Jun 12 2012

MRFF Victory! Official U.S. Military Emblems No Longer Allowed on Holman Military Bibles

Holman Bible Publishers, a subsidiary of LifeWay, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, will no longer be allowed to use the official U.S. armed forces branch emblems on their military Bibles.

Over the past few years, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has probably received more complaints about these Bibles, which are displayed and sold in all the base exchanges and other stores on military bases, than any other single issue.

Here are a few photos of these Bibles, which, up until now, have sported the branch emblems of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines on both the boxes they come in and on the Bibles themselves.



In addition to the constitutional issue of allowing the use of official U.S. military emblems on any Bible, these Holman military Bibles also contain a lengthy section of essays and other information promoting the Officers’ Christian Fellowship (OCF), an organization of about 15,000 military officers who think the real duty of a military officer is to raise up “a spiritually transformed military, with ambassadors for Christ in uniform, empowered by the Holy Spirit.” This is the organization that has produced such fine Christian officers as Air Force Major Jonathan C. Dowty, a.k.a. the Christian Fighter Pilot, who became a member of the OCF while at the Air Force Academy and later went on to be an OCF team leader at Edwards Air Force Base.

The Bibles also contain a bogus quote from George Washington, created by taking a paragraph of Washington’s 1783 circular letter to the governors of the states at the end of the Revolutionary War and altering it to turn into a prayer in the name of Jesus Christ.

Here’s the press release from MRFF about our win in getting all four branches of the military to revoke their permission allowing LifeWay to use the branch emblems on their Holman Bibles.


MRFF Pressure Halts “Military Bible” Authorization by All Four Military Branches

In clear violation of the U.S. Constitution,
USMC, Air Force, Army, Navy insignia were used
to promote Southern Baptist Convention Bible

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Following efforts by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), all four branches of the U.S. Military have revoked their approval of the Military series of Holman Christian Standard Bibles (HCSB). The Holman Bible is a modern English, Baptist translation that was completed in 2004 and is published by LifeWay Christian Resources’ Holman Bible Publishers, a subsidiary of the Evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist Bible Convention. These editions were prominently emblazoned with exact replicas of the trademarked emblems of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.

MRFF is a civil rights organization representing over 28,000 members of the armed services and veterans (96% of whom are Christian). As of June, 2011, MRFF had been contacted by nearly 2,000 servicemembers who witnessed the Bibles being conspicuously featured on military Exchange shelves and storefronts across the globe. This raised fears among military personnel that, in the words of an anonymous U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate, it was “a big step towards establishing the Holman Christian Standard Bible as the official religious text of the military services of the United States.”


The dangerous nature of an official endorsement of Bibles by the U.S. Military is made clear by the fact that the Holman translation does not include those texts purged from the Bible during the Protestant Reformation which are still included in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox editions of the Holy Bible.

Entitled “The Soldier’s Bible,” “Sailor’s Bible,” “Marine’s Bible,” and “Airman’s Bible,” respectively, the HSBC Bibles contained material merging Evangelical symbolism and theology with national and military iconography and anthems. Each HCSB Military Bible also contained “quotations, prayers, and inspiration” from figures ranging from George Washington and President George W. Bush to various historical figures from each of the respective branches of the U.S. Armed Services.


Following a request filed by MRFF’s outside legal counsel under the Freedom of Information Act, the foundation discovered that the U.S. Military had given authorization to LifeWay allowing for reproduction of the emblems, an action that stood in direct violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Upon investigation, each branch of the military responded in succession with the notification that permission to use each branch’s imagery had been revoked.

“Once again our foundation has decisively beaten back those who would see the wall separating church and state reduced to rubble,” said Mikey Weinstein, President and Founder of MRFF. “The very fact that the Pentagon — or ‘Pentacostal-gon’ — had allowed for the insignias of the Navy, Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force to be used for such a clearly Evangelical fundamentalist agenda should sicken anyone with any inkling of respect for the ‘sacred’ principle of religious freedom as enshrined by the foundational documents of our nation, namely the U.S. Constitution.”


