From: (name withheld)
Date: November 16, 2023 at 10:26:13 AM MST
To: [email protected]
Your attempts to destroy America’s founding values and principles will be met with overwhelming resistance. We will work tirelessly to restore noble American values and save this great country from its descent into depravity.
Faith, freedom, and virtue will deny your satanic efforts to replace spiritualism with pure materialism and scientism. We Christian patriots will ensure that globalism will be relegated to the ash heap of history.
(name withheld, Ph.D.)
Response from MRFF founder and President Mikey Weinstein
… you seem upset about something, skippy?… Just so that you know, I’ve never met Satan…Can you please define for me what a “Christian Patriot” is, sport?…Mikey
Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Lawrence Wilkerson
Doctor (name withheld):
Mikey Weinstein, head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation MRFF), requested that I compose a response to you acting in my capacity as a member of the MRFF’s Advisory Board. I shall do that below, but I wanted to assure you that this response comes equally from my almost 80 years of life, 31 years as a military professional, and almost a half-century of service to America in one government capacity or another, as well as 16 years of teaching national security affairs at two different civilian universities (following six years of teaching such matters at two of the nation’s most prestigious military war colleges).
I have no idea from your brief email remarks to Mr. Weinstein what your conception of “America’s founding values and principles”, as you term it, is. My lack of clarity — indeed confusion — arises from two cardinal points: (1) separation of church and state is a quintessential example of those “founding values and principles” and (2) the rock upon which MRFF was founded and works from daily, is just that, separation of church and state — with a laser-like focus on the nation’s military forces. The going-in backbone of that focus is that denying such a founding principle — indeed, such a logical separation — is prejudice to the good order and discipline of those military forces. Indeed, when such “values and principles” were still being rather hotly debated in the colonies, several of the Founders even questioned the placement of chaplains among the then meager forces gathering around General George Washington. Ever the practical soldier — and understanding he would require each and every man who mustered to his ranks (why 5,000 or so of his troops were Blacks) — he managed to assuage the concerns of men such as Madison and Jefferson and convince them that since the great majority of his followers were in fact Christians of varying sorts, chaplains might be a good idea for morale that was bound to sink very low indeed as his military efforts against the world’s most powerful Empire progressed, as Valley Forge later amply corroborated.
But we must immediately recall also Washington’s 1790 letter to Touro Synagogue in Newport, RI (styled by the new President as “To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island” and in response to a letter to President Washington from the synagogue’s Warden, John Moses Seixas). Indeed, when I was last inside that synagogue myself, I read on the wall there Washington’s letter to the congregation, informing them that they should feel safe, they were in a new country, one that practiced religious freedom. It’s a marvelous letter, one I recommend you take time to read. I particularly relish one phrase the new President chose to use: he wrote that the new country in which this Jewish congregation now practiced its faith “…gives to bigotry no sanction….“. That is such a ringing, eloquent endorsement of the goal our Founders aspired to reach, after experiencing all the very opposite conditions from which many had come in “the old countries” in Europe and elsewhere.
Moreover, in the very practical sense, today’s military ranks are anything but wholly Christian. Jews, Muslims, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, Wiccans, Jedi Knights, and a remarkable tapestry of religions — and no religion at all — appear in those ranks with a degree of regularity, not to mention different types of Christianity ranging from hard-right Roman Catholics, to middle-of-the-road Catholics — such as my late wife was — to Evangelical Sects of all stripes, to formerly mainline religious groups like the Southern Baptists. In short, there is a vivid multiplicity of religions, as well as no religion at all, in today’s military forces.
Thus, I — nor I suspect anyone knowing our true history as a colony and then a nation — would have any idea by what you mean, as you continue in your email, writing “We will work tirelessly to restore noble American values and save this great country from its descent into depravity.” Such a statement is mystifying at best and indicative of — as we used to say in the military — a loose screw somewhere at worst. You seek, apparently, to render and destroy our values rather than keep or, as you illogically claim, restore them.
Likewise your concluding sentences, which, to be absolutely truthful, make no sense whatsoever and make me seriously question the origins of your doctorate, not to put too fine a point on this matter. In short, the best descriptor I can apply to those two concluding sentences, is “the gibberish of a fevered mind”.
