Friday, December 19th, 2008
Gen. Schwarzkopf: If You're Not Too Busy, Could You Please Come Back and Knock Some
Friday, December 19, 2008
By Chris Rodda
Back in 1990, when the U.S. deployed troops to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield, the defensive mission to prevent an Iraqi invasion of Saudi Arabia in the build-up to Operation Desert Storm, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf was faced with a problem that, as discovered by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), has become an epidemic in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- evangelical Christian missionaries using the U.S. military to convert Muslims to Christianity.
In his autobiography, It Doesn't Take a Hero, Gen. Schwarzkopf recounted his run in with Franklin Graham's organization, Samaritan's Purse -- an incident that made it clear that the Saudis' fears and complaints of Christian evangelizing were not unfounded. While some of the Saudis' fears, as the general explained, had resulted from Iraqi propaganda about American troops disrespecting Islamic shrines, the attempt by Samaritan's Purse to get U.S. troops to distribute tens of thousands of Arabic language New Testaments to Muslims
Military Entangled in 'Extreme' Missionary Christian
Reality TV Show
Saturday, December 13, 2008
By Jason Leopold
The Pentagon has once again come under fire by a military watchdog organization for its involvement in the production of two cable programs, one that featured two so-called “extreme” missionaries embedded with a U.S. Army unit in Afghanistan trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.
The popular reality series, "Travel the Road," aired on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and featured Will Decker and Tim Scott, two so-called "extreme" missionaries who travel the globe to “preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth and encourage the church to be active in the Great Commission.”
The other cable program green-lit by the Pentagon is “God’s Soldier,” which aired in September on the Military Channel, and was filmed at Forward Operating Base McHenry in Hawijah, Iraq. It features an Army chaplain openly promoting fundamentalist Christianity to active-duty U.S. soldiers in Iraq in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), a watchdog organization, first disclosed details about the cable programs in the group’s weekly newsletter on Friday. The group plans to amend a federal lawsuit it filed against the Department of Defense earlier this year, currently in federal District Court in Kansas City, Kansas to “include these despicable unconstitutional promotions of fundamentalist Christianity in the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan,” said MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein.
U.S Military Now in Christian
Reality TV Business; Putting
Muslim Interpreters in
Monday, December 15, 2008
By Chris Rodda
U.S. military involvement in entertainment productions is nothing new. This has been going on since the earliest days of film, with a collaboration between Hollywood and the government's Committee on Public Relations to produce a series of World War I films using footage shot in Europe by the army's Signal Corps. Back in 1918, the reason the government agreed to get involved in these civilian productions was their benefit in boosting civilian morale and maintaining support for the war. Today, legitimate reasons to justify the military's participation or assistance in entertainment productions range from making the military look cool to aid in recruitment and retention efforts to simply helping film and television producers to accurately depict military characters or activities.
According to Department of Defense (DoD) policies and regulations, the rigorous approval process for the use of military personnel and assets in an entertainment production typically starts with the approval of the production's script by the appropriate branch's Entertainment Liaison's Office. The project then has to make it through several levels of approval in the DoD's Public Affairs Office, including a screening of the final product before it is released or aired on television. But, despite the DoD's many policies and regulations, which all look good on paper, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) continues to uncover case after case of military involvement in religious entertainment productions that not only violate DoD Public Affairs regulations, but a host of other military regulations, as well as the Constitution.
Attorneys for atheist soldier
to amend lawsuit
Monday, December 15, 2008
By John Milburn
Associated Press Writer
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Attorneys for an atheist soldier at Fort Riley said Monday that they plan to amend their lawsuit against the Department of Defense to include new allegations about evangelizing in combat.
The evidence is in videos discovered by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which along with Spc. Dustin Chalker is suing Secretary Robert Gates over alleged violations of religious rights.
Chalker, an atheist, claims he has been forced to attend mandatory military formations where Christian prayers are given.
The videos show soldiers and Christian missionaries talking about their faith and the desire to spread Christianity to Muslims. The video also shows the missionaries, who were embedded with units, handing out Dari language Bibles.
"What we're putting in is shocking," said Mikey Weinstein, president of the foundation.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Defense declined to comment about the video, citing policy on pending litigation.
