February 2009
 
The American Pro

Nightline Segment Includes MRFF's Criticism of Military-Embedded Missionaries

See below for more details

The Huffington Post Logo

The Huffington Post Logo
Featured on Recommended List

U.S. Army Conveniently Loses
Records of Embedded
Christian-Reality-TV-Show Missionaries

Friday, January 16, 2009

By Chris Rodda

After I wrote a piece here back in December exposing the U.S. Army's participation in the Christian reality TV show Travel the Road, the organization I work for, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), was contacted by ABC News Nightline.

The seven minute segment about Travel the Road that aired on Nightline on Monday night briefly mentioned MRFF's allegations of the U.S. military's violations in the production of the Travel the Road episodes filmed in Afghanistan, with the majority of the segment being taken up by clips from the series and interviews with its stars, Tim Scott and Will Decker, two evangelical Christian missionaries who travel to remote, and often dangerous, parts of the world to fulfill their two part mission to "1. Vigorously spread the gospel to people who are either cut off from active mission work, or have never heard the gospel," and "2. Produce dynamic media content to display the life of missions, and thus, through these episodic series electrify a new generation to accomplish the Great Commission," the mandate from Matthew 28:19 to "Go and make disciples of all nations."

Read More...


Violation on Video

Click the "Play"(Left Arrow) button on above video
to watch this 1 minute 27 second video. If video controls
disappear, move your cursor over the video to display them.

This month's video is a clip from one of the three episodes of the Christian reality TV show Travel the Road that were filmed in Afghanistan with the aid and participation of the U.S. Army. In this clip, Tim Scott, one of the two "extreme" missionaries who were embedded with the Army, in violation of numerous military regulations, interviews LTC Robert G. Young, the commander of the 325th Forward Support Battalion in Kandahar.

LTC Young, a committed Christian who lists his interests in his Military.com profile as "Jesus, Wife, Kids, PT," and belongs to a group called "Rangers 4 Christ," told Scott that the biggest problem in Kandahar was drought, and that this drought coincidentally began as soon as the Taliban took over the country. He went on to say that we've got to "overcome evil with good," and, literally thumping a Bible, quoted two of its verses in one sentence, saying, "Our weapons aren't carnal" (Corinthians 10:4) "and no weapon formed against us shall prosper." (Isaiah 54:17) He said he told an Afghan general that he would ask the American people to pray that God would send rain to Kandahar, and ended by saying that when the people of Kandahar see the rain "they'll know that our god answers prayers."

For more on this story, see the article "U.S. Army Conveniently Loses Records of Embedded Christian Reality TV Show Missionaries" featured above.


The Public Record Logo

Air Force E-Mail Directs Personnel To Website Depicting Obama
As Hitler, Antichrist

Thursday, February 5, 2009

By Jason Leopold

An Air Force Colonel is under fire for distributing an e-mail to thousands of Air Force personnel from her official government account directing personnel under her command to visit a far-right, Catholic website where President Barack Obama was compared to Adolf Hitler and the Antichrist.

Col. Kimberly K. Toney’s Jan. 16 e-mail was sent to eight different Air Force installations in the United Kingdom and Norway and included the subject line: “Inspiration of the day - A Giant of a Man - Meet Nick Vujicic,” who was born without limbs.

Read More...


The American Pro

With God On Our Side?

President Obama acknowledged nonreligious Americans in his Inaugural Address. Will his administration re-separate church and state?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009
(Click here to read paragraphs 6-8, Re: MRFF, of this article)

By Paul Waldman

We know that Barack Obama is all about inclusion. Still, it was a little surprising to hear him give a nod in his Inaugural Address to a group that has been one of America's most disdained, particularly when it comes to politics. "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers," he said, no doubt bringing a smile to millions of faces around the country, and a scowl to millions more.

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The Public Record Logo

Air Force Takes Action After E-Mail Described Jews as 'Whiners'

Thursday, January 29, 2009

By Jason Leopold

A couple of weeks ago, military command and staff officers at Creech Air Force base in Nevada circulated an e-mail at the request of the senior base chaplain to all personnel stationed at the facility, inviting them to attend a Bible study class in which the topic for discussion characterized Jews as “whiners.”

The mass e-mail, sent to personnel of various religious persuasions, is the latest in a long list of constitutional offenses committed by fundamentalist Christian chaplains stationed at U.S. military facilities around the world, many of whom have publicly displayed insensitivity and outright hostility to non-Christians serving in the military.

 

Read More...


