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Gates Secretary of Defense 1000 Defense Pentagon Washington, DC 20301-1000 Dear Secretary Gates,
April 19, 2010
On behalf of a courageous community of United States military personnel and DoD employees of the Muslim faith at the Pentagon who have contacted the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) for help regarding the choice of Franklin Graham as the speaker for the Pentagon's May 6, 2010 National Day of Prayer event, MRFF hereby demands, for the reasons explained below, that the Pentagon Chaplains O ce immediately rescind its invitation to Mr. Graham and choose a more appropriate and inclusive speaker for this high pro le event. (See attached request for MRFF assistance.) You may recall the outrage of the Muslim community, as well as members of other religious faiths, when Mr. Graham was invited to speak at the Pentagon in 2003 -- outrage prompted particularly by Mr. Graham's statements following the attacks of 9/11 in which he called the whole of the religion of Islam "evil" and "wicked." Mr. Graham has never retracted or apologized for these statements, and, in fact, was still defending them as recently as December 2009 in an appearance on CNN. MRFF also strongly objects in the most fervent magnitude to the Constitutionally noxious a liation of the Pentagon's National Day of Prayer event with the National Day of Prayer Task Force (NDPTF). is illegal a liation violates the Joint Ethics Regulation (DoD 5500.7-R) regarding the strictly prohibited endorsement of a non-federal entity (Section 3-209), and DoD Instruction 5410.19, which, likewise, prohibits the providing of a selective bene t or preferential treatment to any organization (Sections 6.7.1 and 6.7.2). By making it a regular practice to have the NDPTF's honorary chairman, who this year is Franklin Graham, as the designated keynote speaker for the Pentagon's event, and by using the promotional materials supplied by the NDPTF, the Pentagon Chaplains O ce has clearly turned the Pentagon's event into an o cial NDPTF event. No other interpretation is reasonable, rational, or possible. ere is, of course, no issue with the Pentagon Chaplains O ce hosting an NDP event. e outrageous issue, in the instant matter, is the Pentagon's hosting of an event a liated with the NDPTF, a private organization headed by Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson. e NDPTF has become the de facto "o cial" sponsor of the National Day of Prayer, and, by its comprehensively exclusive restrictions and blatantly sectarian requirements, has made all NDPTF a liated events exclusively fundamentalist Christian in scope, message, and nature. To begin with, all NDPTF volunteers must subscribe to the following "Statement of Belief," a statement which universally excludes not only all non-Christians and non-religious, but, in point of fact, even many Christians themselves. "I believe that the Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of e Living God. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only One by which I can obtain salvation and have an ongoing relationship with God. I believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, his virgin birth, his sinless life, his miracles, the atoning work of his shed blood, his resurrection and ascension, his intercession and his coming return to power and glory. I believe that those who follow Jesus are family and there should be unity among all who claim his name."
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But even more incontrovertibly, NDPTF event coordinators must agree, by subscribing to the following statement, to restrict any participation beyond simply attending an event to Christians and only Christians. "I commit that NDP activities I serve with will be conducted solely by Christians while those with di ering beliefs are welcome to attend." e NDPTF also has an "O cial Policy Statement on Participation of 'Non-Judeo-Christian' groups in the National Day of Prayer," which states: " e National Day of Prayer Task Force was a creation of the National Prayer Committee for the expressed purpose of organizing and promoting prayer observances conforming to a Judeo-Christian system of values. People with other theological and philosophical views are, of course, free to organize and participate in activities that are consistent with their own beliefs." While the NDPTF, of course, has every right, as a private organization, to organize exclusively Christian events and to prohibit the participation of non-Christians, the Pentagon Chaplains O ce absolutely cannot endorse or provide a selective bene t to this non-federal entity by shamefully, disgracefully, and unconstitutionally a liating the Pentagon NDP event with it. Given the heinously hurtful, bigoted, and very public continual statements of Mr. Graham against the entirety of the religion of Islam, and his position as honorary chairman of the NDPTF, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation hereby demands that the Pentagon Chaplains O ce immediately rescind its invitation to Mr. Graham, permanently distance itself from the NDPTF, and simply do the right thing; to wit, make the Pentagon NDP event inclusive of all honorable and noble United States military personnel and DoD employees, regardless of religious beliefs, who wish to participate.
Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, Esq. Founder & President Military Religious Freedom Foundation www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org Enclosure CC: President Barack Obama John M. McHugh – Secretary of the Army Ray Mabus – Secretary of the Navy Michael B. Donley – Secretary of the Air Force Admiral Michael Mullen - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Sta General James E. Cartwright - Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Sta General George W. Casey, Jr. - Chief of Sta of the United States Army Admiral Gary Roughead - Chief of Naval Operations General Norton A. Schwartz - Chief of Sta of the United States Air Force General James T. Conway - Commandant of the Marine Corps
From: e-mail address withheld Date: April 16, 2010 To: Mikey Weinstein <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Divisive Minister to Speak at Pentagon Prayer Service on May 6 Dear Mr. Weinstein, We request the assistance of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation with a matter that concerns all Americans. As Muslim members of the U.S. military and the Pentagon worship community, we are dumbfounded that the Pentagon Chaplain’s O ce has invited Mr. Franklin Graham to be the guest speaker at the National Day of Prayer at the Pentagon on May 6, 2010. Seven years ago, the Pentagon Chaplain’s O ce invited Mr. Graham to speak at the Pentagon, dismissing the concerns of the Pentagon Muslim worship community, as well as those of the Muslim community at large. At that time, the Pentagon chaplain claimed a lack of knowledge of Mr. Graham’s opinions on Islam and Muslims. e current Pentagon chaplain made the same claim and dismissed our concerns by stating that Mr. Graham’s comments are old news anyway. at anyone serving in the Pentagon now could claim a lack of knowledge of Mr. Graham’s very public, negative comments about Islam and Muslims stretches the limits of credulity. Mr. Graham never retracted his previous bigoted statements ("We're not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. e God of Islam is not the same God. He's not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It's a di erent God, and I believe it [Islam] is a very evil and wicked religion."). And, as recently as December 2009, in a CNN interview with Campbell Brown, Mr. Graham reiterated his negative views of Islam and Muslims by stating, “But there are millions of wonderful Muslim people. And I love them. I have friends that are Muslims and I work in those countries. But I don't agree with the teachings of Islam and I nd it to be a very violent religion.” We have attached an excerpt of the interview transcript, as well as a link of the video, for your information because it contains even more troubling statements by Graham. e bigoted viewpoints repeatedly expressed by Mr. Graham, without retraction or apology, contradict not only Department of Defense policy but also our overall national policy, as articulated by President Obama. Once again, we hope and pray that the Pentagon Chaplain’s O ce will reconsider its invitation to Mr. Graham and instead invite more inclusive and honorable clergy persons to speak at the Pentagon. Respectfully, Members of the Pentagon Muslim Community Enclosures, CNN Campbell Brown Transcript 12-10-09 http://us.cnn.com/video/?/video/besto v/2009/12/11/cb.rev.franklin.cnn
President Obama's War Doctrine; American Terrorists in Pakistan? Aired December 10, 2009 - 20:00 ET THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROWN: Earlier today, I spoke with one of the world's most influential evangelists and he is tonight's intriguing person, the Reverend Franklin Graham. I asked him about the president's comments. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BROWN: You have a son who is serving in Afghanistan? FRANKLIN GRAHAM, PRESIDENT, SAMARITAN'S PURSE: Yes. BROWN: He's on his fourth deployment? GRAHAM: Fourth deployment. BROWN: So in the context of that, in your personal experience with this war, tell me what you thought of the president's speech today. GRAHAM: Well, first of all, I support the president and his decision to send an additional 30,000 troops. I felt sorry for the president in some ways accepting the Nobel Peace Prize but having to defend the war in Afghanistan which I believe is the right decision. So I certainly support it, the president in his decision and what he had to say today in his speech. So I was very, very proud of him. BROWN: Do you see the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq for that matter, do you see these as religious wars in any way? GRAHAM: We in this country do not look at it that way. They do, however, Al Qaeda, and the people that support them, the Taliban. It is a religious war with them. And they see all Americans, they see this is a Christian nation. And it is a religious war for them, but, of course, not for us. We don't see it that way. BROWN: You got a lot of flak after 9/11 because you said that Islam in your view was an evil and a wicked religion. You heard the opposite from President Obama today... GRAHAM: Yes. BROWN: ... in his speech. What did you think of that in particular? GRAHAM: Well, first of all -BROWN: Was that a mistake for him to say that?
