Friday, December 18th, 2009
I will keep this note brief out of respect for your precious time during this busy holiday season. As I sat down to reflect on this year and how to convey our massive impact to you, I first thought of the thousands of honorable Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen who have come to us for help when no one else would stand up for them. I then thought of the broad media exposure our civil rights advocacy has received, from a cover story in Harpers Magazine to countless pieces covering our work, spanning the range of comprehensive media outlets. I thought of the hard fought recognition we've received, culminating in our official nomination for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. I settled, however, on just a few words from a breath-taking note we recently received from a new MRFF military client:
This 6 minute, 5 second video confirms all we've been fighting for over the last 5 plus years!!
Air Force Academy Takes Steps to
A drill sergeant gets in the face of a new recruit inside the Army barracks at Fort Sill, Okla., last month.
By Jessica Rinaldi, Reuters
By Kathleen Gray and Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY
Sgt. Chris McGarity, 31, of Southfield, left, and Sgt. Ian Parker of Livonia, Mich., man the Army recruitment center in Dearborn, Mich
By Susan Tusa, Detroit Free Press
DEARBORN, Mich. — Army recruiter Sgt. Chris McGarity is on the front lines of the military's effort to add troops who speak Arabic and understand Middle Eastern culture — a battle that grew more challenging after the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.
McGarity says he recently signed up an Arab-American high school student who lacked only her parents' approval to enlist. Then came the Nov. 5 rampage at Fort Hood. The Army has charged Maj. Nidal Hasan, 39, a Muslim and Arab American, with killing 13 people and wounding 32.
The high school student's mother "made her withdraw her application," McGarity says.
Such experiences illustrate heightened fears of discrimination and harassment aimed at Arab-American and Muslim troops since the Fort Hood shooting, says Mikey Weinstein, a former Air Force lawyer who founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which advocates for separation between church and state in the military.
By Wathiq Khuzale/Getty Images.
One Monday in May, I was setting off from Washington to Colorado Springs, home of the United States Air Force Academy. I had kindly been invited by the academy’s “freethinkers association,” a loose-knit group of cadets and instructors who are without religious affiliation. As I was making ready to depart, and checking my e-mail, I found I had been sent a near-incredible video clip from the Al Jazeera network. It had been shot at Bagram Air Force Base last year, and it showed a borderline-hysterical address by one Lieutenant Colonel Gary Hensley, chief of the United States’ military chaplains in Afghanistan. He was telling his evangelical audience, all of them wearing uniforms supplied by the taxpayer, that as followers of Jesus Christ they had a collective responsibility “to be witnesses for him.” Heating up this theme, Lieutenant Colonel Hensley went on: “The Special Forces guys, they hunt men, basically. We do the same things, as Christians. We hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down. Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them in the kingdom. Right? That’s what we do, that’s our business.”
MRFF Board Member Richard Baker is in his 26th year of being Santa for many children's and other causes in the Pikes Peak region.
Richard makes many appearances in support of area military, charitable and children's organizations.
Richard appeared at the Fort Carson, Colorado, Special Events Center from the 3rd,through the 6th of December and the Retried Enlisted Association on the evening of the 6th of December. He will hopefully get the chance to meet some wounded soldiers and their families returning from American medical facilities in Germany.
Including hospital and nursing home visits, Richard sees, on average, about 300 children and many more parents, elderly, and sick during the Christmas season.
"I have had as many Moms on my lap as children, who like to have pictures of themselves with their kids with Santa. This is not all bad."
No malls for him, however. He says he doesn't have the patience to sit through a thousand kids at a time.
"One child saw my Air Force ring and asked if Santa was in the Air Force. My brain is slowing down a bit but I was able to get out of that by saying the Air Force gave me and the reindeer flight training in my sleigh. And now I have GPS Navigation, Forward Looking Infrared Radar, ILS and landing lights!"
Richard hopes to continue the Santa thing for at least a couple more years. His long-suffering wife, Jo, has played "Tinsel" the Elf, helping Santa get those kids in his lap and passing out candy canes and presents. Jo also makes all of Richard's Santa suits, shirts, boots, etc.
"I'm afraid that if anyone finds out how much fun I have being Santa for the kids they will start charging me to do it."
December 9, 2009
Subject: My Natural Enemy
YOU ARE A ZIONIST! You are also my natural enemy since you strive to harm my people and our way of life which is based on God, marriage, family, community and ultimately national sovereignty. It may require another revolution! If so, look out...
December 9, 2009
Subject: Free Obama Dolls
[This image was sent by one of MRFF's most consistently offensive detractors. We're not quite sure what they meant by sending it,
other than that it was meant to offend us.]
December 9, 2009
Subject: Ashamed to be White
Dear Mikey and MRFF:
I've never before felt ashamed to be a White American, but the appallingly hateful e-mails from obvious White Supremacists to your inbox make me feel that way. These scum can afford their own computers (I have to borrow one) and have nothing better to do than spew bigotry while calling it their Constitutional right.
Truly, truly shameful.
