10:27:28 AM MDT
To: Michael L Weinstein <[email protected]>
To Whom It May Concern,
About 20 years ago I found myself all alone in a fight for my life. I had recently moved back to my home state of Iowa. I was in ill health and, as a veteran, receiving medical care from the Iowa City V.A. Medical Center.
The problem was that at that time the Iowa City V.A. was still a pretty small facility and was overwhelmingly staffed by fundamentalist Christians who neither understood nor approved of my Jewish faith. Beginning the first day I arrived at the facility I was harassed about my faith. Over time the harassment became worse with even the chaplain joining in and telling me I was going to hell. On one occasion when I was hospitalized, confined to bed and wired to a heart monitor the chaplain entered my room (despite my written and verbal instructions that I not be visited by the chaplain), stood over my bed and proceeded to try to covert me. He told me I was very ill, that I could die and if I didn’t accept Jesus as my savior I would burn in hell for eternity.
After months of declining health, harassment by staff and objections on my part I finally lodged a formal protest and it was at that time the Iowa City V.A. cut off my care in retaliation for my complaint. I was stuck at home, in incredible pain with 7 kidney stones and didn’t know where to turn. Thankfully a dear friend from out of state called and told me about Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
The day I called and spoke with Mikey he got to work. He flew out to Iowa and thanks to his personal intervention the Department of Veterans Affairs also flew out an investigator who not only verified my allegations but discovered Anti-Semitic notations in my medical chart.
While the Department of Veterans Affairs was mandating significant changes and training at the V.A. facility in Iowa City, Mikey arranged for me to fly to Dallas, Texas and receive the medical intervention I needed from the Dallas V.A. Medical Center to rid me of my kidney stones.
It is not hyperbole to say that Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation saved my life, but more than that. Twenty years later and the Iowa City V.A. Medical Center, where I access my medical care today, is a thriving, professional, welcoming faculty filled with kind, courteous and respectful staff who welcome and serve veterans of all backgrounds, races and religions. Because of Mikey and the MRFF veterans of all stripes today receive quality, professional and compassionate care at the Iowa City V.A. Medical Center.
Akiva David Miller
From: (MRFF Client/Spouse of Active Duty Service Member’s e-mail address withheld)
Subject: Commander’s “Purity Ball”
Date: October 22, 2020 at 10:27:05 AM MDT
To everyone at the MILITARY RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FOUNDATION.
I am the wife of a military member in the U.S. (branch withheld) stationed at (military installation name withheld).
We are Christian and attend base chapel services occasionally.
My husband and I have (number of children withheld) kids. The reason I’m writing to thank you all is about our eldest daughter (name withheld) who is a teenager now.
A short while ago my husband and I were very pressured by his commander to participate in what is called a Christian “purity ball”.
This event was being put on by the commander’s hardline Christian church (off installation) and was supposed to “celebrate” our daughter’s virginity and have her make a pledge to remain sexually abstinent until her “wedding night”.
I just cannot tell you how distraught and appalled we were to have the commander pester and “encourage’ us nonstop to have my husband and our daughter attend and participate. I cried my eyes out as did our daughter.
This caused much anxiety and lost sleep for my husband myself and our daughter. I mean that guy is THE commander after all.
As if we needed more there was also enough of an issue about how the commander’s church would have handled social distancing in light of COVID at this event as that church (and my husband’s commander) is very very outspoken pro-Trump and anti-COVID protection measures.
Our local MRFF Rep at (military installation name withheld) got us in touch with Mikey Weinstein who spoke to us late that same evening.
Mr. Weinstein got the contact information for my husband’s commander’s boss and we gave Mr. Weinstein the green light to try to fix this.
Two days later my husband was advised by our unit’s (military title withheld) that my husband’s commander was being fired and given a written reprimand for his advocation of attending his church’s “purity ball” and his constant vocal support for Trump at official unit meetings and field exercises.. Turns out he was also using his command position during duty hours to pressure other (military branch withheld) families under his command besides ours to attend this “purity ball” and to vote for Trump..
Our whole family just cannot thank the whole MRFF enough for swooping in and saving the day for us and the other families here at (military installation withheld)!
Our local MRFF rep was also so accessible and willing to help.
My husband and I are so just sorry that the MRFF receives such hateful messages and threats. We cannot understand why that is?
