MRFF Advisory Board Member Marty France perfectly responds to e-mailer who took exception to a graphic used by MRFF

Published On: May 20, 2024|Categories: MRFF's Inbox, Top News|4 Comments|
Headshot of MRFF Advisory Board Member Marin France

On May 19, 2024, at 4:41 PM, (name withheld) wrote:

Unlike a lot of people who write I am not going to use profane language or be hateful, I’m going to disagree with you and not be disagreeable please show me the same consideration. I am a retired Soldier and am proud to say I was a chaplain’s assistant and I always felt I fought for GOD and country in that order. I think you were right to oppose Bible verses on rifles but you had a facebook post recently with a painting of Jesus with a “WTF” voice balloon coming out of his mouth. I found that very blasphemous and offensive and think that you should be ashamed of posting that and should do the decent thing and remove it. I think its wrong to disrespect Jesus.

An old Soldier who is proud to be God’s servant

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Marty France

On May 20, 2024, at 10:31 AM, Martin France  wrote:

(Name withheld) 

Thanks for your email and for your service. As Mikey said, I occasionally answer emails for the MRFF as a member of MRFF’s Advisory Board. I’m a veteran of more than 37 years of active duty service in the US Air Force, the father of two veterans, the brother and brother-in-law of veterans, and the son of two other veterans.

I can understand why you might’ve been offended by the “WTF” bubble on the MRFF post.  Language in general has taken a turn towards what we might’ve once called dirty or coarse–especially on social media. However, that language is part of our guaranteed free speech–something you defended during your service. I’m not asking you to condone or accept the words, just the right of a fellow American to use the abbreviation and to speak to a flagrant violation of our Constitution in words strong enough to convey the depth of his disdain.  It was done so, I’m certain, to get a reaction and express shock and surprise.  While the Jesus that you follow may not have used Aramaic terms equivalnt to today’s “WTF?”, the fact is that we just don’t know for sure–everything we know about him or even that he existed at all is based upon second-hard reporting passed down orally and translated multiple times through the centuries. 
In my mind, it’s VERY likely (and completely hypothetical) that if Jesus of the Gospels that I have read was presented with a weapon capable of killing dozens of people per minute and asked for his endorsement of the product (from the PRA – Palestine Rifle Association, maybe?) he would’ve certainly been incredulous beyond belief. “Me, the Prince of Peace, endorsing your new killing machine with my name or a cryptic reference to one of my quotes?  I sure as heck don’t think so!! Not even against the Romans, by Jove!”

Yes, you have the right to be offended by an abbreviation, but isn’t the real offense here (as you note) the conflation of a commitment to (according to scripture, at least) a peaceful and loving faith and a weapon of mass, often random and vicious death? OR worse, as a tool of a government organization to fight it’s enemies?

In the Constitution you so ably defended, there is a commitment to never establish a national religion or to endorse any particular faith over others or no faith at all–much less to coopt it into any state-sponsored violence.

Sadly maybe, whatever you think of the “WTF” bubble attached to an idealized picture of Jesus, it worked.  You noticed it, recognized the impropriety (and evil) of “Jesus Rifles”and responded. We thank you for that.  We also hope that, in the future, two more things occur:  1. That our message becomes so well recognized and acknowledged that we don’t need to use “gotcha” language to gain the attention of the public (Christian and otherwise); and 2. That you continue to support th MRFF mission of creating a strong, effective US military in which no particular religious blief is a necessary or sufficient condition for honorableservice to our nation.

Thanks again for your note!