I do want Mikey and all the stalwarts at MRFF to know that for every hateful bottom-feeder out there who pollutes the MRFF Newsletter, there are thousands of us hot-blooded Unitarian-Universalists, unwilling to swallow this shame, angry enough to speak out against the hate (we may be White but we're not cowards!).
We stand with you, Mikey.
December 10, 2009
Subject: Re: My Natural Enemy
I have no opinion one way or the other on the Protocols' authenticity. The UN General Assembly serves no good purpose. Bush was and is a fool and traitor to his people and therfore to this country. Zionism is racism because it places a higher value on the political aspirations of jews than on the natural desires of Arab Palestinions to live on the land of their fathers. Jews descriminate against non-jews, wherever they are, be it Hollywood, Wall Street, or Tel Aviv. You might call it nepotism, I call it racism. But worst of all, world jewry has been and is at the forefront of a globalist agenda that can only mean ultimately an end to individual freedom and the race which gave birth to it, the white race. So yes, you are my natural enemy in these culture wars. Is there an international Zionist conspiracy? It doesn't matter.
December 10, 2009
Subject: RE: My Natural Enemy
When my generation demonstrated the hot new dance, The Twist at a family Thanksgiving gathering, one of the older generation said, “That loud thump you just heard was Grandpa Lowry turning over in his grave.” Grandpa was a Baptist preacher and he did not approve of dancing. I was reminded of that imagery when I read this latest hate-mail.
This off-base hateful e-mail demonstrates ignorance of the Bill of Rights and a lack of appreciation for our great republic’s Constitution which stands alone in the history of man like a beacon of light that will always attract all men. It attracts us because we are born with a yearning for freedom- freedom of thought at the very least. God yearns for man to come to Him – to choose to come to Him. He has no desire for an army of robots.
The freedom of speech and freedom of religion guaranteed in our Bill of Rights are essential to our republic. They are essential for my freedom to not only choose my faith but to act on that choice.
When I read these hate filled email directed at you personally and the MRFF that show disrespect and disregard for the Bill of Rights, I wonder if the founding fathers are rolling over in their graves. They sacrificed so much, handed us this incredible gift, and only asked us to keep it alive.
Those who call you an enemy are either despisers of freedom or not listening to the message. The MRFF is not calling for eliminating the mention of Christmas or Easter. Those celebrations should be included in the services offered to our troops and cadets. The key word isn’t Christmas. It’s offer. Participation in religious celebrations and prayer time cannot be required without violating the Bill of Rights.
There will always be fools included in the multitude protected by our Constitution. We must never let them lead.
Keep up the good fight.
December 14, 2009
Subject: Happy Holiday vs Merry Christmas
When I read those hateful tacky emails that are sent to you in which the writer wails about being offended at replacing the word "Christmas" with "Holiday" in party invitations, gala announcements and sales ads, I am filled with some many thoughts of frustration and disgust I can't seem to summarize it all in a cogent thought.
My cousin Bill sends me dozens of forwarded emails everyday. The ones with red neck anywhere in the subject line are automatically deleted. He sent me one Friday that is a gem. It expresses perfectly all that frustration I feel when people make a big deal about omitting the word "Christmas".
Here is an excerpt from a "Letter from Jesus about Christmas":
Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 - 8.
Man thinks he is so clever, but he always emphasizes the details and forgets the original purpose.
Happy Chanukah, Happy Holidays, & I hope the New Year brings success and more support for the MRFF!
December 16, 2009
Subject: Thank you for all that you do!
Thank you for all that you do to support Military Religious Freedom.
Do you know of an organization that would like to hear about other forms of Government abuse of religious freedom?
December 16, 2009
Subject: Great site
I'm not a member, I just ran across your site and wanted to thank you for maintaining it. I served as an enlisted Marine 15 years ago and enlisted again in the Army (Georgia Guard) in (year withheld). I believe religious observation should be a private affair and it really bugs me to be proselytized to. Thanks for this site.
As a side note, my experience in the Marines was that every religion was provided for and catered to, but it was wise to have some religion regardless of what your particular brand was. Atheism was frowned upon. It sounds like the Marines are more lenient than the Air Force Academy (story on your site that I read), but I don't know how much 9/11 changed that.
Anyway, great site.
December 17, 2009
Subject: Bravo and I'm sorry for your distress
Mr. and Mrs. Weinstein,
I just discovered your web site linked off MSNBC and thought, "Wow, I wish someone would address the other amendments."
I recall that during my time in the military I frequently was left with the thought that people didn't understand what they were fighting for. And I wished then that the military provided more in the way of a class on our constitution.
Thanks for your work. Even though not directly impacted, I appreciate what you are doing.
Finally, I read the last lawsuit posted on your site and I'm finding it hard to believe that other people must believe that stuff too...Shocking...
December 17, 2009
Subject: Jews In The Military; Always a Security Risk
The jew Weinstein, the jew Gould, the jew Zeigler, ad nauseum. Joshua Narowe probably another jew. Apparently we need to put the spotlight on jews in the military, always a security risk.
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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.
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