MRFF Allies Target Troops’ Religious Freedoms — Out of Spite

It’s one thing to disagree with another person’s ideology.  It is quite another to participate in an event for the sole purpose of denying others access to that same support and religious liberty.

Advocates for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation recently bantered about attending a Strong Bonds marriage enrichment seminar not to strengthen their marriages, but solely to take surreptitious video of the illegal “indoctrination.”  It seems they are openly attempting to gather “physical evidence” for Michael Weinstein’s “war” on religious liberty in the US military:

According to his Facebook account that’s US Soldier Daron Williams telling Army spouse Katie Aerumnous to ‘record the prayer so you can file a complaint’ — about a voluntary event she would be choosing to attend — with the sole goal of denying future military couples that same opportunity.

To be clear, Strong Bonds is a chaplain-run program.  While the program is not entirely religious, a majority of Americans still associate some degree of religiosity with marriage, so it is ridiculous to think military chaplains wouldn’t include religion as part of such a program.  Strong Bonds has been widely attended and widely praised for the positive impact it has on military marriages and relationships.

Apparently, the MRFF doesn’t like it — because the chaplains may say something — gasp! — religious.

In case there are any questions, it is a voluntary program offered by the military.  No one is forced to attend — though Chris Rodda’s allegation of “coercion by cookie” seems to be in play:  Part of the MRFF critics’ complaint was that they wanted the expenses-paid weekend trip without the chaplain program that goes with it.

Most members of the military, even atheist ones, care not one whit what their fellow troops believe or do with those beliefs.  These allies of Michael Weinstein’s MRFF, however, not only care, they want to do what they can to stop it.  Note these Weinstein acolytes aren’t interested in organizing a “secular alternative” for themselves — they just want to stop what other troops and families are doing.  (When one person dared to suggest their own event, she was shouted down.) The sole purpose of this MRFF group — made up of active US military and family members — is to negatively impact the lives of the troops and families in their own units.

If they can’t get a religion-free weekend marriage seminar (provided by the chaplains, of course), then they’re apparently motivated to keep the “religious” from getting theirs.  Classy way to “support the troops,” ay?

The MRFF routinely accuses US troops (primarily Christians) of inappropriate conduct or mistreatment of their fellow servicemembers with different religious philosophies — though it rarely provides evidence, and when it does, the evidence is disputable.  Here you have a group of Weinstein followers openly planning essentially that very thing.

As asinine as this conversation is, it is a fight that will eventually happen.  Michael Weinstein has hitched his horse to the “homophobia” bandwagon. While the Defense of Marriage Act still stands (for now), these retreats are already generating complaints.  At some point, there will be a kerfuffle over Strong Bonds or some other military marriage seminar and a homosexual couple (an example of which has already happened) and the public relations war will begin anew.

Because these MRFF “religious freedom” advocates don’t think it would be right to let fellow troops exercise their religious freedom.  Is anyone really surprised?



  • Priscilla Parker

    There isn’t much of a fight to be had. Strong Bonds is based on a secular curriculum (PREP) which was developed by 3 professors at the University of Denver.

    Annex A specifically limits any ‘faith based activities and separates them from the authorized curriculum:

    “Supplemental faith based activities, if added, will be voluntary, announced in advance, and geared to audience preferences/beliefs.”

    As you said, this has been combed over thoroughly and I don’t see the military taking anything MRFF says seriously at this point, particularly in this area after MRFF and other’s publically attacked Maj. Gen. Umbarger back in August.

    That said, I don’t think that the book ‘Five Love Languages’ should be an approved text for the curriculum. Mr. Chapman is obviously qualified as an ‘expert’ on marriage counseling but his work isn’t scientifically based, PREP is.

  • @Priscilla Parker
    Well Priscilla, camouflaged courses designed to influence religious attitudes and advance one particular religious view over others in the armed forces may soon be a thing of the past.

    [Pasted press release deleted by Admin.]

    I think you and JD will have to admit that a man of this stature and distinguished career seeking to join forces with MRFF and Mikey Weinstein gives credence to MRFF’s mission and validates the long and difficult task of addressing the belligerent and unilateral Christian proselytizing that has existed in the military and the dark record of those who would control the lives of their young subordinates and even fellow officers.

    Col. Wilkerson is an alert and knowledgable individual, whose experiance, along with Mikey’s hard learned expertise, can provide invaluable sevice to our young men and women in the military.

    And, of course, Col. Wilkerson will be debunking a lot of the weak defense postures of certain nay-sayers who defend and support the unAmerican activities of misgided Christian proselytizers who have, to their shame, debased the US Constitution and recklessly violated their oaths of honor to uphold and support it.

    It is certain, at least, that that with the addition of Col. Wilkerson to MRFF’s dedicated professionial staff and legion of volunteers, those who have been able because of their rank and position, to often ruin careers, control lives and strike fear into the hearts of our young military members will now have even less lattitude to accomplish these vile things.

    To you, Priscilla and moreso to JD, I can safely say that Col. Wilkerson is going to make your jobs as defenders of the awful Dominion Christian movement in the armed forces a lot tougher.

    Without question we will see the dawn of a new era in which religious hegemony plays no further role in the Military and other facets of our secular civilization and remains serving the prescribed and important role it undertakes in the religious community.