It came as no surprise to us that this summer proved to be a blazingly hot one... and I'm not talking about the scorching weather here in Albuquerque. We've heard an incessant whining from Washington D.C. emanating from so-called "conservative" lawmakers about some fictitious "war on religion" ostensibly being spearheaded by MRFF in conjunction with the current presidential administration. As if! We've also witnessed former U.S. Air Force (USAF) Chief of Staff, Norton A. Schwartz, belatedly underscore the regulations meant to safeguard religious freedom within the USAF. Make no mistake, MRFF advocacy played THE decisive role in ensuring the inclusion of the critical religious neutrality component in these mandatory new Air Force Instructions (AFI 1-1). Importantly, these new regulations have teeth -- failure to abide by AFI 1-1 is considered a dereliction of duty offense under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and is punishable through trial by courts-martial.
Additionally, the lid has cleanly been blown off the patent falsity of the infamous Christian nationalist pseudo-historian David Barton's mythologized, fabricated history of our founding fathers. It has truly been a month like no other in terms of advancing our fight to guarantee the Constitutional rights of servicemembers to be rid of a constant encircling by the vultures of evangelical Christian fundamentalism within our armed forces. Much of the research used to bring on David Barton's "fall from grace" came from the work of our talented MRFF Senior Research Director, the inestimable Ms. Chris Rodda, who has now been called a "terrorist" and compared to Hitler by Barton's second in command, Rick Green. Barton, a grade-A charlatan and professional fraudster of the highest order, has been forced to suffer the humiliation of having his own publisher, Thomas Nelson (a Christian publishing house), unceremoniously drop him like a toilet seat and pull the books from the shelves. Adding to this humiliation, can you guess who's picking this "toilet seat" up? None other than Glenn Beck, who has signaled that he'll be publishing the ironically titled Jefferson Lies through his own gutter press conveyor-belt, Mercury Ink.
The latest big MRFF win was the exposure of a disgusting abuse of rank by the 2-Star Adjutant General of Indiana's National Guard, Gen. R. Martin Umbarger. In what can only be described as a treacherous act of open defiance towards his oath to support and defend the United States Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, Umbarger flouted all conventions of military professionalism and appeared IN UNIFORM (!) in a promotional video for Centurion's Watch, a clearly sectarian and evangelical fundamentalist organization. Umbarger's uniformed endorsement is a clear violation of not only our Constitution, but also the crystal-clear directives, instructions, and regulations laid out by the Department of Defense. We have forthrightly called on the highest echelons of civil-military leadership to not only force Umbarger to cease and desist, but also to try this rogue General via court-martial, and punish him under the auspices of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
We at MRFF are also extremely proud to announce that the wonderful Sheila Musaji, editor of The American Muslim, is joining our esteemed and prestigious Advisory Board. Ms. Musaji has a great track record and is a firm believer in interfaith dialogue and understanding, having served on the Missouri U.S. Attorneys’ Hate Crimes Task Force and participated in the Parliament for the World’s Religions. Ms. Musaji also brings to MRFF the highest-caliber level of awareness regarding American Muslim issues, offering important assets to our foundation's unflagging fight on behalf of the persecuted practitioners of the Islamic faith within our U.S. Military. As you can imagine, and as we have assiduously documented, Muslims suffer some of the worst torment within our armed services. Indeed, some of the most flagrant and glaring incidents of religious torment have fallen on the shoulders of these brave men and women whose only goal is to serve their American homeland. Sheila Musaji's wisdom will surely guide us as we continue to traverse the stormy waters of securing civil rights for all of our servicemen and servicewomen.
Our continued push for accountability and constitutional compliance is reliant not only on the efforts of myself and our foundation's staff and volunteers, but also your assistance as stalwarts of religious liberty, active supporters, and generous donors. As high as our morale is and will forever remain, MRFF requires "fuel in our tank" so that we can continue covering our significant operational costs, which include providing pro bono legal assistance and activating loud "sirens" through all available media platforms. We exist to ward off the dire threat of our enemies laying their hands, and itchy trigger fingers, on our military's implements of death. This nightmare must not be allowed to occur; your support is required now more than ever.
Your Eternal Ally,Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein
Founder & President
Military Religious Freedom Foundation