MRFF Allies Rabbi Joel Schwartzman & Mike Challman, and MRFF Advisory Board Members Mike Farrell & Marty France Respond to Crude, Uneducated, Hateful Message “Easter Trees Audie Murphy”

Published On: April 8, 2024|Categories: MRFF's Inbox, Top News|9 Comments|
Hands typing on computer keyboard

From: (name and email address withheld)
Subject: Easter Trees Audie Murphy
: April 8, 2024 at 8:37:22 AM MDT
To: [email protected]

Did you assholes bother to ask the opinions of veterans at Audie Murphy if they liked the Easter Trees before you demanded they be removed?  I bet not.  I hope the fires of hell are extra hot for you.  I am canceling the large donation I planned your sick group since I see what you actually stand for.  I bet you have currency in your pocket that says, “in God we Trust.  Doesn’t that make you a hypocrite?

(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein

From: Mikey Weinstein
Subject: Easter Trees Audie Murphy
Date: April 8, 2024 at 8:42:49 AM MDT
To: (name withheld)

…..hi, fool…….we represent 44 honorable U.S. veteran  complainants on this matter….32 of them are practicing Christians…In America, we don’t count heads before enforcing the 1st Amendment” as the late SCOTUS Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said from the bench!… your homework, little feather, next time…..Mikey W

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

From: Mike Farrell
Subject: Re: Easter Trees Audie Murphy
Date: April 8, 2024 at 1:31:08 PM MDT
To: (name withheld)

Dear Mr. (Name withheld),

Keep your two dollars. Maybe spend some time reading the Constitution, the mission statement of the MRFF, try to get a grasp of the laws of our land and those of the military, then walk around the block to clear your head before you fire off another stupid message to someone else who says something you don’t understand.

It’ll be good for your digestion and maybe open your mind a touch.

Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)

Response from MRFF supporter Rabbi Joel Schwartzman

On Apr 8, 2024, at 10:25 AM, Rabbi Joel Schwartzman wrote:

Some emails aren’t worth putting much time into formulating a response.  Yours is one such piece of uneducated trash.  However:

When I was a boy, the kids down the street used to chide me by telling me that I was going to Hell.  I used to respond, “Fine! I’ll meet you there!” This response no longer works for me because I don’t believe that there is a Hell except for the condition that people like you create for the rest of us Americans.

My succinct suggestion to you, my crude and ignorant friend, is for you to read the First Amendment to our Constitution.  There you will find why “Easter Trees” on military installations and in Veteran hospitals are anathema to the laws that govern this country and to the people who seek to abide and enforce them.

Please, “Mr. Crude,” keep your money and go get educated.  What a great and better world will appear before you if you open your mind and seal off the hate that emanates from your mouth.

Rabbi Joel R. Schwartzman (Ch, Col, USAF (Ret)
Dillon, CO

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Marty France

On Apr 8, 2024, at 10:40 AM, Martin France wrote:

Dear (name withheld),

I’m on the MRFF Advisory Board and occasionally answer emails like yours on behalf of the organization.  I do this based upon my 41-plus years that I served in uniform, experience with religious bias, and achievement of relatively senior rank, having retired in the grade of Brigadier General.  Now, I don’t know your level of military experience or even your depth of exposure to the US Constitution, so I’ll assume (based upon your note) that both are approximately ZERO.Let’s look at your statements a little more closely.

“Did you assholes [kind people] bother to ask the opinions of veterans at Audie Murphy if they liked the Easter Trees before you demanded they be removed?”

Ignoring the pejorative term, and as Mikey said in his other email, the First Amendment (which states that the government shall make no with respect to the establishment of a particular religious view) is not subject to majority rule or vote.  That means that we can’t take a popular vote that might state that all citizens named [name withheld] are only allowed to speak in public on Tuesdays on which a full moon occurs.  We can’t do that even if we have evidence that no one named [name withheld] had ever said anything of value and 99% of the citizenry agrees to the restriction.  I’m sure the protection of this right of yours makes you happy.  The US government and its agencies also cannot state that one of its organizations endorses and promotes Christianity, Paganism, Islam, Judaism, or the worship of the God [name withheld], EVEN IF 100% of the people working at that agency believe in the same fashion.