After MRFF exposed this egregious violation, the following email was sent out to Creech AFB personnel:

January 30, 2009

Hunters,

A recent incident in which a flyer was sent out to all of you, referencing a specific chapel program, has brought to light the care and sensitivity we all must display to our fellow Airmen surrounding issues involving religion. While it resulted in a complaint by an outside organization, I am more concerned that it also resulted in complaints by some of you who felt offended by it personally. While I am absolutely convinced that it was sent with the best intentions by all, I am also convinced that the message, as well as its method of delivery, did not live up to the care for sensitivity to others I mentioned earlier. You all should know, I take full responsibility for the incident, and sincerely apologize to those of you in our Hunter community who were offended. I want to share a couple of lessons learned from this episode, so that you all know I am dedicated to ensuring something like this does not happen again;

Read more..


Caught on Camera

Last week, MRFF was alerted by one of our ever vigilant supporters
that the military is issuing official religious jewelry like the
Christian cross pictured here.

In looking into this issue, we found something even more egregious than these officially manufactured religious symbols. While the military issue crosses are just plain crosses, and do not incorporate any military emblems or insignia, there is other Christian jewelry being privately manufactured that does contain official military emblems. This religious jewelry is being sold by many companies, from online Christian stores to mainstream jewelers like Zales.

Some websites selling this jewelry post disclaimers like the following:

"Army trademarks and insignias are reproduced with permission from the Department of the Army. Permission has been granted for use of the Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Coast Guard and Coast Guard insignias on jewelry; however, usage does not indicate endorsement by the Department of Defense or any of its components."

The existence of this disclaimer makes no difference. An insurgent in Iraq or Afghanistan seeing a Christian cross with an official U.S. military emblem on one of our soldiers would never know that there is a disclaimer saying that this doesn't indicate an endorsement of Christianity by the
U.S. military.


MRFF In Box
MRFF's Inbox

January 24, 2009

To: Mikey Weinstein and MRFF:

My name is [name withheld]. My rank is [rank withheld] and I am a member of the United States Army Reserve. I am currently serving in Iraq with [unit designation withheld] company. This is my second deployment to Iraq. The first time I deployed, I was an infantryman and my job was to conduct combat operations. The company I am a part of now goes out regularly, almost daily, conducting support operations by transporting vehicles, water, and other supplies in support of the overall mission here.

Prior to each mission we have a briefing. This briefing is focused on providing intelligence updates, route information, and other mission critical information. Do you know how this briefing starts off? With a mini-sermon/message from the unit chaplain, followed by a prayer. This "chaplain's brief" is mandatory (no one has ever said that it is a voluntary event) and is conducted at the start of the briefings nine times out of ten.

Read more...


January 27, 2009

When non-believers in America are no longer threatened with death from closed-minded hypocrites, that's when I'll update my personal info. I'm not taking a chance of that information being compromised regardless of what security's in place. You understand I'm sure.

I've read the threats and since I take them personally, I'd rather not risk jail, hunting down these people and returning said threat with force. I can't risk my career, blood pressure or my life because I have such a short temper when it comes to these situations. I call everyone on a threat. I will visit them in a public place with weapons demanding they grow some balls and carry through with their threat. But as most believers do, they wimp out. Then, if I'm still angry, I'll call the police. Unfortunately, 80% of the public (who believe in invisible deities), still think they can threaten and burn us at the stake for not believing and I will say also that if burning non-believers alive were legal for just 24 hours, the closed-minded folks would come out of the woodwork and carry through. What a shame in 2009, what a shame.

[name withheld]


January 27, 2009

To: MRFF and Mr. Weinstein

I am so grateful. Today, I had an appointment with the Veterans Affairs here on Fort [installation name withheld]. As you may know, there was a very religious [evangelical Christian] poster and placard in a high traffic area of the office. I notified the MRFF and it is now gone! I can see the screws and velcro that once held it up. Now the VA office feels more accepting to me and inclusive. I don't feel that my beliefs are somehow inferior. Thank you, MRFF!

[name, rank and unit withheld]


January 27, 2009

I just heard about your organization through the Atheist Experience Texas television show, and support what you folks are doing. I made a donation, but I wanted to step it up a notch and to let you know that if the "field general in the godless armies of satan" and any of his minions ever come up here to Fairbanks, Alaska, to drop me a line (i.e. write me back) and I'll buy you guys dinner. I heard that the title didn't come with such a benefit and thought that any satanic field general deserved at least some Denny's or Taco Bell or something.

