MRFF Banner
Friday, January 23rd, 2009

The Huffington Post Logo

The Huffington Post Logo

How Rick Warren's Invocation Made a U.S. Army Officer "Hate Himself"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

By Chris Rodda

Not unexpectedly, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) was besieged with emails and phone calls from members of our armed forces today following Rick Warren's invocation. These weren't complaints about the inappropriateness of Warren being chosen to deliver the invocation, or even about the content of Warren's prayer. They were complaints about the pressure put on our servicemen and servicewomen by their superior officers to applaud Rick Warren, whose book The Purpose-Driven Life is second only to the Bible itself as the most promoted religious book by the U.S. military, currently being incorporated into everything from pre- and post-deployment family programs to suicide prevention.

The following is an email from one decorated combat officer, a man with the courage to repeatedly put his life on the line on the battlefield, being wounded twice, but who could not muster the courage to resist the pressure of his "serious and committed born again Christian" commanding officer to applaud Rick Warren. The author of this email is typical of the majority of servicemen and servicewomen who contact MRFF for assistance. Like 96% of MRFF's clients, he is a Christian -- but not the "right" kind of Christian or Christian enough for today's military.

To Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation:

My name is (name withheld) and I am a (officer rank withheld) in the U.S. Army currently stationed stateside at Fort (military installation name withheld). I, my spouse and my children are Methodists attending church regularly on both Wednesdays and Sundays. I will always remember today as the low-point of my long (number of years withheld) year career in the Army. I have only myself to blame. Today I firmly established myself as a shameful person. Mikey, I write about 3 things; Rick Warren, my cowardice and your bravery. Today, I watched President Obama's inauguration on the television set up in our Brigade staff conference room. I attended as a member of (unit level designation withheld) staff along with over 40 other senior officers, senior enlisted and a few senior Army civilian staffers. There had been much talk here about Pres. Obama's selection of the evangelical pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at the ceremonies...

Click here to READ MORE
and to see selected comments from
The Huffington Post and Daily Kos


Rick Warren's Invocation at the
2009 Presidential Inauguration

Rick Warren Video

Click the image above to watch this 5 minute video.
To see the portion mentioned in the article above, please allow
the video to load, then fast-forward to the 3:45 mark.


MRFF In Box
MRFF's Inbox

"Rick Warren, My Cowardice
and Your Bravery"

January 20, 2009

To Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation:

My name is (name withheld) and I am a (officer rank withheld) in the U.S. Army currently stationed stateside at Fort (military installation name withheld). I, my spouse and my children are Methodists attending church regularly on both Wednesdays and Sundays. I will always remember today as the low-point of my long (number of years withheld) year career in the Army. I have only myself to blame. Today I firmly established myself as a shameful person. Mikey, I write about 3 things; Rick Warren, my cowardice and your bravery. Today, I watched President Obama's inauguration on the television set up in our Brigade staff conference room. I attended as a member of (unit level designation withheld) staff along with over 40 other senior officers, senior enlisted and a few senior Army civilian staffers. There had been much talk here about Pres. Obama's selection of the evangelical pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at the ceremonies.

Read more...


January 16, 2009

An open letter to MRFF's detractors,

Be extremely religious, not a religious extremist. The God of Jesus is
the same God that Jews and Muslims worship. Jesus, peace be upon him,
called God "Elohim"; just like Mikey and his brothers and sisters do
to this day.

- John Waters (Muslim)


January 21, 2009

MRFF,

During the Viet Nam War, I was a young man, enlisted in the US Air Force. I worked 12 hrs. On duty and 12 Hrs. off, for over three years, seven days a week. I could hardly sleep for all the noise. I sweat my butt off for this country and the freedoms you enjoy. As I remember, I always had the freedom to attend chapel or not to attend. I never had pressure from anybody to do any particular thing against my wishes. I did however have a lot of peer pressure to go to the NCO Club, to watch skin flicks, to use words of profanity that I had never even heard before. Also to cheat and pencil whip important Gov. Paper work. There was always plenty of play boy mags. laying around. There was plenty of temptatious garbage to deal with. I doubt it has changed in any branch of our military. As I have watched and listened to the comments on Military.com...

...You people are only concerned about what ever petty religious freedoms you think you don’t have...

...For the likes of you people to even think about discrediting [Popov] MAKES ME WANT TO PUKE AND RUB YOUR FACES IN IT...

Read more and see MRFF supporter responses to this detractor...


January 20, 2009

Dear MRFF,

Attached is an Army Publicaton that we can finally applaud, quote, and perhaps send out to all the "Rick Warren" military types and even the new CINC. It was prepared by Chaplain (Major) L.E. Arnold and MSG Darlene Sullivan, Leadership Division, Human Resources Directorate, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, HQ Department of the Army. Kudos to the Chaplain!

Read more...


Responses to the email featured in the Huffington Post / Daily Kos article included in this Weekly Watch:


January 20, 2009

Mikey:

Please forward this to the Army Officer who recounted his experience today at the Invocation:

Dear Sir:

I can tell completely the mix of feelings you shared, some explicitly, and some because I know what you are going through. I served as a Navy Chaplain. I am a Lutheran pastor. I KNOW what it is like to be told you are "not a Christian" because of your religion. And you aren't even a Chaplain.

Please don't condemn yourself for your actions! Not all of us, on the spur of the moment, can respond always as we might want. I am famous (at least internally) for chewing myself out for what I wish I "would" have said in an argument. Five minutes after the argument that is! That old joke about 20/20 hindsight is true.