For the Audie Murphy VA Center that means that they (the administrators and leadership) can’t set up a single-religion display at a holiday unless they’re willing to treat ALL religions (thousands of them by last count) on an equal basis.

That doesn’t mean that the veterans living at the center (if some do) can’t decorate their private space with whatever religious paraphernalia they prefer–but that must be contained to their private space.  The MRFF would support each veteran’s right to do this.

I don’t recognize the “fires of hell” as a threat, personally, having seen no evidence that they exist beyond the need to frighten misbehaving children and superstitious hillbillies.  So, in terms of the temperature level, I’m okay with whatever you imagine might happen to me after my death.  My guess is that you have ZERO control over that, too.

You’re canceling a large donation to the MRFF?  Frankly, I’m shocked and disappointed.  The entire MRFF was counting on that donation to build a new center for the study of protection of religious rights within the military, a multi-million dollar project for which we had decided to give you naming rights.  Now, alas, the Schott Center for Research Of Anti-Theism (SCROAT for short) cannot be started.  We sincerely hope that you will change your mind.

Being a totally ecumenical organization, we happily accept cash money with “In God We Trust” printed on it  We just make small pen-and-in changes upon receipt that add either an “s” to God for our polytheistic clients or a carrot “^” and “don’t” before the “Trust” for our Atheist buddies.  Then, we mix them all together and deposit them in the bank, absolving us of all hypocrisy.  I personally don’t touch paper money anymore and prefer to worship at the altar of “Google Pay” and “Venmo” so that I don’t have to worry about infections and germs.

Anyway, I do thank you for your note and wish you a happiest total solar eclipse.  May you depart with the Rapture, my friend, and never be seen again–something that we all agreed, by vote, would be just frickin’ awesome!  You deserve it!


Marty France
Brigadier General, USAF (Retired)
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Response from MRFF supporter Mike Challman

On Apr 8, 2024, at 2:05 PM, Mike Challman wrote:

Good afternoon, Mr. (name withheld) –  

Mikey shared your email with me, and asked if I would be interested in replying to you.  I’m a lifelong, active Christian, a USAF veteran, and the Dad of a current active duty servicemember.  I’m also a longtime supporter of the MRFF.  

It’s regrettable that you would choose name-calling and nastiness over an honest desire to understand the rationale that supports our objection to the Easter display at the Audie L. Murphy VA Medical Center.  Had you instead asked, “Why did the MRFF object to the display?”, we would have told you how it violates the VA’s own regulations and policies about such a sectarian religious display.  As to your question about asking “the opinions of veterans at Audie Murphy if they liked the Easter Trees”, we actually learned of the inappropriate display from some of those veterans.  And in any case, this is not something to be decided by a popular vote.  Wrong is wrong, every time.  And a sectarian religious display that promotes one particular belief is always wrong in a government installation.  Even when it promotes a religious belief with which I personally agree. 

Lastly, as you surely understand now that the role played by the MRFF in this instance is exactly the reason our organization exists, you can be confident in making your “large donation” to the MRFF.  Unless you were just saying something silly to try to add some punch to your email.  


Mike Challman
Christian, Veteran, Blue Star Dad, MRFF Supporter

Response from MRFF Board Member John Compere

On Apr 8, 2024, at 3:24 PM, John Compere wrote:

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

John Compere

Brigadier General, US Army (Retired)

Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)

Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation

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  1. A.L Hern April 8, 2024 at 2:18 pm

    Ask veterans “if they liked easter trees?”

    The Constitution, its separation between church and state and everything else in it, IS NOT POPULARITY CONTEST, and enforcement of its stipulations is not a matter of choice.

    My mother worked at a V.A. facility for twenty-five years (Franklin D. Roosevelt, Montrose, NY). I spent quite a bit of my high school years on the facility’s grounds and one of the more indelible memories I carry is the smell: the veterans who lived there were ALWAYS smoking, and every hallway and room in every building reeked of tobacco.

    Smoking is no longer permitted in the facilities, and if there are veterans who live or visit there who want to smoke, they have to go somewhere else to do it.