December 19, 2008
To Mikey Weinstein,
I will pray that God give you the strength to continue your efforts toward creating what our country's founding fathers intended - a tolerant America that protects the universal right to religious freedom for all.
December 18, 2008
Dear Mikey Weinstein, and Military Religious Freedom Foundation,
I am writing to you and your organization to ask for your help. I have heard and read good things about the organization, so I decided to write to you. I want to share with you some of what’s been going on with me. I know that a lot of the people that you help are Christian, and the rest are non-Christians; people like me. I am a practicing Jew. It seems that is the problem.
I am [age withheld] years old, have served in the military for [number withheld] years, and a combat veteran. I love this country. I have lived in other countries, and have an appreciation for this country that is hard to explain. I served in Afghanistan in 2003, and got out of the service after that tour. I lived in [location withheld] for the next 3 years, joined the U.S. Army Reserves in Germany in April of [year withheld], and came back on active duty in October 2007, last year. I have been assigned to [withheld] Battalion, [withheld] Group , Ft. [installation and state withheld]. Since I’ve been here what has been going on, from what I’ve seen is appalling. I have a [age withheld] old son and since I live in the barracks, I cannot have him come to visit me. I have applied for off post housing, and submitted the appropriate paperwork, four times! Each time I have been told no or not approved. I have seen other soldiers, that don’t have children, are not married, and are at least 15 years younger than I am be approved to move out. Can someone please explain to me and my [age withheld] old son, that wants to see his father, why he can’t see his daddy? It appears that no one in my chain of command can.
I have also been held back from advancement. I have watched people of the same rank as I was advance, but not me. I have been told that the reason for not being able to advance is that I don’t have a security clearance, and that it is required for me to have one to get promoted. I spoke to the branch manager and he stated that isn’t true. I know one of the people that was promoted and he doesn’t have a security clearance either, and he is also in a security position. That person has been told that they are up for promotion again. What gives?
Celebration of the Jewish, MY, Holy-days has been “iffy”. I applied for a pass to go celebrate the Jewish Holy-day of Shavuot (Christians call it Pentecost). I was told by my sergeant, and the officer in charge of our section, that it was approved. Based on that I purchased a ticket and made arrangements with the [country withheld] Consulate to give up my [country withheld] Citizenship so I could get my security clearance, and save the U.S. Army and the American Tax payer money. The evening before I am to leave, I got a phone call saying the pass is denied. I started making phone calls and ended up talking to the Jewish Welfare Board, and then to our company commander. He finally told me to go. I go, and get from the [country withheld] Consulate a memorandum to give to the Army stating that I have given up the citizenship. I go back to Ft. [installation withheld], go to the usual formations and then to work. I received, for the first time in [number withheld] years of service, not one, but two negative counseling statements! Was this the modern day U.S. Army, or pre civil rights? I had just done the Army a favor and saved them money, and this happens! The next few months go by, without incident, and by that I mean nothing, no advancement, no security issues, nothing. That is until October. The Chaplain’s Office here sent out the letter about the up-coming Jewish Holy-days (We are a little different, but I think that G-d understands). I put in for a pass to be able to celebrate the Holy-days locally, and so far ,so good, no problems. I put in the final pass and then the problems started. After my [number withheld] years of service, I understand mission requirements, and things that have to be done. The unit had a range, to shoot rifles, to go to that was NOT mandatory for record qualification. I informed my chain of command, and had been informing them of the restrictions that we have to follow for those Holy-days. I was made to WALK the 16 miles roundtrip to the range (while my fellow soldiers were driven), stand around and do nothing for the day and walk back. For my two days of loyalty to the unit and proving to them that I am part of them, I got a trip to the clinic, to be treated for serious regular and blood blisters on my feet. I was all but out of commission for a week. When asked why I was not allowed to run etc. one somebody mentioned “Because he’s Jewish!” I have to ask, what country is this? I have been to the synagogue in Rhode Island, and there is a letter there from President George Washington. In the letter he wrote “ ---every one shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid”. It pains me to see that the U.S. Army, and especially this unit, have ignored the wishes and words of their first general and Commander in Chief. [ number withheld] years of service to see what is going on here today?
Mr. Weinstein, plz tell me how is it in this day and age, the U.S.military can take care of all of the needs of its fundamentalist Christian service members and even its prisoners and persons of interest (by providing them with meals, religious items, special diets and time for their prayers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba) but we cannot take care of our own non-fundamentalist Christian airmen, soldiers, sailors and marines?
