We at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Click here to read the Press Release and Nomination Letter
MRFF Advisory Board member A.A. "Tony" Verrengia, B/Gen. USAF Ret. offers a letter of support for MRFF's Nobel nomination.
Native American's eloquent words
MRFF...The voice I wasn't allowed to use
I wish I had known about this organization when I was in the U.S. Navy. I was a Master at Arms (MP) and was deployed to (name withheld), and was harassed more by my ship mates for religious reasons than by the detainee's almost everyday. This was because I was not and am still not christian or any denomination there of. I am an American Indian and I believe in what my ancestors have believed in for more 10,000 years. And for this I was harassed.
Anyways Congratulations on the Nobel Nomination.
You are the voice I wasn't allowed to use.
What Albuquerquean is a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee?
"The Prize Fighter" - Local military religious freedom activist
Mikey Weinstein won the Linda K. Estes Giraffe Award, given to honor those who stick their necks out for their beliefs. Born and raised in Albuquerque, Weinstein was thrilled to receive the local prize, named for the former UNM coach who fought for women's equality. On Sept. 17, he attended a gala reception to accept his Giraffe.
Four days later, he got a phone call about another award. "I almost thought it was a joke," he says. A prestigious human rights institute in D.C.—that Weinstein says prefers to remain anonymous—was calling to say it was nominating his organization, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Receiving that call was “kind of like being Tased with a really good Taser,” he says.Read more...
By Anthony Lane
Mikey Weinstein is known for fighting the big fight, railing against religious indoctrination at the Air Force Academy and the influence of evangelicals in the military. Now it's more personal, as he pursues a lawsuit against former Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt and a sponsoring organization for standing behind prayers calling for the deaths of Weinstein and his family.
This fight could address whether "imprecatory," or curse, prayers are protected by the First Amendment.
"You don't have the right to shout 'fire' in a crowded theater," Weinstein says, arguing that Klingenchmitt's prayers, broadcast online earlier this year, call for supporters to harm Weinstein and his family.
Klingenschmitt, a Colorado Springs resident and founder of the Pray in Jesus Name Project, cited "Psalm 109 against the enemies of religious liberty" as he prayed by name about Weinstein and another advocate for separation of church and state. "Let their days be few, and replace them with Godly people," Klingenschmitt said. "Plunder their fields and seize their assets. Cut off their descendants, and remember their sins."
Klingenschmitt did not return a call from the Independent. Weinstein, a 1977 AFA graduate, is founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
The U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (DADT) toward homosexual members of the armed forces is more accurately described as “snitch and ditch.”
Under this odious law, passed by Congress in 1993, the military command is not to look into or inquire about (“don’t ask”) the sexual orientation of potential recruits or active service members without evidence of disallowed behavior.
Recruits and service members, for their part, may not engage in homosexual conduct or openly talk (“don’t tell”) about their sexual orientation or same-sex relationships while serving in the military.Read More...
by Peter St. Cyr
I just got this from Mikey Weinstein over at Military Religious Freedom Foundation. This nomination for a 2010 Nobel Peace Prize is a huge honor for him and his group. It could be the first and only New Mexico organization ever to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Albuquerque-based Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the civil rights charitable organization that has worked both fearlessly and tirelessly to stop religious discrimination and oppression in the United States armed forces, has been nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
Since its founding in 2005, the MRFF has become the undisputed national and international leader in the civil rights movement to restore the severely fractured wall between church and state in the United States military and to stop the ill effects of noxious religious discrimination both domestically and abroad.Read More...
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
by Leah Burton
An honor beyond words! Congratulations to Mikey and all who devote untold hours to the protection of religious freedoms in the military. The significance of this nomination cannot be understated. It is an acknowledgement that the work to ensure the right to believe or NOT believe in the faith of your choice is paramount!
And it furthers the efforts of all of us who are feverishly working toward enlightenment, in this country and elsewhere, that this extremism is diametrically positioning itself for a global battle with all of Islam. The dangers inherent in this groundswell are enormous and Mikey’s work to stem the tide of proselytizing to military personnel is crucial to keeping our country safe.Read More...
By Office of News & Public Affairs
The at-times tense, occasionally contentious relationship between military culture and civil society in the United States will be the focus of an afternoon symposium to be held this Saturday, Nov. 7, in Robsham Theater.
“Soldiers & Citizens: Military and Civic Culture in America,” the sixth annual Mass Humanities fall symposium, will feature panels of military experts, academics and journalists, who will discuss three inter-related topics: issues of race, gender and class across the two cultures; the implications of an all-volunteer army versus compulsory military service; and the role of the military and military issues in US electoral politics.