    The point is that smoking is banned (as it is in all government offices and establishments) because no one was ever hurt by NOT smoking. But those who did and do not smoke ARE injured by other’s smoke.

    No one was ever hurt by having to practice their religion in private. If veterans want “easter trees” (not that there really is such a thing) in their own rooms, they are welcome to them, but the public, taxpayer-supported, V.A. spaces belong to ALL veterans, employees and visiting public, and there are many who are injured, psychologically and spiritually, by being forced to participate, to whatever extent, in the practices of religions to which they do not belong.

    It’s also rather akin to slavery: until all are free, no one is free.

  2. Jeff April 8, 2024 at 5:35 pm

    Name Withheld apparently thinks constitutional rights of veterans and DOD regulations are only enforced if they’re popular with the current group using VA facilities. Looks like somebody was not paying attention in high school civics class and has some strong religious prejudices.

  3. Ironmoped April 9, 2024 at 4:10 pm

    “Keep your two dollars!” Now that’s funny!

    I’m guessing they’ll put up a big chocolate bunny at Christmas? Assuming it’s in recognition of Christ’s brown skin, sort of works, not withstanding the whole constitutional thing, secular military, etc.

    Sounds like the VA staff are dipping into the psychotropics! The VA needs to keep its medicine cabinets locked!

    And the old “Fires of Hell” comment. Nothing like having a good reason to be a Christian, right? Better worship me……or else! Kind of sounds like Daffy Donald! No wonder Christianity is on the back side of the power curve, unresponsive, pretty mushy in the controls. You can tell the two-dollar donor is an old white guy. His platitudes are showing!

    “In God We Trust” on the money? Wasn’t always on money, put there by Eisenhower during the communist scare days. Course, the MAGATs have fully embraced Putin, Orban, et al in their race to the bottom, fascism the new darling of the Republican Party. Diaper Don’s “I am your retribution” the mantra of their planned autocracy.

    So, is a Christmas tree at Easter a Kiester Tree?

    MAGATs – Out The Door In 24!

  4. ChiefBigDick April 13, 2024 at 6:10 am

    What is the deal with all the Native American references?… little feather? Seems a little disrespectful.

  5. AllenMay April 17, 2024 at 3:22 pm

    Well I was about to donate two dollars to the MRFF today, but after reading this I don’t want to embarrass myself with my puny contribution. Will save it for my next trip to the Pet store, they love 2 dollar donations.

  6. Grey One Talks Sass April 20, 2024 at 2:06 pm

    AllenMay, sure you were going to donate monies to the MRFF. If you believed in MRFF’s mission you would have read the entire exchange and come to a totally different conclusion than the one which impelled you to write your comment.

    Did you read the letter? Did you understand that this is not the first time this specific letter writer has trolled here? Of course not – you came with preconceived notions and looked for the confirmation bias. Bingo – you found what you were looking for because you saw nothing aside from what already confirmed your opinion.

    Look – donate to pets. I’m all for supporting shelter animals as my last four service dogs were rescues. But your outrage is as fake as a certain losing former presidents skin tone*.

    *Does he know he has to use a blending sponge to even it out? Does he know we can see his ears? I can’t even with the uber white ears against the mud brown toner!!! Has he EVER watched RuPaul’s Drag Race? I know the Queens have makeup tutorials. He could learn so much.

  7. AllenMay April 24, 2024 at 1:36 pm

    I’m not sure what your point is. A MRFF representative disparaged a donation of two dollars as being of little value to them. It was low-class and rude to those willing to contribute two dollars. All the other shit you typed is irrelevant.

  8. Grey One Talks Sass April 25, 2024 at 8:05 am

    Of course you don’t see my point AllenMay. I’m positive there are many things you neither understand nor see.

    There are many souls offering their tiny monies to help support one of the most important fights of our democracy. Yet it was you AllenMay who not only took offense but took offense twice. Perhaps you are the letter writer?

    Just asking questions. That’s how it’s done, amirite?

  9. AllenMay April 25, 2024 at 12:39 pm

    Are you ok? Does your brain hurt from the damage?

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