[name and rank withheld]
Response from MRFF supporter
This one really made me angry. Why is this unit getting away with treating this soldier in this despicable manner? I really hope you can make a difference
December 16, 2008
I am concerned about the lawsuit filed againt the military about the conditions in Iraq. I agree with you that there should be religious freedoml However, your actions seem to be againt that.
If you beleived in religeous freedom you would not be filing suits. By suing you are trying to deny the religeous freedom of one person becasue of your beleifs. Christians are suppose to witness to others. That is what Paul did, Christ did, and many other persons in the bible and throughout history. It is part of being a Christian.
So it is only through ignorance that you file a suit. You are only trying to stop someone from practicing their religius beleifs becasue you not beleive that way.
My guess is you are a lawyer and that you also want to be paid by the government, me!, for your services. It is peole like you who are ruining America. You claim to want freedom for all, but then you want to restrict someome elses. In actuality, you want all to beleive the way you do! Or maybe, like some, you juat want to scam the taxpayers.
I really think those liek you who file frivilous suits should be charged for the time of the government and should be fines and forced to do community service.
If you are truly for freedom, you will not try to restrict what others do.
Click here to read MRFF supporter
December 17, 2008
to Mikey Weinstein:
I will pray for you. However, I wll nto (sic) read your messages any more as I do not want to play games. But, I will do all in my power to stop your anti-Christian agenda in America and the rest fo (sic) the world.
Click here to read a MRFF supporter
December 11, 2008
Thanks for all the work. I love receiving the newsletter. As an Atheist soldier I appreciate the separation of church and state. That being said I do know that the chaplains are the best way to serve theists in combat zones. I understand why that is needed. Often soldiers just need someone to listen to and have someone to trust that will not tell others what is troubling them. The problem is when they add religion on to it.
I finished my year long stay in Iraq in [withheld]. My experience in with our Chaplain and the Army mental health is broad. I have had the chance to be an trained advocate for Suicide prevention and reintegration. I have worked with our chaplain on mental health issues. As a part of Army policy the Chaplains are an extension of mental health clinics. As a part of any organization we are limited resources. We have medics, flight surgeons, and chaplains. Instead of using the more science based battalion level personnel they use the religious based personnel to spread the mental health method. Although the medical professionals are trained in mental health and will refer if in the clinic they are not used to advocate for soldier level mental health training. Whether it be suicide prevention or reintegration training.
What bothers me is that I notice that religion especially chaplains are co opting psychology and adding the God umbrella to it. Often the message is very meaningful and helpful for soldiers taught by a trusted leader (the chaplain). But then sullied with a disparaging remarks about psychologists or psychiatrist and intimating Gods fingers in the training. When it is based on proven scientific psychological principles. They also have co opted and have been using the some version of the controversial “transpersonal psychology” Mostly in literature and some Power Point trainings. Most of it was skimmed over because it did not make a lot of sense to the audiences and to most science.
As a [position withheld] I made it clear to the Chaplain that I do not like manipulative coercive actions. Our chaplain was a caring and strong leader who listened to what I said and respected my view points. He also acknowledged that there were others that did not believe the same way he did. When sending e-mails to BN personnel he was not pushing he religion. He stated where meetings were being held and gave neutral informative information. He did support a financial planning guru.
Our Brigade Active duty chaplain was a bit of a different story. I had a few run ins with e-mails and coercive language while dining.
What I would advocate is a professional trained counselor for each Battalion. A position like the chaplain.
[name and rank withheld]
December 6, 2008
(..............) outright evangelisim in the military. Here at [military installation name withheld] for instance, there is a monthly event held at the chapel called "Faith in the Foxhole" where general officers (yes...in unifom) speak to commanders (also in uniform during duty hours) explaining how it is "impossible to be a good leader without god", and explain how the "soldier with no legs is much better off than a man with no faith in god". Attendance is "highly encouraged". I voice my opinion loudly and often, and although they "see my point", the events continue on because they are "voluntary" and sponsored by the chaplain. It is VERY clear, however, that the command has a specific religious view point, and that non-attendance is frowned on, and may reflect negatively on your ability to be in a leadership role. I make it a point not to attend. Since I made [rank withheld], I hope I can have more of an influence to stop this sort of thing. I sew on [date withheld]...wish me luck!"