This month's image was sent to us by a soldier in Iraq whose platoon sergeant regularly sends religious emails to his subordinates.
This image of a religious poster, distributed by thejesuslist.com, was attached to one of those emails.
Friend of MRFF
"Republican Gomorrah" by Max Blumenthal
In his new book "Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party", investigative reporter Max Blumenthal theorizes that a culture of "personal crisis" has transformed the Grand Old Party — and threatened its future.
A documentary filmmaker and blogger, Blumenthal has written for The Nation, The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast.
“Republican Gomorrah is a powerful study of right-wing extremism, replete with perversions perpetrated on all Americans in the name of the Culture Wars. Blumenthal shines a klieg light on the charlatans whose tactics would make Goebbels proud but must cause mainstream Republicans to hang their heads in shame.”
-Ambassador Joe Wilson
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MRFF's Mikey Weinstein
portrayed in major theater production
at Colorado College's South Theatre in Colorado Springs
December 4th - 6th
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.
Attend the Saturday, December 5th showing at 7:00pm with Mikey and Bonnie Weinstein for a special discussion session after the play!
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 South Theatre at Colorado College.
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.
MRFF desperately needs you to
Help Build The Wall!
October 20th, 2009
I cannot think of a single person on earth who deserves it more. It is an amazing honor and proof positive that you were right all along. I knew that it was you keeping us safe or trying your very best. Your bravery has been rewarded and no one can ever cast doubt on what you are doing again. The truth will win if someone speaks it. Congratulations!
October 20th, 2009
I've been discouraged watching the VA store here in Brooklyn fill up with religious books and gifts but at least I know that you have been recognized and that there is hope for a really free military religious outlook in the future.
My answer to those who say there are no atheists in the foxholes is to suggest that more atheists might lead to less foxholes to begin with, but I will settle for the moment for a military that doesn't suggest and demand what religions command promotion and smooth sailing......
October 20th, 2009
Congratulations on this well deserved honor. I hope the Nobel committee will agree and give you and MRFF the Peace Prize. Your work has touched people of all religions and many nations. Your actions on behalf of MRFF have done more for this country than has been acknowledged. You deserve this recognition.
October 21st, 2009
I'm sure your getting a lot of emails after your guest app on Jim Villanucci Show recently. I hope they are civil. I had wished I could have gotten in to call you out on your ideas pertaining to a supposed Christian view that combines passages from Genesis with "the greet commission." I am a Christian and I don't believe these passages are related in any context! No other Christian that I know of believes the passages from Genesis say that all Christians must forcefully subdue and convert! If they believe this they aren't Christians, and I want you to provide examples of individuals who believe this, otherwise this is slandering the Christian faith! If you can't provide me with names of folks who I can talk to, your on a slander raid, and I hope this is not your mission. I hope your mission is to insure there is no religious pressure in military circles and that the military is not in the business of passing out tracks. If your against missionaries going on their own accord to pass out tracks and speak with people, I have a problem with your foundation. If you want to go in after a missionary group and tell the citizens of Afghanistan to use the tracks they just received to wipe their rears, that's your prerogative. If you forcefully rip the tracks from their possession, that is not your prerogative-just as it is not the prerogative for a missionary to force a track into the hands of the same citizen.
I think you understand this and I don't need to be telling you this. I have religious freedom to tell people my beliefs whether they ask me for it or not. If they tell me to shut up, I'll quit talking to them. If however any government entity or private foundation tells me to shut up on behalf of the person I speak with, I won't shut up because said foundation or gov't entity is stepping on my 1st and 2nd amendment rights! Believe me every time I've told someone about my faith they tell me to shut up. Later a small majority ask me more about it after apologizing for shutting me up. I can pray for anyone I want to. It can't do any harm! If its against the law to pray for someone, that is blatant unconstitutional thought police.
After what I have heard on Jim's show, I don't trust your motives. I hope you can prove me wrong. If you can't I hope someone more unbiased can take over for you! The idea and mission is good but you can't use it to attack any one religion.
BTW: I am a hard core ultra right conservative but I'm not a Christian conservative because whether I'm a Christian or not has no bearing on my politics. Only big government fascist neocon RINOs believe in combining Christianity with politics, and big government fascist liberals believe in combining atheism with government! True conservatives don't want any belief-( for or against religion), a part of government and politics! Government needs to be minimal-the other conservative ideal!
Where I go against many conservatives is that I follow my Christian ideals regarding Genesis. In the creation story God commanded humans to be good stewards of the earth! It is my Christian prerogative to seek to better the environment for it has been neglected sorely by man. It would be better to allow private venture to take care of the problem. There is great public demand for it but there is too much fascist gov't lobby action that stands in the way of true green technology!
