The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRRF), whose business is to stop Christian members of the military in particular from freely exercising and sharing their faith, have managed to get several military chaplain videos offering prayers during the coronavirus pandemic removed from Facebook. MRRF called the videos — which no one was required to view – “illicit proselytizing” for Christianity.
Four videos featuring chaplains Cpt. Amy Smith and Maj. Scott Ingram published the Facebook page of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade at Fort Drum, N.Y., were taken down after MRFF president Mikey Weinstein sent a demand letter claiming they violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
“These videos belong only on a chapel page, not on a base’s or unit’s main page,” MRFF senior research director Chris Rodda wrote in the Daily Kos, adding the group “has been seeing an uptick in a particular type of complaint — overt proselyting videos on official military Facebook pages.”
The “violations” include Smith talking about the Fort Drum Spiritual Fitness Trail in a video posted April 17, saying, “You are invited to pray, to pray for the family, to pray for the sick, and to pray for our leaders.” In another video, Smith invites people to visit the Fort Drum Labyrinth as a great place to hear God’s voice.
Talking about the coronavirus pandemic on April 2, Ingram said, “God encourages us not to be dismayed by what we see around us, things we cannot control. We can, however, with the best intel in this moment, place our trust in him, walk forward in his strength, and treat others with kindness.”
Mike Berry, a lawyer for the First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit that tries to safeguard religious freedom, questioned why MRFF is focused on this issue.
“At a time when our nation is hurting and many feel hopeless, why on earth would Mikey Weinstein attack prayer?” Berry asked Fox News.