[name and rank withheld], USAF
December 10, 2008
I don't know who you might have contacted regarding the Faith in the Foxhole, but it seems to have had an immediate impact! Today, my immediate commander attended the wing staff meeting...and I'll be dammed (lol)! The suddenly extremely subdued chaplain did not offer his usual Bible verse to open the meeting, and our new Wing Commander [name withheld] out of the blue brings up Faith in the Foxhole, and then proceeds to nearly trip over himself to tell everyone that they understand they are not required to attend and that they would not be looked on unfavorably, etc., etc., etc.
I know for a fact that this would not have occurred had they not been exposed. They operate very much like my teenager, once they're busted (and only then), they start backpedaling and start trying protest that they've really been doing the right thing all along! What this really illustrates to me is how cognizant they are of how what they are doing violates the Constitution. The only thing they are really worried about is the fact that they've been caught red-handed.
Although I do not think I have standing to serve as a plaintiff in a lawsuit, I do think the time is right to approach the chaplain's office and insist on equal time. As soon as I sew on [rank withheld], I believe I would like to start an atheist and agnostic group here on [base installation withheld] and insist that it be given equal billing with Faith in the Foxhole. If they fail to do so, I believe their action would give me legitimate standing in any subsequent lawsuit.
In closing, it makes me feel wonderful to know that there are organizations such as yours that support the separation of church and state and help protect the rights of individual Americans from the aggressive proselytization by Christian theocrats. I am joining your organization today, and hope to continue to support you in your efforts.
[name and rank withheld], USAF
December 8, 2008
As a Christian and a Vietnam veteran I know that mankind, all of us, are plagued by a sin nature that operates out of a spirit of fear, militant pride, and the love of money and ourselves, 1 John 2:16. These are just a few of the elements of our sin nature which explain what we see on the television screen and experience in our personal lives every day.
Civil leaders are subject to this sin nature and according to some commentators have withheld the proper notification to veterans out of fear that it would cost too much money to take care of and send benefits to afflicted veterans. After the latest bailouts of the banking industry that have reduced the "power of money" into the hands of fewer people worldwide, setting the stage for the coming Antichrist, the money needed for ailing Vietnam veterans is in comparison a drop in the bucket, as the saying goes!
But there is hope. Jesus Christ has shed his pure sinless blood to pay for those sins and offered us forgiveness and a new heart surrounded by the indwelling Holy Spirit that can overcome these things until he returns in great power and glory to finally end the awful wars that have stricken the human race. The fallen angels who inspire the sin nature in men will be imprisoned in Hell along with all men who reject the only way into eternal life, the Lord Jesus Christ. When he comes we shall be given new resurrected bodies that will never tire or get sick again, and most of all, we shall live in the bodily presence of the Son of God on this Earth for 1000 years. God bless you all, my veteran friends.
Click here to read a MRFF supporter
December 8, 2008
I want to clarify that it's wrong for all women to be in the army. The battle belongs to men. Women who join the army get raped, then they get discharged feeling disgraced of what happened to them. The old-fashioned values need to return- men go out and work while their wives are at home, cleaning it, take care of the babies and children, etc. No wonder families are in such a mess. How can that be? Women want to be like the men (be out in the work force). God bless you!
December 8, 2008
To: Military Religious Freedom Foundation and Mikey Weinstein:
If you will imagine yourself arriving to your local veterans administration office for help. You have served in fierce combat, been awarded medals and have been taxed physically by your time in the military. You happen to see a placard and frame of religious rhetoric. Your interest is piqued! You read the display. Your face goes from relatively slack to a faint scowl. That country you are in this office for, injured or otherwise, tells you that it is all for Jesus, because of Jesus. The flag you love and almost lost your life for and watched your buddies die for has been devoted to a religion you do not follow. Remember your Jewish buddy in basic? What about that Hindu soldier that helped pull you to safety after you were wounded? Why is that allowed to happen? Well, walk around a little more. You will find more to be distraught about... Shouldn't the military remain neutral on these matters? How about a placard of a memorial to those fallen, regardless of faith?
(name and rank withheld) United States Army Soldier, 2 combat tours in Iraq
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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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