GRAHAM: Well, the president is the president and he has to be the president of all people, of the whole nation. And we have many Muslims that live in this country. But true Islam cannot be practiced in this country. You can't beat your wife. You cannot murder your children if you think they've committed adultery or something like that, which they do practice in these other countries. BROWN: And that's true Islam to you? Because what the president said today was Islam is a great religion. GRAHAM: You have to look, first of all, I agreed with the president on what he had to say as far as our nation at war. But as it relates to Islam, if you want to study Islam, look at Saudi Arabia. Is this a country of tolerance? Is this a -BROWN: But can that just be one interpretation or no? GRAHAM: Well, the whole nation is not an interpretation, but if you want to look at Afghanistan, you want to look at Iraq, what they're doing to each other is just brutal. But, listen, Islam, I love the people of Islam. And I work in Muslim countries all over the world. But when you see countries that where they live under Sharia law, Islamic law, where that is the law of the land, Campbell, trust me girl, you don't want to live there. BROWN: But is that all Islam means to you because there's certainly many people who, you know, define themselves as Muslim who don't practice in those extremes? GRAHAM: That's right, Campbell, and they would like to get out of Islam. But they cannot because -BROWN: I don't think that's true. Do you think they all want to be -GRAHAM: No, no. I said many of them would like to get out, but you cannot change from Islam. If you're a Muslim and you change your religion, you can be killed. Your family can kill you. They can warn you but if you don't come back, they can take your life. And that is the threat that many of these people live under Islam. I've been working in some countries for 50 years, Campbell. And what they do to where I work in the southern Sudan where they tried to annihilate the Christians in the south, just murdered two million of them. All of this has taken place and all of it was done under the name of Islam. But there are millions of wonderful Muslim people. And I love them. I have friends that are Muslims and I work in those countries. But I don't agree with the teachings of Islam and I find it to be a very violent religion. BROWN: Let me shift gears and ask you about domestic politics. Sarah Palin, you recently helped arrange a dinner between your father, the Reverend Billy Graham, and Sarah Palin. How did that go? What did they talk about? GRAHAM: You know, she's -- Campbell, she's a very nice person. I got to know her in Alaska. I have a home up there and I was there last year in the winter. And there was a food shortage out on the Yukon and I called the governor's office to see if we could help because we have cargo planes in Alaska. When the book tour started taking shape, I realized that she was going to be very close to his home and so she came by to see him. BROWN: Would you support her if she ran for president?
GRAHAM: Oh, I don't know. She's a nice lady and she's a sharp lady. Campbell, we got a long way to go. I don't think she's going to run. BROWN: Before I let you go, let me talk to you about something you've been doing for 13 years, is that right? GRAHAM: Thirteen years, yes. BROWN: Operation Christmas Child project. Explain to us what it is. GRAHAM: Campbell, we ask people to take an empty shoebox, fill it with items for a child. This particular box is for a girl, and it's got a doll. It's got thing things for her hair. It's got toys, it's got candy, school supplies. BROWN: And you take these all over the world. GRAHAM: A hundred and five countries this year, 8.3 million of these boxes have been put together. We ask everybody put your picture in here, put your address in here. I want the kid who gets the box to see who gave it. But more importantly, I ask people to pray. Pray not for the box, but pray for the child who's going to get the box. And we know God will hear the prayer of one righteous person. Can you imagine eight million people praying to God for eight million children that God just might hear those prayers and do something in a wonderful way for these children? It's called Operation Christmas Child. There's more children out there than we have gifts for. BROWN: Reverend Franklin Graham, it's very good to see you. Thanks so much for joining us. GRAHAM: Thank you, Campbell. (END VIDEOTAPE) BROWN: "LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a few moments. But next, the couple who made headlines when they got past the Secret Service at the White House. Tonight, they have a new claim to fame. The story in our "Political Daily Brief." (COMMERCIAL BREAK) BROWN: When a pair of reality show wannabes crashed the White House state dinner last month, they not only made headlines, they gave us a new verb. Erica Hill is here with that and more serious news from Washington in tonight's "Political Daily Briefing." ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's just the gift that keeps on giving. And this is holiday season. Let's do better. First, though, let's do some more serious stuff, a little about face from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, signaling today she may consider a health care bill that does not include a public option. A move that will eliminate a major sticking point. Now the Senate's latest proposal replaces the public option with new nonprofit plans. It would also make Medicare available to some workers over 55. So dropping that a bit. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll finds Americans are divided over whether the country
would be better off with either Democrats or Republicans in charge. With midterm elections on the horizon, 40 percent of those polled say Democrats should run Congress. But as you see there, 39 percent want Republicans in charge, which really is a tie. Let's be honest. And finally, as you gear up for the season's holiday parties, make sure you double check the invite unless you plan to "Salahid" a particular dash. That's right. BROWN: Are you kidding? HILL: No, I'm not. Until now, it was really just the last name of a couple that we all know a little too much about, notorious for crashing the state dinner last month. But now, according to the uber hip urban dictionary.com, it's a verb. "Salahi," "Salahid," just sneak into a soiree uninvited is the meaning. And there you have it. BROWN: Who knew? It was inevitable. HILL: It was. BROWN: Erica Hill -- Erica, thanks. Appreciate it. That is it for us. Thanks for joining us, everybody. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.
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