Well, another one of Shirley Dobson's big National Day of Prayer shindigs has come and gone, with all the same regulation-violating military participation as last year and the year before that and the year before that. As usual, they had their Army band, military color guard, and speakers that included uniformed service members going all the way up to a major general -- all in blatant violation of the very clear military regulations prohibiting service members from participating in religious or any other "non-federal entity" events of this kind while in uniform. But, rather than go into detail about that, which would basically just be a repeat of what I wrote about last year's event, I want to focus on another aspect of Ms. Dobson's annual Capitol Hill Jesus jamboree.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Dobson, who took over as chairperson of the National Day of Prayer Task Force in 1991, recalled the difficulties that she and her husband, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, experienced when they moved their organization to Colorado Springs that same year. She also recalled what a bad year 1991 was for America in general, explaining to her audience how the lord delivered America from the First Gulf War:
"And then a more distressing thing happened. We were in a war. Saddam Hussein had invaded the tiny country of Kuwait and used poison gas on the people. America went to war in what was called Operation Desert Storm. Our president at that time was George Herbert Walker Bush, and he called for a national day of prayer. 500,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen went to war, and we went to our knees to pray. On [sic] that same year, on May 2, we came to the National Day of Prayer in Washington, D.C. asking for a victory on the battlefields of Iraq, and the lord graciously answered those prayers. The allies lost only nine planes during the conflict and most of our soldiers and airmen came home safely. We must never, never forget what the lord did for us during that time of uncertainty."
According to the mission statement page on the T.I.M.E. for Christ Medical Ministries website:
“Our medical caravan is just the beginning. Our real purpose is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Mexico. … The caravan draws the people in and while the people stand in line waiting for health-care, our Mexican brothers witness to the crowds and set up stations where the Jesus video is being constantly shown.”
Baptist Medical & Dental Mission International (BMDMI), a similar ministry that T.I.M.E. for Christ partners with on some of its mission trips to Central America, is even more explicit about its practice of forcing people who are desperate for medical treatment to first be proselytized to before receiving that medical treatment. In its instruction manual
for its volunteers, BMDMI is very clear that every patient must attend a worship service in order to be permitted to enter the medical clinic, even providing instructions on how to prevent any sneaky sick people from forging their proof of worship service attendance (emphasis BMDMI’s):
“After the worship service, you will have to mark each card of the villagers in attendance so that they will be permitted to enter the clinics. We strongly suggest that you use some type of unusual hole punch (i.e. a hole punch that leaves an odd shape) or an unusual color marker that cannot be duplicated easily by a local villager. At times the Mission is able to provide an ‘ink dip’ to mark a finger of the person in attendance."
Putting aside for a minute the odious practice of forcing sick and desperate people to sit through evangelical worship services to receive medical care, does something else strike anybody as a bit odd about these ministries? Like the fact that they’re targeting Central American countries? That T.I.M.E. for Christ was founded to “spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Mexico?” Didn’t the Spanish already do that about five centuries ago? Aren’t the people of Central America already overwhelmingly Christian? Well, yeah, but they’re primarily, and in some countries almost exclusively, those Catholic kind of Christians, which of course makes them in need of saving by “real” Christians like the T.I.M.E. For Christ missionaries and BMDMI.
For the second year in a row, the U.S. Air Force band has surprised a crowd of Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum visitors with a “holiday flash mob,” wowing an unsuspecting audience with over a hundred Air Force Band instrumentalists and vocalists appearing out of nowhere and performing the most overtly religious “holiday” music possible.
Last year it was Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring and Joy to the World at the museum’s Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall; this year it was What Child Is This? at the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The second song in this year’s medley was The Carol of the Bells, which is not an overtly religious song, but the Air Force Band fixed that by adding the line “Joy! Joy, for Christ is born!” to the end of its version.
"There's Army ROTC. Then There's Wheaton Army ROTC." That's the slogan used by Wheaton College, a well-known Christian college in Illinois, to promote its Army ROTC program. It turns out that the slogan couldn't be more true. Wheaton Army ROTC certainly is different -- in an egregiously unconstitutional way. As Army lieutenant and Wheaton graduate James Greene comes right out and says in a recruiting video shown at the school's freshman orientation: "Wheaton College ROTC is unique in that it is the only Christian run ROTC program in the entire nation." (See video below)
Before getting into just how blatantly Christian and incredibly unconstitutional this "Christian run ROTC program" is, I need to back up for a minute and explain why I was looking at Wheaton's ROTC program in the first place.
Last week, a very shocked U.S. Army officer contacted the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). This officer had been looking at a list of assignments currently available for Army captains. The assignments on this list, referred to as "broadening assignments," are assignments available to captains who have completed their required career course and subsequent stint as a company commander. Lists of available assignments are issued quarterly for captains nearing this stage of their career, with instructions for captains who are interested in any of the assignments on the list to contact their Assignment Officer.
Among the various "broadening assignments" for Army captains is the position of Assistant Professor of Military Science at an ROTC college or university. Of the thirty-one available assignments on the current list sent to MRFF by the shocked Army officer, four are Assistant Professor of Military Science assignments at various ROTC schools. One of the four leapt off the page. Why? Because in parentheses next to it was a special requirement: "MUST BE OF CHRISTIAN FAITH."
