A message was sent late last month by Mikey Weinstein, president of the oddly-named Military Religious Freedom Foundation, that a large sign at the base proclaiming “God bless the military” should be removed.
Col. Sean C. Killeen let Weinstein know in no uncertain terms that it’s not going to happen. The sign remains.
“This sign will remain in its present location and not be altered in any way,” Killeen said in the letter, according to the Honolulu Star-Observer via Stars and Stripes.
He told Weinstein that “God bless” is commonly used in Western society and used on currency and symbols.
“This sign has the secular purpose of conveying a message of support, does not advance or inhibit religion or any particular faith, nor does it foster excessive government entanglement with religion.”
Killeen advised Weinstein that the sign was first erected 14 years ago in response to the 9/11 terror attack, to show support for all troops being deployed overseas, and it wasn’t going anywhere — not on his watch.
The sign under dispute says in full: “God bless the military, their families, and the civilians who work with them.”
The Star-Observer reported:
Killeen’s letter was in response to a Sept. 24 letter from MRFF that called the sign a “brazen violation” of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which prohibits government from promoting one religion over another, and asked for it to be moved to the chapel grounds or eliminated.
On Sept. 30, the group sent a second letter to Killeen offering a third alternative — that the base allow signs representing other gods to be erected next to the original one. Some suggestions offered were: “Yahweh Bless …,” “Allah Bless …,” “Goddess Bless …,” and “There is no god to bless … We have each other.”
Weinstein claims he represents 72 Marines on the base, including members of the Baha’i faith, the Jedi church and the Church of Satan.
He added that Killeen didn’t respond to the group’s request for additional signs to be erected.
“He hasn’t had the courage here to say, ‘I’m going to disallow the other signs of other faith groups,’” Weinstein said.
Others would probably say that standing up to a bully shows courage in spades.