Lawrence B. Wilkerson
Colonel, Retired, US Army
Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member James T. Currie
From: James Currie
Subject: Re: Complaint
Date: November 16, 2023 at 6:20:39 PM MST
To: (name withheld)
Dear Dr. (name withheld):
I do not know the subject of your Ph.D. degree, but having such a degree myself (History, University of Virginia), I understand that the degree implies the ability to conduct original research and draw appropriate conclusions from the evidence uncovered therein. There is certainly no indication of such ability in the screed you recently sent to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and its Founder and President, Mikey Weinstein. I Googled your name and degree and came up empty, suggesting that you have perhaps falsified your name and faked your degree, though I am willing to entertain the possibility that you simply do not appear in standard Google searches. I am more inclined to believe that you are nothing more than a cowardly troll. Regardless, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, on whose Board of Advisors I serve, has asked me to respond to your recent diatribe, and I shall do so,
First of all, contrary to your assertion, MRFF displays the greatest of respect for our country’s values and principles, especially for those values and principles embedded in the Constitution that members of the US military services swear to support and defend—with their lives if necessary. MRFF exists in fact to defend the First Amendment rights of those in uniform, allowing them the opportunity to practice their religious beliefs however they see fit, without regard to the beliefs of those who rank over them in their military chain of command. Without such an organization as MRFF, the 85,000 members of the military who have been served by MRFF would not have had anywhere to turn for free-of-cost defense of their First Amendment rights.
Second, you are spouting total nonsense when you state that you and others like you will “work tirelessly to restore noble American values and save this great country from its descent into depravity.” MRFF espouses the highest of American values, including freedom of conscience for those who serve in uniform, and it does not need someone like you to rescue our country. By the way, just wondering, but how long did you serve in the US military? What years and what service?
Finally, you claim to embrace “faith, freedom, and virtue,” but in reality you only stand for small-mindedness and bigotry. MRFF is not trying to replace anyone’s spirituality. It respects every servicemember’s right to practice whatever religion they choose—or no religion whatsoever, if that is their choice. In so doing it acts in total consistency with the beliefs of the Founders of our republic, men who fully understood that religious freedom was an essential component of the kind of country they were trying to create. That’s what we at MRFF stand for, too, much to the disappointment of small-minded individuals like yourself.
Col. James T. Currie, USA (Ret.), Ph.D.
Board of Advisors
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Response from Veteran USAF Pilot and MRFF Client James Chamberlain
From: James Chamberlain
Date: November 16, 2023 at 5:14:11 PM MST
To: (name withheld)
You seem to miss the point that Christianity can not be proselytized (forced on others). The military is a different life style in that rank can force others to do things they may not agree with. The ranking people do not have the right to push their religious beliefs on the lower ranks. They must allow people to have their own personal faiths. By pushing Christianity on someone of a different belief, you are hurting them as well as Christianity. Civilian life is different. You are free to espouse your belief anywhere because civilians have the right to say NO.
I am a Christian, born again, and a friend of Mikey and the MRFF. Please reconsider your stance because the MRFF is trying to preserve the religious rights of all service personnel.
James L. Chamberlain
Veteran USAF Pilot
Response from MRFF Board Member John Compere
On Nov 16, 2023, at 4:59 PM, John Compere wrote:
Your specious sectarian sermonette reflects only on yourself and reveals only your own ignorance of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and the secular founding of the United States of America.
For your information, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is an American non-profit civil rights advocacy organization for the military nominated 7 times for the Nobel Peace Prize and composed of 900 volunteer and paid staff of Americans (85% Christians). We have represented over 85,000 American military men and women (95% Christians) who requested their right to religious freedom guaranteed them by the United States Constitution, Department of Defense directives and Armed Forces regulations be protected. We represent with American pride and patriotism the religious freedom of all faiths and beliefs of Americans when requested by them to do so.
For your enlightenment, attached is my recently published article on Constitution Day (September 17) discussing and documenting our secular founding.
Brigadier General John Compere, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, US Army (Retired)
Former Chief Judge, US Army Court of Military Review and US Army Legal Services Agency
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Martin France
On Nov 16, 2023, at 6:23 PM, Martin France wrote:
(name withheld), my name is Marty France. I’m an Advisory Board member to the MRFF and long-time friend of Mikey–both of us are USAF Academy grads and we each have several family members that are USAFA grads and veterans of all of the services. I occasionally answer emails like yours to give Mikey a breather. So, here goes…
1. How are Mikey and the MRFF attempting to destroy “America’s founding values and principles?” On the contrary, they are defending the First Amendment rights of service members and veterans and are helping to enforce the Establishment Clause as well as the Article 6 prohibition of religious tests to hold offices of responsibility within the government and military.
