Military Religious Freedom Foundation

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The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is a nonprofit group that campaigns to ensure that religious freedoms are upheld within the United States Armed Forces. The group has taken issue with the U.S. military over what it says is the forced Christian proselytizing of cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy and in the Armed Forces in general. The founder and president of MMRF is Michael Weinstein (Mikey Weinstein), who formed the organization to help defend his son, a cadet at the academy who claims he was was harassed for being a Jew.

Overview

Founder Michael Weinstein describes the group's target as a subset of evangelical Christianity - "postmillennial, reconstructionist, dominionist, evangelical Christianity." He says, "We have a Christian Taliban within our US military, the Pentagon has become the penacostalgon and this administration has turned the Department of Defense into a faith based initiative...Dominionist Christians [are] praying and preying on non-Evangelical Christians."[1]

Examples

Jewish vet tells of repeated proselytizing by VA hospital chaplains

Disabled Navy veteran David Akiva Miller is an observant Jew. He moved to Iowa City and was in the Veterans Administration Hospital for medical care. He had to endure repeated efforts by Protestant chaplains to evangelize him while he was in his hospital bed. The President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Mikey Weinstein, held a news conference with Miller and declared his support for the vet -- including any necessary lawsuit.[2]

Military Religious Freedom Foundation claims another victory as Pentagon cancels on Franklin Graham

Evangelist Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, had an invitation to speak at a Pentagon prayer service which was canceled following the objection of the Foundation because of Franklin's previous remarks about Islam. He called Islam evil and said he finds the religion offensive.[3]

U.S. military weapons inscribed with secret 'Jesus' Bible codes

Coded references to Bible passages about Jesus Christ were inscribed on rifle sights provided to the United States military by the U.S. company Trijicon. The sights are used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as by Iraqi and Afghan soldiers. The company has a multi-year $660 million contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the U.S. Marine Corps and also to supply the U.S. Army. MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein said, "It allows the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, al Qaeda and the insurrectionists and jihadists to claim they're being shot by Jesus rifles."[4]

U.S. soldiers punished for not attending Christian concert

Two U.S. Army posts in Virginia were putting on a series of what are called Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concerts. Chris Rodda of the MRFF says that "spiritual fitness" is the military's term for promoting religion, particularly evangelical Christianity.

"On May 13, 2010, about eighty soldiers, stationed at Fort Eustis while attending a training course, were punished for opting out of attending one of these Christian concerts. The headliner at this concert was a Christian rock band called BarlowGirl, a band that describes itself as taking "an aggressive, almost warrior-like stance when it comes to spreading the gospel and serving God.""

"And then there's the cost. These concerts aren't just small events with local Christian bands. We're talking about the top, nationally-known, award-winning Christian artists, with headline acts costing anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000, and even many of the opening acts being in the $10,000 range. The cost of these concerts led MRFF's research department to start looking at some of the DoD contracts for other "spiritual fitness" events and programs, and what we found was astounding. One contract, for example, awarded to an outside consulting firm to provide "spiritual fitness" services, was for $3.5 million. MRFF was already aware that exorbitant amounts of DoD funding were going to the hiring of civilian religious employees by military installations, the expenses of religious (almost exclusively evangelical Christian) programs, and extravagant religious facilities, but the extent of this spending goes far beyond what we had initially thought it amounted to. Therefore, MRFF has decided to launch an investigation into exactly how much the military is spending on promoting religion."[5]

Message to U.S. Airmen: "Accelerate Your Christian Journey"

The MRFF says that it "receives a constant stream of photographs from service members and DoD employees around the globe showing overt promotions of Christianity in the form of signs, banners, posters, and flyers -- all strategically placed in locations that are impossible for military personnel to avoid in their day to day activities."[6]

Lawyer sues to end Dallas group's 'threat' prayers

Former U.S. Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt has been making religious threat prayers against MRFF's Mikey Weinstein, asking Jesus to plunder his fields, sieze his assets, kill him and his family then wipe away his descendants of 10 generations. "The suit also asks the court to stop the defendants – Klingenschmitt and Jim Ammerman, the founder of the Dallas-based Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches – from "encouraging, soliciting, directing, abetting or attempting to induce others to engage in similar conduct." Weinstein, 54, said his family has received death threats, had a swastika emblazoned on their home in New Mexico, animal carcasses left on their doorstep and feces thrown at the house."[7]

Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

The MRFF has been nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.[8]

Partners

Contact

Military Religious Freedom Foundation
13170-B Central Avenue, SE
Suite 255
Albuquerque, NM 87123
Phone: (800) 736-5109
Email: infoATmilitaryreligiousfreedom.org (Replace the "AT" with an @ sign)
Web: http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org

Resources and articles

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. "Pre-millennial, Reconstructionist, Dominionist, Evangelical Christians", ChristianFighterPilot.com, May 1, 2007.
  2. Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, "Jewish vet tells of repeated proselytizing by VA hospital chaplains", Jews on First!, May 15, 2007.
  3. Anne Flaherty, "Military Religious Freedom Foundation Claims Another Victory As Pentagon Cancels On Franklin Graham", The Huffington Post, April 22, 2010.
  4. Joseph Rhee, Tahman Bradley, and Brian Ross, "U.S. Military Weapons Inscribed With Secret 'Jesus' Bible Codes", Military Religious Freedom Foundation, January 18, 2010.
  5. Chris Rodda, "U.S. Soldiers Punished for Not Attending Christian Concert", The Huffington Post, August 19, 2010.
  6. Chris Rodda, "Message to U.S. Airmen: "Accelerate Your Christian Journey"", The Huffington Post, September 1, 2010.
  7. Diane Jennings, "Lawyer sues to end Dallas group's 'threat' prayers", The Dallas Morning News, October 4, 2009.
  8. Bryant Jordan, "MRFF Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize", Military.com, October 27, 2009.
  9. Partnering links, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, accessed December 2010.