Thank you sir for your service to this great nation.
Reply from MRFF's Richard Baker
October 24th, 2009
Hi (name withheld),
Thank you for your E-mail to Mikey Weinstein. He appreciates your interest and hopes that MRFF can earn your trust.
Mikey is up to his nose with everything from handling client case complaints, personal appearances and the many legal activities we have undertaken so he has asked me to respond to your letter.
My name is Richard Baker. I'm a Regional Outreach Coordinator for MRFF living in Colorado Springs.
Most of the communications we receive are from those who are either willingly or unknowingly complicit in some fashion in the Dominionist movement or who have no idea what it is that's going on and assume MRFF is engaged in an attack on Christianity. You seem to fall in the latter category. It is not our desire to anger any person of any faith but often just telling the truth will anger someone who is not totally informed. Also, because Mr. Weinstein is Jewish, the anti-Semitic comments are many, vituperative and threatening. It is important to know that we are against all religious hegemony and treat any and all cases of coercive proselytizing the same.We are currently focused on Christian based violations as they are the primary and most numerous by far in the US Armed Forces.
Sadly, we are dealing with over 14,000 client case complaints form young men and women in the armed forces who have been subjected to overt and coercive command-centered Christian proselytizing. Over 96% of the complainants identify themselves as Christians. These Christian Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guard, Reservists and National Guard members say that they are not considered "Christian Enough" by Dominionist operatives and need to be "upgraded" to a more obedient and homogenous evangelical military force which has access to weapons of immense destructive power. This is for the purpose of accelerating Armageddon and aiding in the struggle against the Antichrist.
You are correct that passages from Genesis dealing with Dominion and verses in Matthew 28:16-20 dealing with the Great Commission are mutually exclusive. However, they have been used in combination by today's Dominionists to bolster and validate the unvarnished proselytizing taking place.
Active in the armed forces now are a number of aggressive Christian organizations including but not limited to: The Christian Embassy, Campus Crusade for Christ Military Mission, Officer's Christian Fellowship, The Navigators, Focus on the Family, etc.
They are engaged in the proselytizing of our young men and women with the purpose of conditioning them for the hard road ahead fighting a Christian Crusade in the Mid East, and eventually converting or casting world populations into the "lake of fire."
Our former president has said God told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. I think many religious leaders take that as Gospel and endeavor to etch that dictum into stone.
As dramatic as this sounds, we have heard this mantra for a number of years. God is behind George Bush and the wars and we better get ready for the big one.
It would take volumes to try and cite each occurrence we have encountered, so I would first ask you to familiarize yourself with what Dominion Christianity is and then perhaps we can go further into cases.
Here are several links that will give you a feel for what the Dominionists hope to accomplish in the military.
In addition may I recommend Mr. Weinstein's book: "With God on Our Side: One Man's War Against an Evangelical Coup in America's Military." Also Pat Robertson's book "The Secret Kingdom," in which he describes the rise of Dominionism, how Christians will take over America and what will happen in the end times.
Also you may wish to Google "John Rousas Rushdoonie" the father of American Dominionism. This will give you the foundations of Dominionism and how it relates to world domination.
The first link, The Yurica Report," is the most descriptive I've read.
The other two are the Christian Embassy Pentagon Video and the Campus Crusade for Christ Air Force Academy video which have since been taken out of circulation.
Lastly, we have no problem with anyone sharing their faith to a welcoming subject on an equal footing. Our problem is with those who use the specter of command influence to engage and hold unwilling and frightened young soldiers hostage to a brand of Christianity with which they do not wish to participate. Also they endeavor, while uniformed, to advance Christianity over other religions which is strictly forbidden by military and constitutional law.
Again, thank you for your remarks and your concern. You may address any responses to me directly and, if you wish, copy MRFF at email@example.com
I will copy Mr. Weinstein so he can be privy to our exchange.
Reply from Mikey
October 25th, 2009
.........thank you so much, Richard!!........I might add for (name withheld) due further consideration the fact that the majority of our MRFF staff of over 65 full time, part, time, independent contractors and volunteers are Christians and that MRFF's largest organizational universal supporter is the California Council of Churches IMPACT which is comprised of 5,500 Protestant congregations, 21 different Protestant denominations and MULTIPLE MILLIONS of Protestants!!........all best, Mikey
October 21st, 2009
A loyal reader of mine and a fan of yours wrote the shaded area of this post that I posted over at Daily Kos today...you should read the entire article. And she will be THRILLED at any response you have. You have MANY loyal fans out there my friend!
