With Mikey Weinstein’s kind permission, I’m going to reprint an example of the kinds of letters and emails the Military Religious Freedom Foundation gets on a daily basis from active duty military personnel and their families. The details have been changed so as to maintain the anonymity of the person who wrote it but it is otherwise reproduced just as it came in. And bear in mind while you read this that MRFF has received more than 10,000 such communications.
Dear Mr. Weinstein and MRFF:
I am absolutely worried about writing this to you, as I am terrified of the (military service branch withheld), but feel I have no choice. My husband is an honorable man, who I believe has been persecuted in the United States (military service branch withheld) for his refusal to cave in to the Evangelical agenda.
He is a (rank withheld), waiting for his retirement, that he won as a part of his Court Martial proceeding in (time frame withheld). Mikey, I have never seen anything like this. My husband has a (educational degree and discipline withheld), taught at (university name withheld) where we often bucked the system regarding the proselytising and has had an honorable career (in the top 4% of rank withheld) in (military command name withheld) until a new command came in to (military installation name withheld) in (month and year withheld). Up until then he was considered to be an excellent candidate for (rank withheld) but we refused as he only wanted to retire and get away from the bible thumping.
This command is evangelical in nature-and they harassed me all the way through my husband’s court proceeding. When the new command came in, my husband (raised Catholic and an agnostic now) found himself under investigation for (infraction withheld) and then they finally dug until they found (minor infraction name withheld) that were present and could not be denied. My husband, scared for his pension and his family, plead guilty to some of the charges leveled against him. Ultimately, (husband’s name withheld) was given an honorable discharge and his pension.
Anyways, this commander of his called me often, telling me that “if you accept Jesus Christ as your savior, then things will go better for (husband’s name withheld).” He went to the brig yes-the judge sent a (rank withheld) to the brig for 45 days)and then asked to pray over my husband, telling him if he just confessed his “sins” to “Jesus Christ” then he would find things getting better for him. Of course (husband’s name withheld) gave his commander permission to pray over him as he was terrified to say no-because we believe all of this stemmed from my husband’s stance on the illegality of evangelical proselytising in the (service branch name withheld).
So, now he was due to retire on (date withheld), but the (military branch name withheld) “cannot get his paperwork.” I complained about this pressure put on us several times to the JAG, who has done nothing to my knowledge on our behalf. I believe they are being passive aggressive with the retirement because I complained about the harassment from my husband’s commander who told me “call me even in the middle of the night, (wife’s name withheld). I will pray with you, anywhere anytime. Jesus is your Lord, and we all soldier forth in his service.”
I shudder to think of what they could do when they find out I wrote to you. I am a professional woman, an educated woman, and I know they could try to ruin me for speaking to you.
I am crying writing this. I am scared of these people, and I know that they will try to do something else. I was told by my husband’s commander that I should attend his church. I wonder if because we did not they are “punishing” my husband now by slow leaking his retirement. What does it mean “things will get better for your husband”?
I appreciate your time sir.
With best regards,
(name and location withheld)