Those serving our country at Mountain Home Air Force Base near Boise, Idaho were shown the power of "freedom" as administered by an atheist group this week. In this case it was a demonstration of the power of a few atheists. And it was freedom "from" religion, not exactly what our Founders had in mind.
Our Air Force men and women based there are often and regularly deployed to all parts of the world to defend our country and freedom.
However, sometimes the enemy within is the most destructive. And in this case it struck with lightening speed.
The anti-religion "Military Religious Freedom Foundation" (MRFF), who have called for the court martial of military personal for "proselytizing"---meaning sharing one's faith in Jesus Christ, have now made a demand on Mountain Home Air Force Base.
There is, well I should say "was," a painting in the Wagon Wheel dining room at the base that shows a modern day police officer standing in front of a medieval knight holding a flag that morphs from a medieval coat of arms to a flag of the United States of America.
The word "Integrity" is stenciled over the image and there is a reference to Matthew 5:9 which says, "Blessed are the peace makers for they will be called children of God."
The painting is now gone.
And the "Military Religious Freedom Foundation" is bragging, not about the fact that they got rid of the inspirational painting, but that they did so in less than 60 minutes.
Mikey Weinstein, president of MRFF, put out a press release boasting that he had called the Pentagon demanding the painting be removed and within the hour it was gone.
The far left Huffington Post ran this headline: "The Pentagon Most Certainly Is Listening To Mikey Weinstein."
Senior research director for the "Military Religious Freedom Foundation" (MRFF) and author of the book, "Liars For Jesus," Chris Rodda wrote in the Huff Post, "By the time Mike talked to the Wing Commander at the base a few minutes later, the Wing Commander had already been contacted by the Pentagon. Forty six minutes after his call to the Pentagon the image of the Crusader flag, with its odious melding of the Crusader flag with that of the American flag had been removed from the dining hall."
Members of Congress have written a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressing concerns about free religious expression.
At this moment, the Congressmen have not received a response.
Phillip Davis, a spokesperson for the Mountain Home Base, confirmed the painting was gone.
Davis told CNS News, "The commander was made aware of complaints about the picture in the morning and it was taken down in religious neutrality accordance."
Davis said the picture had never been a controversy in the past.
Rodda wrote in the Huff Post that Weinstein was acting on behalf of service members---most of whom she said are Christians.
She wrote, "This morning the MRFF was contacted by a non commissioned officer (NCO) from the Air Force Base who was acting as the spokesman for a group of twenty-two airman who wanted this repugnant piece of art work removed. Were these airman a bunch of militant atheists who seek to rid the military of all vestiges of religion? Well, no. Seventeen of the twenty-two are Christian, both Catholic and Protestant."
My concern is not the painting, but the pattern of assaulting the military on issues of religious freedom and the arrogance of the atheist group---and the access they have to the Pentagon.
And the hostile, anti-Christian environment that is being created by Mikey Weinstein and his atheist organization.
Back on May 13, 72 members of Congress sent a letter to Hagel expressing concern about a PowerPoint presentation the military was using for "equal opportunity" training. I wrote a blog about it.
The Congressmen pointed out that the presentation included "evangelical Christians, Catholics, Mormons, Sunni Muslims, and some Jews on a list of religious extremist groups like Al Qaeda and Hamas."
They also noted to Hagel that the Bibles had been removed from Walter Reed Army Hospital.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) has also been expressing concern about the pattern. He says, "Congress deliberately included religious freedom protections in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to address the pattern of hostilities and to protect the constitutionally guaranteed right of religious freedom for our service members and chaplains."
Lamborn has particularly expressed concern about President Obama's response to this assault on religious freedom.
When the President signed the NDAA into law, why did he particularly address this issue? He said the conscience protections were "unnecessary and ill-advised."
Why is further protection of our freedom of religious expression and matters of conscience "unnecessary or ill advised?"
Lamborn says, "This, coupled with the recent events, raises concerns that the military is developing a culture that is hostile to religion."
These further concerns have, again, been expressed to the Department of Defense. Those who expressed concern are waiting for a response from the Defense Department.
Our Founding Fathers made it abundantly clear that our freedoms come from God and that they can only be sustained by the practice of godly virtue, values and valor.
President Abraham Lincoln said our greatest vulnerabilities are not to a distant enemy, but from within.
The influence of Marcus Tullius Cicero, a lawyer, orator and politician during the final days of the Roman Empire cannot be overstated. After the death of Julius Caesar, he found himself in a power struggle and ultimately the enemy of Mark Anthony. After writing a number of articles advocating for a return to traditional republican government, he was deemed an enemy of the state and murdered.
This observation, made by Cicero as Rome collapsed, is one Americans should take to heart:
"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”
Every enemy does not present himself as such. There is a growing pattern in our culture of lawlessness, fiscal irresponsibility, corruption and a defiance of God, who gave us our freedoms. This pattern, in the end, can destroy the greatest nation that has ever existed in the history of the world.
However, the God who gave us those freedoms, can also restore our nation.
Be Prayerful. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Active. Be Blessed.