It is also at my site at http://godsownparty.com/blog/2009/10/
October 21st, 2009
Whew. I just put your news up on my blog
Have a good show. I'm listening.
That's the fastest turnaround from pitch to in studio segment EVER
October 21st, 2009
We are honored to stand with yo in YOUR unrelenting pursuit of justice. Go MRFF!!!!
October 21st, 2009
Congratulations to the MRFF on its 2010 Nobel Peace Prize nomination!
Can't think of a more deserving organization.
October 21st, 2009
Please pass my thanks to all in your organization. I have received guidance and support.
(name and base withheld)
October 22nd, 2009
Dear Sirs and Madams,
Thank you for undertaking this important commission. Watch guarding our freedoms is necessary and lots of work. These so called Christian zealots have gone way too far infringing on the rights of our military personnel who in good faith that their rights will be protected by us offer up their very lives. I think you are blood-hounding properly. If you read what they believe, there is nothing inclusive or accepting about these radicals. They think they and their ranks ought to be running everything and there is no other way to the holy. They are about dominating in insidious ways. Who knows what else they think is appropriate, perhaps stockpiling of weapon caches in secret. Perhaps ownership of public lands. Certainly we see domination of heartland cities and states by mega church reverends. It only takes one who has a key position, really going over the mental reality brink, resulting in damage to the rest.
Please know many of us are concerned and at the same time grateful to Military Religious Freedom Foundation for being there for the rest of us with your insight and brilliance of action. May you all be successful in proving cases against these extremist organizations and their military and political mouthpieces. May you impress upon them that the only religion we want our military to endorse is ALL religions by endorsing NO religions.
May separation of church and state prevail, our freedom of religion in America, our freedom to choose without being subject to coercion or proselytizing. We do not accept this anywhere else, so why would we accept it on a military base where the commander is in such absolute control of lives.
Thank you MRFF, thank you Mikey Weinstein for bringing your message to RIT in Rochester, New York,
PS I put Americans United for Separation of Church and State on my Facebook pages and will put you there too if you decide on putting that link together.
October 26th, 2009
To: Weinstein and MRFF,
"Did I not tell you earlier that a Jew is such a noble, precious jewel that God and all the angels dance when he farts?"
-Martin Luther (On the Jews and Their Lies)
October 26th, 2009
Luther's piece "On the Jews and Their Lies" was the foundational document of German anti-Semitism. Although based on Christian anti-Semitism (inherited Jewish guilt) it contained many of the elements of modern political anti-Semitism. That's why I can never admire Martin Luther, despite what he supposedly did to free up Christian worship, rituals and ideas. It was the same damn obsession with the way Jesus supposedly died, and the same anti-Semitism.
It is those aspects of Luther's thought that influenced the modern world, and it led straight to the death camps.
October 26th, 2009
Please know that I am no defender of Martin Luther and his anti-semitism. I have distanced myself from him and the church he founded.
Congrats on being nominated for a Nobel Peace prize. I hope you win.
Best to you.
October 27th, 2009
Congrats on this nomination. Our son was appointed to the class of 2010, we went to orientation, he slept over to see what it was like to be a cadet. It wasn't until we were in the gorgeous chapel and listened to the "heavy Christian chaplain" that my son decided to take a different path. We are Christians ourselves and felt it had Heavy Baptist undertones. He will be serving his country through the Navy, when he graduates in 2010.
October 30th, 2009
With an Air Force military chaplain writing an article with the subject title, one might cynically expect to find a selective and self-serving polemic on the guarding of evangelical Christian supremacy while demanding official recognition for the theological intolerance they promote. Refreshingly, the article promoted what Chaplain's should be doing but unfortunately all too many aren't.
Regardless of their personal religious beliefs, Air Force chaplains are charged with providing spiritual care to all members, their families and all authorized personnel in exercising their constitutional right to religious freedom.
"We simply ask that the students come forward and make the requests," he stated. "Despite our best efforts, we don't have every single holy day, holiday, and observance memorized for every single faith group, so we rely on the member to come forward to ask for help with their accommodation request."
"It all boils down to supporting the Constitution of the United States that allows for the free exercise of religion," Chaplain Mallory stated. "Whether it is to assist a Jewish Airman with receiving kosher meals in the dining facility or to aid an Islamic Airmen in working out an alternate physical training schedule with his or her military training leaders during Ramadan, the chaplains are here to help.
