March 2009
 

New York Times Logo
Sunday Edition

Questions Raised Anew
About Religion in Military

By Eric Lichtblau

Sunday, March 1, 2009

WASHINGTON — Terry Bradshaw stared intently into the camera, his eyes moist, as the interviewer asked him if his faith in God had helped him through his bouts with depression.


Michael Temchine for
The New York Times

Mikey Weinstein, the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which has filed a lawsuit against the Pentagon.

“Oh, yeah,” answered Mr. Bradshaw, the Hall of Fame quarterback. “Well, I’m a Christian for one thing so, yeah, I’d been praying.”

The viewers of this video were military personnel who were watching an official military production dealing with depression, suicide and “the importance of faith.”

The screening of the suicide-prevention video and other recent incidents are reviving questions that the Pentagon had hoped to put behind it years ago: what the proper role of religion should be in the military and whether a pro-Christian culture permeates the armed forces.

Military officials have worked to enforce tougher restrictions on proselytizing and religious bias since a flare-up over religious discrimination in 2005 at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, where the football coach posted a locker room banner for “Team Jesus.” Officials said they had made great strides in the last few years, with training for officers and a concerted effort at the inclusion of all faiths.

Read More...


Violation on Video

Click the image above to watch this 4 minute 33 second video

In Sunday's New York Times article, "Questions Raised Anew About Religion in Military," Chaplain Carleton Birch of the Army’s Chief of Chaplains Office is quoted as saying in regard to the overtly religious content in the Army's interview with Terry Bradshaw for its suicide prevention program, “...someone’s personal faith testimony is part of their story, and we’re not going to go around and censor it.”

Click here to read more and to watch the video...


The Huffington Post Logo

The Huffington Post Logo
Recommended List

Maher Season Premiere
Includes Islamophobe Who Said
Muslim-Americans Shouldn't Be
Allowed To Hold Public Office

Monday, February 23, 2009

By Chris Rodda

On Friday's season premiere of Real Time with Bill Maher, the show's audience was introduced to Brigitte Gabriel, a woman who very few of Maher's viewers had probably ever heard of before. I, on the other hand, knew exactly who she was, having written much about her in my job with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), including a summary about her and others on the anti-Muslim speaking circuit for MRFF's current federal lawsuit against the Department of Defense.

Both myself and MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein are big fans of Maher's show, so we were both watching the premiere, and were immediately on the phone with each other the instant Maher said that Gabriel was going to be one of his guests, wondering why on earth this woman, who we expect to see on FOX News and Christian programs with the likes of John Hagee, was going to be on Real Time.

Read More...


Caught on Camera

Have recent regulations stopped
evangelical proselytization
at MEPS? Absolutely not.

If you were a military recruit, would you be able to tell which one of these men is the military imposter?

Click here for the answer


MRFF In Box
MRFF's Inbox

February 19, 2009

Missionaries in Uniform

The following email is a continuation of
this recent email exchange

Dear [MRFF supporter's name withheld],

I wish I had more time to write, but right now I am in the process of separating from the Air Force and planning a 6-week road trip as part of my terminal leave (starting Sunday). My final day is tomorrow and final out is Friday, so I have much to do.

Which leads me to this point: I am doing this work as a civilian. And so is everyone else who is part of this organization. We have a few people who serve part-time as reservists - but their ministry work does not cross over into their military work.

[withheld], correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you are saying that all Christians see themselves as being missionaries in uniform, that Christian officers show unfair biases and that they are all walking around quoting the Bible and forcing other members to go to church. [withheld], that is simply not true. Have there been some people who have crossed the line. Of course? And is it wrong? YES! I am not arguing with you about that. I know you went to the Academy and I'm sure that has shaped your viewpoint. I can't speak to that - but only to what we do at Military Ministry. As I mentioned in the previous e-mail we (non-uniformed civilians) work with the military Chaplains - whose scope and mission is to care for the spiritual needs of our troops. We have recources available to assist them in their job. The Chaplains tell us how we can help them...because they know what the troops need and we provide it for them...

Click here to read more of this USAF Officer's email,
and our MRFF's supporter's reply


February 25, 2009

The following email is referencing the
February 25th Examiner.com article:
"Is the Republican Party fomenting rebellion
among the armed forces as a political tactic?
"

Dear MRFF,

Would this surprise anyone? Not me. Fundamentalist Christocon Republicans are trying to take the military over by using fundamentalist Christian chaplains and make it into "God's" army to spread their message. What's to stop them from trying to use it against the U.S. civilians who oppose them? Mikey Weinstein, veteran USAF officer with his organization Military Religious Freedom Foundation is taking on the fundis in the military and working to protect the religious freedom of our soldiers, sailors, marines and air men and women. If you recall, the last time Senator Levin spoke to the Isabella County Dems, I brought up this issue with him since he is the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. I shall compose a letter to him referencing this article and the need to crack down on the abuse of our military personal by fundi chaplains and fundi believers in the armed services.

[name withheld]


An example of the kinds of organizations that are pushing fundamentalist evangelical chaplains into military service can be seen with the Associated Gospel Churches (AGC). This overtly fundamentalist group has as its mission statement:

"The mission of the Associated Gospel Churches (AGC) is to glorify God by recruiting and endorsing godly men from fundamental, evangelical churches to serve as chaplains for all military branches, federal, state prison and hospital ministries"


March 1, 2009

Blog comment posted by MRFF Colorado Springs
Chapter President Richard Baker:

Various Christian organizations and churches have for over 70 years been allowed to proselytize unhindered in the Armed Forces.

Recently this activity has reached levels that push the envelope on religious freedom and violate the very constitutional provisions that protect the free practice of religion.

Officer's Christian Fellowship's main Purpose statement:

1. "Christian officers exercising biblical leadership to raise up a Godly military"

This excludes, except by conversion or coercion, all but willing, participating Christians.

Read More...


March 1, 2009

Reader response to New York Times article featured above:

Dear MRFF,

Thanks for the forward. It is a wholly different military today, one that I wouldn't recognize. There is a profound problem in the military with religious proselytization, and Mikey Weinstein does what he can, without a lot of support, to expose and remedy it. That he got a hearing with the new JEWISH Chief of Staff is a great step forward. But the forces aligned against him are well funded and vicious in way you can hardly imagine.

[name withheld]


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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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.


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Message From
Mikey Weinstein
MRFF President


Mikey Weinstein

Greetings MRFF supporters!

It's been another busy month here at MRFF. As you may have seen from our story in Sunday's edition of The New York Times (March 1, '09), which was picked up by media around the world, our civil rights efforts are being noticed at the very highest levels of our government.

As we are further recognized and respected (or at least feared), we are noticing an encouraging trend. Not only are more and more of our honorable soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors, and veterans willing to contact us (as 11,000+ have to date) for help, more and more are willing to speak publicly and allow their own stories to buttress the unconstitutional "pattern and practice" theory of our Federal lawsuit, the centerpiece of our current efforts.

I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank those who have paved the way by sharing their plights. Further, I want to assure all those who contact us that, anonymously or not, we will continue to work feverishly to resolve each of your dilemmas as swiftly as humanly possible. 

Your Eternal Ally,
Mikey


"We make a living by what
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- Winston Churchill

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As featured on C-SPAN2

"...important call to arms for all who love our country..."
Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson


CONSTANTINE'S SWORD
DVD & BOOK
ON SALE NOW!



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

BUY A DVD
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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

 

"In Justice: Inside the Scandal
That Rocked the Bush Administration"

by David Iglesias



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"The Apocalypse Directive"
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Military Religious
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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