Every month MRFF's research department will feature a video and photo demonstrating violations of federal regulations
caught on camera
In a 2004 "Soldiers in Christ" Veterans Day address at Dallas Theological Seminary, Army chaplain Maj. Douglas W. Duerksen said that our soldiers are "as ripe as black bananas" for evangelism, and called military chaplains "government-paid missionaries." Maj. Duerkson was the brigade chaplain for the 504th Military Intelligence Brigade at Fort Hood at the time that this was filmed.
Scroll over photo and Click the "Play"(Left Arrow)
button on above video to watch this 1 minute video
For more examples of the frequent use of the terms "government-paid missionaries" and "government-paid missionaries for Christ" to describe members of our armed forces,
see MRFF's October 2007 report.
Gen. Roger Brady at Bagram Air Base -- June 15, 2007
"Lt. Gen. Roger Brady, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Personnel, addressed the Airmen of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at an all call in the Enduring Faith Chapel, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 15. The general addressed topics from Air Force Smart Operations 21, Reduction in Force, uniform issues and updates, then took several questions from the Airmen in attendance."
Apparently, it didn't occur to Gen. Brady, the evangelical Christian who, for some inexplicable reason, was chosen by the Air Force as the appropriate person to oversee the writing of new guidelines for religion at the Air Force Academy back in 2005, to remove the Bible and cover up the cross when using the chapel at Bagram for a mandatory "all call." Brady was recently promoted to 4-star general.
MRFF has uncovered a fairly widespread problem with the chapels at our military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a clear violation of military regulations for chapels, many of these buildings have crosses and other specifically Christian symbols affixed to both their interiors and exteriors that are not -- or cannot be -- removed when these buildings are used for purposes other than Christian religious services. In addition to these Christian symbols being present during services for other faiths, service members attending the non-religious, mandatory military events that are often held in these same buildings, such as Gen. Brady's "all call," are confronted by crosses on the doors, walls, and even in large stained glass windows, which, of course, are visible from both inside and outside the chapels.
Attention All "Evil-Doers":
This Really is a Religious War
Like many a good oppressed American Christian, retired Lt. Gen. William "my God was bigger than his" Boykin has now written of his unbearable persecution and suffering in a book. As expected, Boykin, in Never Surrender: A Soldier's Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom, claims that the quotes from his evangelical pep rallies that caused him so much trouble were "ripped out of context" by the media. But, in explaining this alleged out of context quoting, Boykin himself resorts to ripping his own words out of context -- the only way he can make his backpedalling seem plausible.
I don't want to dwell on Boykin too much. In fact, I hadn't actually intended to write about Boykin at all. He is now retired, and, other than feeding the persecution complex enjoyed by so many other members of our country's oppressed majority religion, he can't do much further damage. What's of far greater concern is the number other military leaders and members of Congress -- in office now -- who have publicly made Boykin-like statements describing the current war as a religious one, a subject that I coincidentally happened to be writing about last week when I found out that Boykin's book was being released. Read more...
Religion at Issue
Tuesday August 5, 2008
By Patrick Winn - Special to the Times
Deciphering the dos and don’ts of discussing religion within the Air Force is not a job for the meek. Some mobilized evangelicals see airmen as de facto missionaries. Lawsuit-filing watchdogs continue to claim Christianity is often force-fed to subordinates. Even chaplains, the military’s in-house arbiters of faith, don’t always agree on when evangelism is permissible. Now it’s Maj. Gen. Cecil Richardson’s job to continue sorting out God’s role in the service. Appointed in May as the service’s chief of chaplains, Richardson began his Air Force career in 1966 interpreting Cold War-era Russian intercepts. He’s a Protestant pastor who borrows his spirited preaching style from African-American clergymen, he said. And even as deputy chief of chaplains, a position he held for four years before assuming the top slot, Richardson found himself sucked into the sharp debate over evangelism’s boundaries. Read more...
The New Pariahs
Atheists in the U.S. Military By: Michael Dorian
Issue of "Free Inquiry" Vol. 28 No 5
In 2007, United States Army Specialist Jeremy Hall decided to hold a meeting of atheists and agnostics at his base camp in Tikrit, Iraq. Hall a military police solier in Iraq at the time, was about to have his life changed in ways he could have never imagined.
Three other people showed up for Hall's meeting, one of them Army Major Freddy Welborn. Hall says Welborn declared himself "a freethinker" as his entree into the group. But fifteen minutes into the meeting, Hall realized something was very wrong. Read more... (pdf)
August 7, 2008
Currently in Germany & have been out of US since 2 July.
Was shocked to belatedly read today of the cowardly night attack on your home on 16 June. Our thoughts are with you and your family. I hope that you and your family are OK (even allowing for the PTS). This attack is the reprehensible act of cowards, and I hope the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice. I trust your fighting spirit is intact. If there's anything we can do, please let us know. You are a credit to America and our military.
All the best.
United States Naval Academy Class of 1962
August 5, 2008
Every Tuesday at my base the chaplain has a dedicated hour on the local AFN radio. It is the only english radio station we have access to. It does not bother me that he has time to say a few words. What does bother me is that it has turned into a Heavily christian broadcast. The entire hour is gospel music and readings from the new testament. Many times during this hour statements such as "Jesus is your savior", "The only way to heaven is through Jesus". The broadcast is also during the 1200 hour, the normal lunch time when the highest volume of listeners are tuned in. My question is this legal? Shouldn't it be non-denominational? It seems like it is proselytizing. Thank you in advanced for your help.