In a separate article dated 21 Oct, this Chaplain Mallory also facilitated a discussion forum for atheist & agnostic student airman although I was amused to see they misspelled atheist in the article title - go figure but it's rare to see the military positively recognize atheists without the usual pejoratives (e.g. they're no atheists in foxholes)
So in concluding my all-service reporting for the week, the Air Force gets a thumbs up and the rest get a thumbs down.
October 30th, 2009
I am receiving everything. Thank you. I am so proud of this group. However, it is uphill all the way. Hate is a terrible disease. Would love to volunteer but am profoundly deaf and a bit disabled. If there is anything I can do, please let me know. I am ancient - 81 yrs old but to have lived to see this organization formed is truly a joy.
Ms. Perry L.
October 31st, 2009
It is too bad that you didn't provide a forwarding address to Dole's campaign because I am so tired of these Right Wingers who think they are so much better than everyone else. I used to respect Dole, as a woman, but she has stooped to the lowest level of extremism to retain a seat in the senate which can't be worth sacrificing her morals and self-esteem. We do not need people like her in politics anymore and I hope Hagan trumps her on Tues.
Barb B. - LTC, USA RET
November 3rd, 2009
To: Military Religious Freedom Foundation:
I finished reading With God on Our Side in a plane over the Atlantic, returning from a 15 month deployment to Iraq. About an hour or two after I finished the book, we landed at (name of base withheld), about 2 or 3am. We dumped our gear, and got into formation in the rain outside the hangar where families and friends were waiting. We were then marched in. Among the few speakers was an O6 Chaplain, who gave a very Christian specific blessing. I am Jewish, and going through my mind at the time was that here i am, just returning from 15 months away from home, from a country full of sectarian violence, being subjected to an unwanted religious sermon.
Let me know if there is anything I can do for MRFF.
November 3rd, 2009
I've read some of the heart-breaking comments from our military people in or returning from fields of battle. Too often they report being subjected to unwanted conservative Christian proselytizing, and the impact is to make them excluded from being fully American.
I am a Christian, with all my heart and all my mind. My family on both sides emerged from New England where several were Congregational preachers moving west. Through the generations, the family morphed into other Protestant denominations, then sometimes were not religious at all. But throughout my whole life I've been drawn to Christianity for its teachings, its emphasis on pure love, grace, justice, and equality. But I never thought Christianity had all the answers or even asked all the questions. I am not clear as to when today's fundamentalist and End Times Dominionist Christians came to believe they were the only people worthy of God's grace. The projection of absolute superiority is no different from radical Islam - it has nothing to do with the core tenets of the faith. It is also a betrayal of American freedom to worship or not as you choose.
Why such people believe they should prevail over all others is distressing. In sorrow over every Christian supremacist who belittles our troops and their beliefs, please accept my heartfelt apology for their thinking Christians are better than anyone else. I am deeply ashamed of the ways we "welcome home" our troops with utterly sectarian prayers and missives that deny the beauty of diversity and the rights of all people. To all our men and women in uniform who have been told they are the "wrong" kind of Christian or infidels because they are not Christian or believers at all, please accept my heartfelt thanks for both your service to our nation and for the magnificence of who you are.
Director of Public Policy
California Council of Churches/California Church IMPACT
4044 Pasadena Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95821
916.488.7300 x 3
November 3rd, 2009
My name is (name withheld). I'm a SSG in the Army's Infantry (stationed at [name of base withheld]), and I'm also an atheist. I truly appreciate what you and your husband do for soldiers like me, that's all I really had to say, I know you guys spend so much of your time and efforts helping fight for our rights and I just wanted to let you know that it is so very, very much appreciated.
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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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Greetings MRFF supporters!
Thanks to all of your hard work and dedication, MRFF has been honored by being nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize!!! This tremendous honor marks a huge victory for MRFF and all of our efforts to help rebuild the Constitutionally-mandated wall that separates church and state in our United States military.
Although this nomination is a major victory for MRFF's cause, we must not lose sight of our mission. From the waves of congratulatory communications we received in response to the nomination, it is obvious that our fight is close to the hearts of so very many Americans and fellow world citizens. Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jew, Atheist or Agnostic, we all have the absolute right to our practice our own faith or no faith at all.. One particularly poignant message this month from a Native American armed forces member went straight to the heart of our purpose when he said, "You are the voice I wasn't allowed to use." It is my hope that MRFF can be the righteous voice for all of our honorable service men and service women suffering from unconstitutional religious proselytizing.
While we continue to gain support for our cause, it is your gracious contributions which directly keep us alive and fighting. As our costs rise to appropriately maintain our presence in the courts and in the media, our struggle to survive grows ever more difficult. Please Help Build The Wall separating church and state in our United States military.
Your Eternal Ally,
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