This fight is not going to be over any time soon. Keep Mikey and those who are fighting the fight in YOUR prayers and thoughts. Help the organization as best you can. Reach out to those around you who are in the same place with you, as you can. At least now we might have a President and First Lady who will listen and understand that MRFF stands for, and be willing to help us restore the historic position of our armed forces: A religiously neutral group of men and women who have answered the call to serve the citizens of our beloved country, no matter our faith (or lack thereof!). And know that there are many who have been (and are, right now) in your shoes. Some of us, who are no longer on active duty, have a freedom you don't, to stand up and fight in other ways. Your fight may not be able immediately to be public and immediate. And that may be the way it has to be, for now.

But keep up the faith! Our cause is righteous, and just, in the true understanding of the prophets and writers. And the Creed of our founding fathers and mothers is what we fight for, an America which is truly a city on a hill for all peoples.

[name withheld]
CDR, USN, (Ret)


January 20, 2009

Hi Mikey.

Tell our friend I don't consider him a coward, just an oppressed minority - and will not give up on him or any of the others.
Also, tell him not to hate himself - but to consider making a stand at some point - because these folks will not retreat one millimeter unless and until they are challenged and made accountable.

A REAL "serious and committed Christian" (and I know some of the most committed) would not judge another human being on the basis of their differing beliefs, nor discriminate against them on that basis. While those I know might want us to join them (for our own sake) they also know that a conversion should always be from within, not from without.

These intolerant Dominionists are bigots, pure and simple. They do not represent the best side of Christianity (which I have seen many times), nor do they hold the essentials of Christianity (faith, hope, and charity) in their heart of hearts. You can see their bigotry and hatefulness in all they say and do - and as I often say; "By their works ye shall know them..."

Best,

[name withheld]


January 21, 2009

Mikey,

Of all the emails you have ever sent me ever since I’ve been affiliated with MRFF, this one is the most profound. Period. My heart totally goes out to this man, who despite his self-deprecation has my utmost admiration and respect.

[name withheld]


January 21, 2009

Dear unnamed officer,

Sir, I want you to know that I do not consider you a coward for playing along with your commander. A man in your position has to choose his battles carefully. You should not sacrifice your influence and good standing for a lesser battle when a soldier may need the aid of a leader that "gets it" in the future. We need men like you guarding the troops that are atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and "not-Christian-enough". Save your courage for them.

Respectfully,
SPC Dustin Chalker


Comments from around the Internet

Message Posted on Change.Gov to the Transition Office of President Obama:

Jan. 16, 2009: Just this last Wednesday at a mandatory official function in DC a non-chaplain military officer DO hosted an official lunch, invited those that wished to bow their heads (while the rest of us were captive), and then gave a Christian prayer ending with "in the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." Now I agree with others that the first amendment "establishment clause" is up for debate. It's not a slam dunk. That doesn't change the fact that it's just plain wrong. Just as Christians don't want somebody praying to Allah or Satan during an official military function there are those of us that don't want to hear your prayer, or any prayer, as part of our duty day. Now I haven't reported this incident to MRFF and probably won't because YET AGAIN I will have to work my chain of command to attempt to stop this practice and, yet again, I will risk my standing, my assignments, and my ratings in the shadows of military offices where too many officers think our service is engaged in spiritual warfare and who think their service in uniform is a matter of God's will. This is a common occurrence throughout the military across commands and services. As a relatively young active duty field grade officer I can attest to the violations MRFF contends are happening. I don't add to the list of violations because I fight them in the system and I get them "resolved." But in doing so, there is no quantifiable measurement of the effect it will have on my career and I shouldn't have to constantly put myself out there as "going against the flow" in order to protect the rights of the silent many. This isn't a constitutional issue. It's a common sense issue and a matter of respect.


SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
AT THE NEW MRFF STORE

MRFF Store Banner
NOW AVAILABLE $5.00 FLAT SHIPPING FEE FOR ENTIRE ORDER

CLICK HERE TO VISIT OUR
NEW UPDATED STORE


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

CS Logo

DVD ON SALE NOW!

"I just saw James Carroll's film and it was so powerful.
Thank you for being one of the inspirations for it.
All of us well remember your powerful words
at University Synagogue this year."
- A MRFF Supporter

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)


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.


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.

Please report anything that
may be of concern to:


Stay in touch with MRFF

At the Military Religious
Freedom Foundation, we rely
on being able to communicate
with our supporters.

Please click the following link to update
your MRFF Supporter Profile with
additional contact information.

As always, we value your privacy
and will never sell or share your
information outside the Foundation.



SUPPORT MRFF

You can support MRFF by donating funds, time, or both.
Please click below to choose how you'd like to Support the Foundation

Make a Donation

Join MRFF's Constitution Society

Volunteer Your Time

Become a Community Outreach Coordinator


Support MRFF - Shop at Amazon.com



Become a MRFF Friend!

Click above to add us!

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

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

Visit us on the web at:
www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org

Bonnie Weinstein
MRFF Development Director

development@militaryreligiousfreedom.org

Joshua Lipsey
MRFF Development Specialist

joshua@militaryreligiousfreedom.org


Newsletter and Website
by MRFF Promotional Agency
Haley & Assciates
info@haleyassoc.com

Help MRFF by using GoodSearch
as your search engine.

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!
Powered by Yahoo!