You are wonderful people who help so many military families when no one else inside or outside of the military will do so.
We will spread the word about the MRFF far and wide.
(Spouse’s name, address, phone number and military installation name & location all withheld)
From: (Name withheld)
Subject: Thank You From Hawaii
Date: May 28, 2018 at 9:08 AM
To: Mikey Weinstein
Dear Mr Weinstein of the MRFF,
On behalf of all 14 of us you helped on (weekday name withheld) of last week we wanted to say thank you to you and the MRFF for having our totally having our six.
We are all (service branch designation withheld) assigned to (name of military installation withheld) and with the (various levels of military unit designations all withheld).
Our (unit commander designation withheld) had been holding a weekly duty status and assignment meeting as always. This meeting is always mandatory. But at the end of it this time he literally ordered us all down to our freaking knees. And then ordered us to all hold hands as he said a special prayer. He raised his voice as he prayed to “Jesus Christ The Living Savior” to make sure that the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii would stop erupting. Seriously, right? Not the first time he’s done this religion deal on us.
But this was so jacked up we couldn’t believe it this time. We knew this was wrong the moment the did it. Actually all 14 of us who reached out to you are Christians. But many in our unit are not. You could see the shock and hurt on their faces. But what are we supposed to do? He’s the (unit commander designation withheld).
My older sister came to the MRFF back in 2012 when she had same type of issues while serving in the Air Force at (name withheld) AFB in (state withheld). I called her right away after this Hawaii volcano prayer happened. And she said to call you and gave me your number which she says she always keeps in her phone. I did not expect you to answer it when I called you maybe 2 minutes after talking to my sister. You told me that you knew what to do.
All of us wanted you to try to fix this but none of us wanted our names used. If our names came out we would be viewed as narcs in our unit by many who support our (unit commander designation withheld).
Anyways after you spoke to our (superior unit commander’s designation, name and rank withheld) it all got fixed. Next day later our volcano praying (unit commander designation withheld) got called into the (superior unit commander’s designation withheld) office and got hit with some pretty serious duke nukem ass kickery we heard. Our (Senior NCO’s unit designation) was there and told us all about it. Seems our (unit commander designation withheld) even tried to tell his boss that the prayer had been “voluntary”. Total lie! He has not apologized but we heard he got some nasty paper from the (superior unit commander’s designation withheld) on this whole deal.
Mr. Weinstein we all really appreciate what you did here to stop this violation of our constitution rights. Until it happens to you you just don’t get how bad it is. Now my sister and I both have stories to tell about how the MRFF helped us.
From all of us here at (installation name withheld) Bravo Zulu!
(name, rank, title and unit name all withheld)
From: (U.S. Army Soldier’s parents’ e-mail address withheld)
Subject: Veterans Day Thank You to The MRFF Foundation
Date: November 11, 2017 at 4:35:11 PM MST
To: Mikey Weinstein
Dear Mr. Micky Weinstein and the MRFF.
Our daughter (name and rank withheld) is in the U.S. Army and was helped by the MRFF over 6 months ago at Fort (name withheld), (state withheld). She was being bad bullied for being Roman Catholic by her (unit supervisor’s title and rank withheld) who is Christian evangelist. What she was forced to go through was very mean and hurtful. As her parents we did not know where to turn to to help our daughter.
But her battle buddy knew different. She had been helped by the MRFF 2 years before over something also bad because she was not evangelist. She told her to call you all at the MRFF. (Daughter’s name withheld) did this with our blessing. Even though after midnight Mr. M. Weinstein took the phone call. Thanks to the MRFF she was given the fast help she needed to stop the anti-R. Catholic harassment from her Army boss. She is now thriving and even been promoted. She names the MRFF as the reason she is and why she is now so happy!
As (name withheld)’s mom and dad we just wanted to thank all of you at the MRFF on this Veterans Day 2017. Our love to all of you. Thank you all for all you do!
Our family will never forget what you did to help our proud soldier daughter (name withheld).
May the Lord bless all of you. As our family does.
(*Please do not use our names or other contact info. Or our daughter’s because of those mean-hearteds which attack the MRFF. But we would like our words of thanks to be seen by all who might ever need the MRFF. And their families and all the others who support our troops.)
(U.S. Army Soldier’s parents’ names and address withheld)