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  1. 1

    And now for the press releases from WND, Fox News, et al.

    “MRFF Forbids Airmen from Carrying Their Own Bibles”

  2. 2

    I wonder what would have happened if the military had gone the other way – Airman’s Kama Sutra, anybody? Would probably sell better than the Bible, though I believe it’s not as interesting as it’s supposed to be. *wanders off to check whether the local library carries the Kama Sutra*

  3. 3

    Ooh! Let the outrage begin! There will be some lovely rhetoric from the right over this – could we archive it here, Chris?

  4. 4
    Gregory in Seattle

    @coragyps #3 – Word of the day: Poutrage noun
    Related: to be poutraged

    1: The combination of emotion and behavior that results from feigned outrage over a perceived slight or injustice, or over being caught doing something known to be wrong.

    Ex: American theocrats were poutraged when told that they could no longer print and distribute Bibles embossed with official military emblems.

  5. 5
    RW Ahrens

    Interesting that each service just happened to have withdrawn permission for their emblems to be used by these folks for “unrelated reasons”, shortly before receiving the MRFF’s letter.

    What a happy coincidence!

  6. 6
    Pierce R. Butler

    Excerpts from an email signed by “Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, PhD” -

    Pentagon Bans Bibles from Military Exchange Stores. Guess who’s to blame? …

    The Christian Post reports: “An atheist activist group is claiming a victory in its ongoing effort to keep religious expression and symbols out of the U.S. armed services after it was announced that the Department of Defense is removing military edition Bibles from its exchange stores. …

    The [Militant Religion Foes] Foundation (MRFF) …

    Dr. Chaps’ comment: So our troops can’t buy Bibles? You may remember Mikey as the self-described enemy of Jesus Christ who also sued me (and lost bigtime) because I prayed Psalm 109 to God, just like Mikey’s apparently now lost 5 lawsuits in a row against Christians or Christianity.

    Mikey once said of his own agenda: “We are at war with a sub-set of evangelical Christianity…how many? Roughly 12.6% of the American public or 38 million people.”

    Sadly now the Pentagon and cowardly leaders of Base Exchange Stores caved-in to the domestic enemies of the Constitution and religious freedom, including Mikey who hates Bibles and the First Amendment freedom of the press.

    Good News: Bishops representing 2,000+ chaplains are fighting back, demanding a Congressional investigation of Mikey’s anti-Christian persecution.

    and “Dr.” K throws in some free bonus homophobic whining:

    President Obama trampled on Louisiana state law, and desecrated the Christian chapel on a military post at Fort Polk, Louisiana, by authorizing the first homose xual ‘wedding’ ceremony by a lesbian couple in a military chapel. Flaunting his federal power over Louisiana (whose law clearly defines Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman), and ignoring the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, Obama’s Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson issued a memo this year forcing all military chapels in all 50 states to be open for ‘gay’ weddings.

    Now we learn that three weeks ago, a lesbian couple was secretly ‘married’ upon, and desecrated the Christian altar in the base chapel with sod omy, marking the first reported homosexual wedding in a military chapel ever. A pro-homose xual chaplain presided at the ‘marriage-like religious ceremony’ of two lesbian soldiers, but did not issue a license, making the union illegal in the eyes of both Lousiana law, and the laws of Almighty God. …

    I can’t help but wonder if the myst erious spa ces in the middle of certain words are intended to bypass the filters with which some Christian Patriots protect their Families™ from homosexual sodomy the 21st century.

  7. 7

    Now we learn that three weeks ago, a lesbian couple was secretly ‘married’ upon, and desecrated the Christian altar in the base chapel with sod omy

    Suddenly all the weddings I’ve ever been invited to feel boring.

  8. 8
    Michael Brew

    Saw one of those a couple hours ago at the chapel in Shank. Only one, though, so I assume they’re just letting their inventory run dry rather than tossing them.

  9. 9

    Get a complete set now! They will soon be collectors items.

  10. 10

    About damn time. I served in the 60′s and say what you will about that decade, but you never saw crap like that in a PX.

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