August 4, 2008
Military Religious Freedom Foundation & Michael L. Weinstein
Thank you for for ending the bible revival within the military.
I have served for almost 23 years within the US Army. I love this
country, our people, my Army, and I too am an atheist.
Evangelistic Bibles and their Churches have been pushed on every
member of the military at every base that I have ever had the pleasure of being stationed. I can affirm that the people within the military do make every effort to make a fair environment for fellow Christians. As human beings these same Christians also do everything within their power to make the US Military a Christian Military. I have been treated as an outsider, a satanist, a traitor, an unethical person, Insulted in public, and even as less than human at times. I have even been threatened with military discipline several times for refusing to believe in anther's religion, by US Army Priests. (In God's name the uneducated masses kill for the industrial war machine)
What ever happened to protecting the constitution, this country and our people? What does the Constitution say first and for most...(under the amendments)? Congress will make no law respecting an establishment of ???? The US Military, its Generals, and the Cabinet Members need to receive training on the US Constitution!
I do really thank you for what you are doing.
July 26, 2008
I just read the Tinker AFB letter. I was stationed there 2000-2003 and had some concerns about the overt religiosity. I was uncomfortable, especially at change of command ceremonies which were over the top with guest preacher invocations and religiously laced speeches. I chocked it up to being in the "bible belt", but this letter makes me sorry I didn't speak up more when I was there. I am in Iraq now and in charge of a small group. We are all extremely sensitive to the appearance of proselytizing here.
I am looking forward to my retirement in the Albuquerque area. Do you guys need any volunteers to help out around the office?
July 26, 2008
I've been reading your newsletters about the situation at Fort Leonard Wood and it made me recall a religious coercion incident that I personally witnessed a few years ago. This was when I was stationed in Germany as a Military Police First Sergeant and was attending the Military Police Regimental Week activities at Fort Leonard Wood in Sept. 2003. The MP Regiment has a memorial Grove at Fort Leonard Wood where they hold an annual memorial service to the fallen MPs from the previous year which I actually have no problem with and I didn't even have a problem with myself being required to attend. What I did have a problem with was the fact that the ENTIRE ceremony was Christian from beginning to end, loaded with prayers, Christian songs, etc, and there was absolutely NO acknowledgement that some of the fallen and their families were from other faiths. The second thing that I had a problem with was that young prospective MPs attending basic training at Fort Leonard Wood were required to attend and were marched down there with their units in formation.
As an Iraq war veteran myself, I have no problem paying respects to the fallen and I have no problem with young trainees doing the same thing. Respect to our fallen is an important military tradition and should be respected. However, this memorial service was clearly designed by Christians for an entirely Christian audience in order to honor Christians and in my opinion, was disrespectful to the fallen of other faiths, who apparently did not rate a ceremony in their own tradition or even a religiously neutral ceremony. It was also disrespectul to the non-Christian trainees to compell them to attend what was essentially a Christian church service and leave them (and me) with the impression that the MP Corps only cares about honoring it's Christian fallen.
I have not attended the ceremony in several years but I have no reason to think it's not still going on in the manner I've described. I talked with several chaplains and officers after the ceremony about what I perceived as disrespect and was basically told my objections were without merit.
Anyway, I just thought you might find this information useful as you are currently examining the climate at Fort Leonard Wood. The MP Regiment and MP School is a huge part of Fort Leonard Wood's operation and thousands of students pass through the MP School every year.
Thank you and keep up the great work!
Our fight is against those with passion. We need yours.
We are currently looking for interested and active supporters to join a local MRFF chapter as either a member or an officer.
Our fight is against those with passion. We need yours.
In our fight in the media and the courts, your assistance is vital to the success of our mission. We have had offers of assistance from many excellent attorneys nationwide, but we are continuously looking for others in all areas of the country.
As many of you are aware on July 24th MRFF lost a dear friend, ardent supporter and Advisory Board Member with the passing of General Robert T. Herres. Bob Herres was the greatest commander I ever worked for during my 14 years in the Air Force. He was the key person who convinced me to leave my business and legal career and start the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. He will truly be missed. We have included in this newsletter organizations that the Herres family has suggested for memorial donations.
I write you this note having just returned from Ohio where I attended another sold out screening of Constantine's Sword, followed by a lively Q&A, book signing and reception. Everywhere I go, a plethora of MRFF supporters appear. It is amazing to see our movement take hold. As we close out the summer, it's nice to look back at what a whirlwind we just experienced, from TV to print, to the movies and radio, we've been everywhere. And the more exposure we get, the more we hear from our honorable Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Veterans. They need us, and with your continued support, we plan to be there for them!
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DVD goes on sale August 20th!
BUY A DVD AND HELP SUPPORT MRFF! A portion of each purchase will be donated to the foundation.
"[Sharlet] has managed to infiltrate the most influential and secretive fundamentalist network in America, and ground his reporting in the most astute and original explanation of fundamentalism I’ve
ever read. . . . Indispensable."
- Hanna Rosin,
former religion reporter
for the Washington Post
"In Justice: Inside the Scandal
That Rocked the Bush Administration"
by David Iglesias