A New Book Documents Hate Mail Sent by Christians to Military-Focused Church/State Separation Group

If you live in Los Angeles, keep an eye out for this mobile billboard around town beginning today:

That provocative billboard is part of an advertising campaign for a forthcoming book by Bonnie Weinstein, co-founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, called To the Far Right Christian Hater… You Can Be a Good Speller or a Hater, But You Can’t Be Both (Rare Bird Books, 2014). (The generous subtitle is: Official Hate Mail, Threats, and Criticism from the Archives of the Six-Time Nobel Peace Prize-Nominated Military Religious Freedom Foundation.)

It’s a compilation of hate mail that has been directed at the group and the author’s husband Mikey Weinstein over the years.

In the excerpt below, Bonnie documents the kinds of letters MRFF receives and how they affect her personally:

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Fox News Guest: Jason Heap, the Humanist Suing the Military, Just Wants to Bring Down the Chaplaincy

A few days ago, Jason Heap filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense for rejecting his application despite his stellar credentials.

Fox News chatted about the lawsuit yesterday morning — and who better to bring in to discuss it than Jason Heap Father Jonathan Morris, the conservative Catholic who opposes church/state separation?



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Humanist Chaplain Jason Heap Files Federal Lawsuit Against U.S. Navy After They Reject His Application

Jason Heap (below) wanted to become a chaplain in the U.S. Navy. He’s perfectly qualified for the position, too: He earned two master’s degrees (including one in divinity), passed his physicals, and completed the paperwork… but what he doesn’t have is the endorsement of a religious organization that’s currently approved by the Navy.

That’s because Heap endorsement comes from the Humanist Society.

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Navy Approves First-of-Its-Kind Atheist Lay Leader

There are currently no Humanist chaplains in the military (despite there being plenty of atheists in foxholes). The lack of someone in that position also means that non-religious soldiers who want someone to talk to during stressful times have to meet with someone who doesn’t share their worldview — or, if they meet with a military psychiatrist, risk their personal information coming back to haunt them in the future, in a way that a confidential conversation with a chaplain would not.

For that reason (and so many others), groups like the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers have been trying to get the military to approve a non-theistic chaplain… to no avail. Most recently, this past summer, Jason Heap‘s candidacy was rejected by the Navy.



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Why Are Atheists in the Military Still Denied This Valuable Resource?

It wasn’t until this past April when the U.S. military finally approved “Humanist” as an acceptable religious designation. But despite the number of non-religious members of the Armed Forces — a number that more-than-defies the canard of there being “no atheists in foxholes” — we have yet to see a single Humanist chaplain.

The Navy even rejected a highly-qualified Humanist applicant in May.

Ronit Y. Stahl, writing for Religion & Politics, has a fascinating history of the fight to get non-Christian chaplains in the military, specifically non-theistic ones:

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