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Christian Supremacy Bible Reference

Yesterday afternoon, several clients contacted the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), disturbed by the photo on the cover of the latest issue of At Ease magazine, which shows an exhibit at the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, near Fort Bragg. The exhibit, a traveling memorial created by the private organization Veterans & Athletes United (VAU), consists of a 28 foot wide by 6 foot tall American flag made out of approximately 7,000 dog tags of service members killed during the War on Terror, and a statue of what’s sometimes referred to as a “battlefield cross,” the makeshift memorial created for a fallen service member by their comrades, made by fallen service members rifle being stuck into their boots and their helmet placed on to.

The exhibit was on temporary display at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum from January to March, and will be returning there later this month.

Such an exhibit would of course be perfectly appropriate to display in an official U.S. military museum, but this exhibit was “Christianized” by adding a prominent sign to the “battlefield cross” statue with the biblical citation “John 15:13"

Such an exhibit would of course be perfectly appropriate to display in an official U.S. military museum, but this exhibit was “Christianized” by adding a prominent sign to the “battlefield cross” statue with the biblical citation “John 15:13,” callously dishonoring all the non-Christian service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the War on Terror. This is neither appropriate nor legal nor constitutional in an official U.S military museum.

And, to make matters worse, the cover of the May issue of the military magazine At Ease, sold at military base exchanges, commissaries, and shoppettes, not only showcases the exhibit’s “John 15:13” sign on military shopping facility magazine racks, but spells out the whole verse in bright yellow letters: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” — John 15:13 (NKJV)

But this morning, within two hours of MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein’s first contact with the Executive Director of the U.S. Army Center of Military History, the problem was taken care of. When the traveling memorial returns to the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum later this month it will NOT be adorned with the “John 15:13,” Bible citation sign.

And, further, the Executive Director of the U.S. Army Center of Military History, who immediately grasped this obvious constitutional issue, is recommending that the publisher of At Ease magazine retract the May issue, and will be communicating with Army Museum Enterprise (AME) staff about “how to address religious content in displays in a legal and equitable manner.”

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The following excerpt from one of Mikey Weinstein’s emails to the Executive Director of the U.S. Army Center of Military History clearly explained the obvious issue:

“…while MRFF TOTALLY agrees with and honors the well known, hallowed shrine and memorial to fallen U.S. combat casualties, the posting of that clearly sectarian, in-your-face, New Testament biblical reference from the Book of John placed at the very front and center of it is just SO wrong and violates inter alia the No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, its construing Federal caselaw, a bevy of DoD Directives, Instructions and Regulations, the UCMJ and the Core Values of the various military branches!!…

…..sir, please just imagine if a passage of the Koran or the Book of Satan or Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion” (all of which are as equally protected under American law as the Christian New Testament is) had been specifically and boldly referenced and displayed in the same clearly vivid manner as that John 15:13 reference!!…

…...and then to have it be THE COVER of “At Ease” magazine which is now all over the world??!!……wrong and illegal!!!

…...please expedite the removal the biblical reference immediately and we’ll be just fine moving forward, Charles…

…not everyone in the U.S. military is a devout Christian…although many of them are among MRFF’s complainants on this matter to their credit!!…”

And the Executive Director, U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH) quickly agreed, responding:

Mikey,

Chris Rodda Promo Image

In the coming days, we will be communicating with the entire AME staff about how to address religious content in displays in a legal and equitable manner. We are also communicating with TRADOC [U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command] regarding the recommendation that the publisher retract the issue of At Ease with the image on the cover. While CMH cannot direct that retraction, we are communicating with the people who can make that decision.

Sincerely,

(name withheld)
Executive Director, U.S. Army Center of Military History

Chris Rodda