Friday, December 22, 2006

An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh

An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh:
In Defense of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Satan’s Lawyer. Un-American. Anti-religion. Pacifist. Anti-Christ. Liberal. The Field General of the Godless Armies of Satan. The Most Dangerous Man in America.

I’ve been called many names since I began my battle to uphold the religious freedoms of the noble men and women in our armed forces. I’m impressed with the creativity of my adversaries and frankly flattered that so much time has been invested in coining these denigrating titles.

It’s rare that I take time to call attention to these criticisms, sticks and stones may break my bones but, you know the rest; however, Rush, you who kindly called both me and Military Religious Freedom Foundation members liberal pacifists, also asked an important question of me on your radio program last week.

“Who in the world are you, Mikey, to say that our military has to ban religious activity in the Pentagon because it might offend the enemy?”

Well, Rush, exactly who do I have to be and who are you to openly trample on our Constitutional rights?

This has never been a political spectrum left or right issue; it is an issue of what is Constitutionally right or wrong. It is neither my goal nor the goal of my Foundation to “ban religious activity in the Pentagon,” and we certainly do not strive to appease the fundamentalist enemies we are currently fighting.

I am a great believer in the United States Constitution as laid out for us by our Founding Fathers. I am a staunch advocate for both freedom of speech and religious freedom. However, the military, due to its necessarily draconian command structure, is an inherently coercive, adversarial, and ritualistic organization – one that presents situations in which both of these cherished freedoms can easily be abused in the supervisor-subordinate relationship. Given your personal lack of service in our nation’s armed forces, I can partially understand why you might not grasp these basic facts.

Military leadership is required to uphold and abide by military regulations and Constitutional guarantees. Senior officials must strive to serve as exemplars to their subordinates.

Military and civilian personnel are undoubtedly entitled to their own religious beliefs. It is, however, clearly against military regulations and Constitutional guarantees to promote these beliefs during mandatory military meetings and events, while in uniform and on duty. My son and daughter-in-law (both of whom are United States Air Force Academy graduates) found this out when their request to appear in uniform in a documentary film about religion in the military was denied, in writing, by the Pentagon, for fear of government endorsement of their views.

We are not asking for the cessation of bible studies, prayer groups, sermonizing or religious functions before or after military duties have been completed. We are only asking that these religious events not be made mandatory or be thrust by those in the chain-of-command, in the face of subordinates who actively choose not to engage in them. Of equal importance, we are asking military members to not use their official government positions as a platform to preach about their particular biblical worldview.

As a United States Air Force Academy graduate, with a long family history of military combat service, I consider myself a true patriot and a loyal supporter of this country and her values. I have never sought to placate our enemies and did not choose to engage in this fight with that objective in mind. Rather, I took up this cause after hearing innumerable examples of specific Constitutional infractions and of blatant religious bias, from U.S. armed forces and civilian personnel stationed at the 702 U.S. military installations in 132 countries throughout the world.

I firmly believe that the encroachment of religious fundamentalism on our armed forces destroys their ability to successfully serve the American people. Servicemen and women, cadets, midshipmen and civilian personnel are crying out that constant coercive evangelizing and the pressure to adhere to a religion that is not their own, negatively impacts their ability to study, serve and stand together as a cohesive fighting unit in the war we are currently waging.

How can we successfully battle religious fundamentalists overseas who seek the destruction of American ideals, if we carry our own brand of fundamentalism into that war?

It is your support, Rush, for the deliberate erosion of our Constitution that truly emboldens our enemies overseas.

I'll fight with every fiber of my being for you to have the right to spew your skewed notion of our Constitution. But I also won't rest until all of our men and women in uniform have the religious freedom our nation guarantees.

Mikey Weinstein
MRFF President and Founder


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7:03 PM  
Blogger Jolly Roger said...

I completely agree with you-proselytizing within the military is dangerous and invites the day when we have an Armed Forces of factions. That certainly worked well in Yugoslavia, didn't it?

It is very clear that El Shrubbo del Estupido is content to turn the US into the Holy Republic of Jesusistan, and the "Jesus" we'll all swear loyalty to doesn't look much like the Biblical one. But that was never the point anway-Jesus is another lever to use in the quest for absolute power. Radicalizing the military would go a long way to achieving that power.

11:14 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

Thank you Mike. You are now going to be one of my regular stops. One of the biggest problems I had in the military was when I wanted my dog tags to say "No Relgion" or "Atheist" instead of the standard "No Preference." I felt that their offering would imply that I didn't care about the denomination of chaplain who would be summoned, when what I wanted was no chaplains at all. We finally were able to have them just leave it blank. I am not out to attack anyone's belief or to interfere in anyway with what ever comfort they find. I do, insist on my constitutional right to believe the way I do. I see no difference in the people who want to ignore one of the wisest decisions of our founders and establish a religion and the mullahs of Iran or the Taliban. The only difference is how they dress and the book they pound.

2:48 PM  

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