Well, it seems that when it comes to who will be awarded defense contracts, the Air Force has a message for potential bidders -- God has already decided who will "prosper" and be given "hope and a future."
Over the past few days, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has been contacted by forty-three individuals complaining about an email sent out by an employee of the Small Business Procurement staff for the AFRL/RD-RV at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.
Six of the forty-three are business people whose companies are registered to receive notifications of government contracts available in their industry. The other thirty-seven include both Air Force personnel and civilian employees at the base. Thirty-seven of the forty-three identified themselves as either Protestant or Catholic. All are demanding at the very least an apology for this email, which was sent out on October 3 (emphasis added):
On Friday, September 26, Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), appeared at a very unlikely venue -- Patrick Henry College (PHC).
For those unfamiliar with this institution of higher learning, PHC is a fundamentalist Christian college in Virginia, founded fourteen years ago to groom a steady stream of young fundamentalist Christians to transform American society, particularly as future political leaders.
"The Mission of Patrick Henry College is to prepare Christian men and women who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless biblical values and fidelity to the spirit of the American founding. Educating students according to a classical liberal arts curriculum and training them with apprenticeship methodology, the College provides academically excellent baccalaureate level higher education with a biblical worldview."
"The Vision of Patrick Henry College is to aid in the transformation of American society by training Christian students to serve God and mankind with a passion for righteousness, justice, and mercy, through careers of public service and cultural influence."
No, Hobby Lobby, that quote on your website is NOT from Thomas Jefferson! And, furthermore, the document it comes from -- which was written by James Madison -- is a list of some of the best arguments AGAINST that Supreme Court ruling that you and your fellow Christian supremacists are currently gloating about.
This is from current homepage of the Hobby Lobby website:
The quote that Hobby Lobby wrongly attributes to Jefferson actually comes from James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, written in opposition to Patrick Henry's proposed "Bill establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion." This is the document written and presented to the Virginia legislature by Madison in 1785 on behalf of the citizens of Virginia who were AGAINST any mixing of religion and government.
Last Thursday, despite being in violation of a plethora of its own regulations, the Department of Defense allowed a whole bunch of uniformed military personnel to participate in Shirley Dobson's National Day of Prayer Task Force event on Capitol Hill. As I wrote prior to the event, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) had written not one, but two, letters to the Secretary of Defense listing all of the DoD regulations that allowing this participation clearly violated. MRFF's first letter informed the Secretary of Defense of the regulations prohibiting military participation in events run by non-federal entities such as Ms. Dobson's NDP Task Force, which is usually enough to get things like this stopped. Ms. Dobson's organization, however, attempted to circumvent these very clear military regulations by claiming that the event wasn't run by her organization, but run by Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) with the assistance of NDP Task Force, and succeeded.
As a former attorney, Fox News's Megyn Kelly should know full well what defamation is, and she should know full well that what she repeatedly said on last Thursday's episode of her show The Kelly File was indeed defamation.
Who is it that Ms. Kelly defamed? Mikey Weinstein, the founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). And what did she say that was defamatory? Well, she repeatedly said that Mikey is an atheist and that MRFF is an atheist organization.
In a six-minute segment about MRFF's demand that, due to the numerous military regulations prohibiting such activities (see my previous post), the Department of Defense cancel the planned participation of uniformed military personnel in Shirley Dobson's big upcoming National Day of Prayer shindig, Ms. Kelly verbally repeated her utterly false claim no less than three times, had the same false claim appear on the screen three times, and then repeated it again in the headline for the story on her show's website.
Next Thursday, May 1, is the National Day of Prayer -- that abhorrently unconstitutional congressionally mandated day each year when our government tells us all that we should pray.
Now, the organization that I work for, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), is not trying to completely abolish the National Day of Prayer -- not because we approve of it, but simply because the issue of the existence of this infelicitous day just doesn't fall within the purview of our organization's mission. What does fall within our purview, however, are any violations of military regulations or any religious discrimination against members of the military that occur because of the National Day of Prayer. And this year we have two such within-our-purview situations happening.
The first of the two is one that we are taking direct action to stop -- the planned appearance of uniformed military personnel at Shirley Dobson's big shindig at the Cannon House Office Building.
This post is an updated version of a post I wrote on this same date last year, which, not surprisingly, was titled "One Year Ago Today, the 'Least Credible History Book in Print' was Published."
(I am also once again giving away a free PDF version of one of my books, just like I did last year to mark this anniversary, so be sure to scroll down to the end of this post to get this year's freebie!)
On February 27 and 28, the Air Force Academy held its annual National Character & Leadership Symposium, an event described as "one of the nation's premier symposia in the field of character and leadership development." The speakers at this annual symposium include "distinguished scholars, military leaders, corporate executives, world-class athletes, and others." The attendees are not only Air Force Academy cadets and staff, but also students and faculty from civilian colleges and universities, ROTC detachments, and international delegations.
One of the speakers at this year's National Character & Leadership Symposium was Kelly Shackelford, the President & CEO of the Liberty Institute, which describes itself as "the largest legal organization dedicated solely to defending and restoring religious liberty in America."