KANEOHE, Hawaii — A group the seeks to separate God from the military is demanding that additional boards be created and erected near a sign that asks God’s blessing on the Armed Forces after a Marine Corps base in Hawaii refused to relocate or remove the display.
As previously reported, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) sent an email last month to Col. Sean Killeen, the commanding officer of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, to take issue with a sign near the marina that reads, “God bless the military, their families, and the civilians who work with them.” It was reportedly erected following the September 11th attack of 2001.
Blake Page of MRFF asserted that the sign is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” He demanded that the sign either be moved to the chapel or removed altogether.
“This sign is a brazen violation of the No Establishment clause of the Constitution, as it sends the clear message that your installation gives preference to those who hold religious beliefs over those who do not, and those who prefer a monotheistic, intervening God over other deities or theologies,” Blake wrote in the email to Killeen.
After deliberating the matter, Killeen sent a reply to MRFF refusing to relocate or remove the sign.
“Several Supreme Court court cases and other federal cases, to include the 9th Circuit, support the conclusion that the message on the sign does not violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” he wrote. “‘God bless’ is commonly used in our culture in a number of contexts and there are numerous references to God in this nation’s symbols, songs, mottos and oaths.”
In response, MRFF is demanding that nine other signs be erected next to the existing board, reflecting various other religions from around the world. It says that it had already suggested six previously and was adding another three.
“On behalf of MRFF’s Church of Satan clients under your command, our clients demand the immediate right to build and display the religious message board appearing in the pictures below which starts with the words ‘Satan Bless,'” wrote President Mikey Weinstein.
He also requested a “All-Glorious Bahá Bless” and “May the Force Be with [Our Military]” sign. Previous board requested included “Allah bless,” “Odin bless” and “Vishnu bless.” Weinstein had additionally asked for a board that reads, “There is no God to bless [our military] … We have each other.”
“Colonel, please reply to this demand of MRFF’s Church of Satan, Bahá’í Faith and Jedi Church U.S. Marine clients who are under your direct command at MCB Hawaii at your earliest opportunity, sir,” he wrote in Monday’s correspondence.
It is not known whether Killeen plans to respond to the demand.