Sincerely,

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


Response from MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein

From: Mikey Weinstein
Date: May 19, 2024 at 5:16:37 PM MDT
To: (name withheld)
Subject: I want to respectfully disagree with you

(name withheld), I want to thank you for your non-threatening and relatively respective statement to us… You’re going to get a more specific response a little later from one of our most well respected foundation advisory board members… In the meantime, I wanted to make sure you knew that we have read your email and will respond shortly… The fight we fight is very very dangerous. It is brutal. It is expensive and it is often scary… please try to understand that we see a different “version“ of Christianity, perhaps, than the one you practice… Perhaps not?… We fight fundamentalist Christian nationalism… It isn’t pretty and it isn’t safe and it’s not like riding a unicorn through a cotton candy forest handing out treats to little forest animals singing in unison in English… Armed Forces Day was yesterday and I want to acknowledge your service to our country… I am an Air Force Academy graduate and spent seven additional years in the US Air Force including 3 1/2 as one of the lawyers for President Reagan in his White House… thank you for giving us your opinion and I wish you the best… Mikey Weinstein… Founder and President, Military Religious Freedom Foundation…  Here’s a link that might help you comprehend the viciousness of the fight we have to deal with…… 

Salon.com — One of America’s most-hated Jews says we’re getting antisemitism wrong


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4 Comments

  1. Ironmoped May 23, 2024 at 11:54 am

    I dunno, maybe replace the thought bubble with Christ holding an AR-15, as those on the Christian right are want to do?

    The article caption says “….MRFF Advisory Board Member Marty France perfectly responds……”

    And in Marty’s response he conflates a Jesus thought bubble with an endorsement of a weapon of mass carnage by ……. Palestinians???

    Kind of juvenile, let’s never miss an opportunity, as a MRFF Advisory Board member, to shill for Israel and its Nazinyahu and Kahanist-based Likud run Government.

    I’m guessing a service connected disability – PCS – Palestinian Conflation Syndrome. I believe those and other weapons of mass carnage (2,000 lb bombs being dropped on Palestinian kids), are made right here in the good ole U.S. of A, completely endorsed by the IWA – Israeli Weapons Association!

    So…….two can play this game, albeit, your words represent an organizational position, mine do not!

    I’m, quite honestly, surprised. I didn’t think the MRFF mission included a position on the current conflagration, but maybe I’m wrong. Kind of like transitioning from religion to Atheism.

    I can’t help but think, given BG France’s status as a former General Officer, with a PhD, that word choice would be easy in terms of messaging given the heights of leadership attainment, as opposed to us mere mortal high-school drop-outs. The message is clear in terms of an organizational Mission statement. Can’t wait to see the Vision Statement!

    Let me guess, starts with something like….”From the river to the sea?”

    My confidence, in terms of organizational support has taken a hit, obviously. But my confidence in being on the right side of history with regards to Israeli carnage is steadfast.

    Contrary to the caption, cheap shot rather than perfect response, imo.

    Enlightening for sure.

  2. Marty France May 23, 2024 at 3:30 pm

    Wow, I guess that I was aiming at a different target than ironmoped thought I was. When I read this comment above, I wondered how in the world someone could interpret what I wrote as referring to the current conflict in Gaza. Sarcasm doesn’t translate well sometimes on the internet. I was referring to Palestine in biblical times and thought some would get the reference to “The Life of Brian.” Apparently that was an epic fail and ironmoped ran with it. He ran a long way with it.

    “And in Marty’s response he conflates a Jesus thought bubble with an endorsement of a weapon of mass carnage by ……. Palestinians???”

    Unaware that I might’ve been interpreted as endorsing one side or another in an unrelated (to my mind, to this issue) conflict, I probably should’ve said the “Hittite Rifle Association” or something completely different and extinct. I DID say Jesus of the Gospels–that, I thought, should’ve been a hint that I wasn’t talking about modern times. #swingandamiss

    Oh well. Lesson learned. I still find it hard to believe that my moped friend above took one word and inferred (inaccurately) so much from it, but that’s the world we live in.

    I’ll try better. And maybe ironmoped can save a few hundred words and just write, “Did I miss something or were you somehow commenting on Palestinians in current day Gaza?”

  3. Ironmoped May 23, 2024 at 4:20 pm

    Roger, got it.

  4. Mark Sebree May 24, 2024 at 7:04 am

    Marty,

    Pretty much everyone that writes commentary on the internet gets caught by that trap. All you have are written clues, and no visual or auditory ones. So don’t feel too bad about it.

    Mark Sebree

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