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Military Religious Freedom Foundation files FOIA requests to uncover Pentagon links with fundamentalist Christian lobbyists

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    (ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO) In a recent press release, ultra-conservative partisan organization "Judicial Watch" stated that on September 10, 2013 they filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Pentagon for "all communications" between the Defense Department (DoD) and Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, Founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF).

    As recently as September 12, 2013, blatantly anti-Constitutional, partisan, and fundamentalist Christian representatives of organizations that have been characterized as anti-gay hate groups have met with DoD officials to lobby for the ability of certain officers and servicemembers to aggressively proselytize their subordinates and fellow uniformed personnel. In some cases, this proselytizing (in their words, "evangelizing") has taken the form of anti-gay discrimination, bullying, and harassment of the worst kind. On the civilian front, these organizations have aggressively fought for the passage of Constitutionally disastrous Amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2014.

    While the Judicial Watch press release feeds into the deliberately false notion that Mr. Weinstein and the MRFF have some "seat at the table" of the Obama White House and Administration and a shared mission to eliminate every expression of the Christian faith by servicemembers, the truth testifies to an altogether different reality. MRFF has fought tirelessly in the courts and in the media to expose and rectify only those instances, albeit legion in number, of so-called "religious expression" that have grievously infringed upon the Constitutional rights of our armed servicemembers. Our armed forces members are entitled to these precious rights by virtue of the No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the "no religious test" prohibition of Clause 3, Article VI.

    MRFF has long observed a continued cozy and incestuous relationship between an activist segment of the highest echelons of the Pentagon and these noxious fundamentalist Christian organizations. Thus, on September 23, 2013, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation submitted a FOIA request demanding:

    1. All correspondence, emails, or other records related to the September 12, 2013 meeting at the Pentagon between representatives of the "Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition" and any Air Force or other Department of Defense personnel, including but not limited to those present at the meeting.
    2. All other correspondence, emails, or other records on any subject between representatives of the "Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition" and/or its constituent member organizations (including but not limited to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the American Family Association, Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, and the Family Research Council) and any Air Force or other Department of Defense personnel.

    Speaking from his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Mr. Weinstein stated, "This 'big lie' fantasy that there is some 'war on Christians' within the military is a complete perversion of the truth. The fundamentalist Christian religious extremists who are spreading these absolutely blatant falsehoods are using dog-whistle politics to hoodwink Americans into allowing for the handing of a 'blank check,' a real license to kill, to the monstrous opponents of secular governance, religious pluralism, and democracy itself."

    The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is a five-time Nobel Peace Prize-nominated civil rights organization with a client base of almost 35,000 servicemembers, Department of Defense (DoD) civilian personnel, and armed services veterans – 96% of whom are practicing Christians (both Roman Catholic and Protestant). Since its inception in 2005, MRFF has been battling a growing crisis of unbridled religious extremism within the armed forces. This grave and growing national security threat has led to the relentless stripping-away of the very freedoms that these brave men and women have pledged to defend and secure at all costs.

Click here to read at Daily Kos

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