2. Exactly what are those noble American values that you will work tirelessly to restore? Are they consistent with the First Amendment and THE document that outlines our values–The Constitution. Please inform me better on this, because (despite also having completed my PhD a few decades ago), I’m unaware of the MRFF or Mikey advocating or supporting any sort of “depravity.”
3. Satanic efforts? Mikey doesn’t believe in a satan and neither do I. We are defending the rights of all fully-qualified American citizens to serve in the US military without regard to their personal religious beliefs. In what way is that satanic?
4. Scientism? What is that? Reliance on science and evidence and rational thought to inform decisions and actions? If that’s the case, then I’m guilty as charged–and I think Mikey is, too. That’s bad exactly how?
5. With regards to “spiritualism,” please point to where in the Constitution the Founders required or even preferred “spiritualism” or the rational thought of the Age of Enlightenment principles. Are you arguing that we go back to burning witches?
6. You’re very welcome to be a patriot and a Christian. That is your right and I served in uniform for 41 years to defend your right to be both. However, Christianity is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for honorable service in our military or to be a patriot who loves their country.
7. Globalism? Please cite a source that links Mikey and the MRFF with “globalism.” Heck, if you can, please tell me what your definition of “globalism” is. If it’s “a philosophy of those that care about the whole globe/world and realize that the actions of each and every one of us affects the world around us and our fellow human beings and their environment” then I’d like to ask you why AREN’T WE ALL globalists? I’d like your reaction on that point.
Brigadier General, USAF (Retired)
MRFF Advisory Board Member
Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
On Nov 18, 2023, at 3:39 PM, Mike wrote:
Hi (name withheld),
Mikey gets a lot of mail and I try to help with some of the more tiresome ones because he has more important things to do than respond to quacks and bigots.
Since you proudly note your Ph.D. credentials, I find it difficult to square a serious education with spurious charges. How do you explain it? You assert that Mikey is attempting “to destroy America’s founding values and principles” without specifying just what it is you seem to believe he has done to achieve such an end.
And you further threaten that his undefined actions “will be met with overwhelming resistance”, which sounds like you’re bringing out the big guns. Are you? Should we all duck for cover?
The “all” I refer to, rather jocularly, I trust you understand, make up the vast numbers of people joined with Mikey in the effort to ensure the recognition and honoring of our cherished ‘separation of church and state’ and to see to it that the women and men in the military who have sought his assistance are supported in their right to believe as they choose.
Beyond that, what can I do for you? You mention ‘faith, freedom and virtue,’ which we honor, as do most thinking people. But you go on to suggest that those values somehow “will deny your (meaning our) satanic efforts to replace spiritualism with pure materialism and scientism.”
That’s heavy stuff. Where do you come up with this crap? Since I’ve already pointed out that we honor faith, freedom and virtue, how is it that you suggest those very values, which we honor and cherish, will somehow deny what we are doing?
You see, this is the confusing part. For a man who pretends to be educated to assert that we are employing “satanic efforts to replace spiritualism with pure materialism and scientism” without stating how he thinks we are doing so is just plain dumb. And here, of course, in an attempt to underscore the stupidity of your premise, I choose a four-letter-word to emphasize the ignorance of your charge.
So, please be specific. “We will work tirelessly…” Who is “we”?
Now, you and the rest of the ‘we’ will endeavor to “restore American values.” Which of the “American values” is missing, in your apparently strongly held view?
Ah, you’ve now identified the ‘we’ as “Christian patriots.” That helps. But it raises some additional questions:
1. Is “Christian patriots” a subset of patriots of all belief systems? Or 2. Does “Christian patriots” infer that only Christians are patriots? 3. If the latter, do all those people serving our country, saluting our flag, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, voting, singing the national anthem and obeying the laws who are people of other faiths or no faith at all, fail the patriot test in your estimation?
And finally, you and your cadre of so-called “Christian patriots” “will ensure that globalism will be relegated to the ash heap of history.” Really?
What, exactly, is this “globalism” you’re so exercised about? Are you a member of the Flat Earth Society? Do you deny the existence of other countries and other peoples? Or is it that they, if they exist, don’t count in your mind? Unless they’re Christians, of course. Or do they matter to you even if they are?
If there is a “descent into depravity” in this country, your benighted view defines it.
(name withheld)., when I was in the Marines and someone messed up and/or acted stupidly toward another because he or she was deemed ‘different,’ we’d brace them and say, “Shape up or ship out.”
(MRFF Board of Advisors
Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Martin France
On Nov 21, 2023, at 7:46 PM, Martin France
No response, (name withheld)?
Disappointing, but not unexpected. How many box tops did that PhD cost you?