Regards,

[name withheld]


February 1, 2009

Dear Military Religious Freedom Foundation,

I am an active duty Air Force [rank withheld] with [time in service withheld] years of support and I passionately support the work you do and I would like to share my story with you. It involves a religious "inspirational" email, which linked to an extremist website, sent from our Wing Commander's official email account out to our wing's 8 installations: [names of all 8 military installations withheld]

Read more...


MRFF's Mikey Weinstein
portrayed in major theater production
at Vineyard Theatre in NYC

February 3rd - March 15th

MRFF President and Founder Mikey Weinstein's Federal lawsuit against the United States Air Force in October 2005 was an igniting spark to uncover the unconstitutional religious infiltration of fundamentalist evangelism in the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. This play features Mikey’s struggle as part of the larger tapestry of events occurring in and around Colorado Springs.

Click here for more information


A mesmerizing, fiercely intelligent portrait of Colorado Springs.

The Civilians, the OBIE-Award winning theatre company from New York City known for their boldly theatrical snapshots of the human psyche, brings its newest project to the Vineyard Theatre.

In this new play with music, they tackle the fervor behind the Evangelical movement, the effect its growth had on its unofficial U.S. capital, Colorado Springs, and the confusion of a community in crisis following the scandalous fall of pastor Ted Haggard.

Created from interviews with actual persons and featuring music by the award-winning composer of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, This Beautiful City is a fiercely intelligent, explosive and ultimately sincere exploration of a uniquely American phenomenon and its passionate followers.

This Beautiful City is a fascinating and timely look at faith and how it affects the American landscape. The Civilians’ work has been called "superb" by the NY Times and "clear evidence of evolution in the world of modern theatre," by Time Out New York.


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You be our researcher

The constitutional violations occurring in our military are so numerous and widespread that we can't possibly find all of them ourselves. MRFF counts on its supporters and volunteers -- the indispensable "eyes and ears" who alert us to everything from the most egregious of constitutional violations to articles we might be interested in.

So, keep the emails coming, and never think that anything is too insignificant or assume that we might already know about it. You never know -- you might have stumbled into the next bombshell of a story and not even realize it.

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Call to Action

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.

If you'd like to offer your legal services to MRFF, please contact us at info@militaryreligiousfreedom.org.

We look forward to hearing from you.


JOIN THE DEBATE
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Message From
Mikey Weinstein
MRFF President


Mikey Weinstein

Greetings MRFF supporters!

We are excited to announce that MRFF has recently broken the 11,000 military client barrier.  The fact that this many soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and veterans have contacted MRFF is truly a clear signal to the military brass that MRFF will not stay silent, and will not back down from our vital Constitutional cause.

 

ABC News Nightline sent a camera crew to our house recently and recorded footage for their program.  The MRFF segment, albeit minimal, thrusts us into the national spotlight once again.  The Nightline story is addressed further within this newsletter.

 

Finally, interest in MRFF gains momentum around the world as we recently launched our Community Coordinator directory on the MRFF website.  This new website feature allows locally-interested supporters to join in our grassroots efforts.

Your Eternal Ally,
Mikey


"We make a living by what
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- Winston Churchill

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WITH GOD ON
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As featured on C-SPAN2

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CONSTANTINE'S SWORD
DVD & BOOK
ON SALE NOW!



Mikey Weinstein and his family
are featured in Oren Jacoby's
newest documentary.

BUY A DVD
TO HELP SUPPORT MRFF!
A portion of each purchase will be donated to the foundation.
(click here for more info)

NOW AVAILABLE
DVD & BOOK COMBO
TO HELP SUPPORT MRFF!
A portion of each purchase will be donated to the foundation.
(click here for more info)


FRIENDS OF MRFF

"Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History Vol. 1"
by Chris Rodda



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"The Family:
The Secret Fundamentalism at
the Heart of American Power"

by Jeff Sharlet



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"[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

 

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That Rocked the Bush Administration"

by David Iglesias



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"The Apocalypse Directive"
by Douglas MacKinnon



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CONTACT MRFF

Military Religious
Freedom Foundation

13170-B Central Avenue, SE
Suite 255
Albuquerque, NM 87123
800-736-5109

Email us at:
info@militaryreligiousfreedom.org

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Newsletter and Website
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To arrange an interview or press article with Mikey Weinstein,
Please contact Bekki Miller at:
(337) 356-8696
bekki.miller@militaryreligiousfreedom.org

Bonnie Weinstein
MRFF Development Director

development@militaryreligiousfreedom.org

Melissa Feld
High Net-Worth Fundraiser
melissa@militaryreligiousfreedom.org