Monday Evening, July 26, 2021
LIFE IMITATES ART

MRFF CLIENT & ACTIVE-DUTY ARMY COL. MD SHARES STORY WITH MRFF AD. BOARD MEMBER MIKE FARRELL OF HOW M*A*S*H
INSPIRED A CAREER DREAM COME TRUE

"I wanted to share with you the news that I have recently been promoted to Colonel in the Army. This has been a lifetime dream that started with watching all of you characters on MASH"

Active Duty U.S. Army Col. MD
Mike Farrell
MRFF Advisory Board Member Mikey Farrell,
actor, best known for his role as B.J. Hunnicutt on M*A*S*H.
Update from Active Duty U.S. Army Col. MD
Seven Years after Original Email Exchange with
MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

Monday, July 26, 2021
From: (Active Duty Col. MD name withheld)
Subject: Sincere thanks for the kind email!
Date: July 26, 2021 at 1:42:27 PM MDT
To: Mike Farrell
Cc: Mikey Weinstein <mikey@militaryreligiousfreedom.org>

Hello Mr. Farrell:

I wanted to share with you the news that I have recently been promoted to Colonel in the Army. This has been a lifetime dream that started with watching all of you characters on MASH. 

If only I had 1/10th of the charm of COL Potter to go with my ‘Bird’.

Thank you again for your inspiration so long ago, and your continued work for MRFF.

(COL. Name Withheld MD!)
MRFF Ad. Board Member Joe Levin,
Co-Founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Responds to MRFF Founder & President Mikey Weinstein

Monday, July 26, 2021

From: Joe Levin (Email address withheld)
Date: July 26, 2021 at 3:42:02 PM MDT
To: Michael L Weinstein <mikeyw4444@icloud.com>
Subject: Re: Sincere thanks for the kind email!

Wow understates that exchange. As a huge fan of M*A*S*H* and Mike, I can relate to the kind of realty that I felt in watching all of the original episodes and more repeats than you would imagine. Reality occasionally shows up on TV.
M*A*S*H* nailed it every time. 

Joe Levin
MRFF Ad. Board Member Mike Farrell Responds to MRFF Founder & President Mikey Weinstein

Monday, July 26, 2021
On Jul 26, 2021, at 4:12 PM, Mike Farrell wrote:

Thanks for this, Mikey. I'm twice blessed here. I've had only brief contact with Joe, but deeply admire the work he and the SPLC do. They help keep us awake and aware.

As for Dr. (Name Withheld), now Col. (Name Withheld), I can only once again express my admiration for his efforts on behalf of our country, congratulations on his promotion, and gratitude for his willingness to not only get the message of M*A*S*H, but bring it to life in as courageous a way as is humanly possible.

I'm in your debt.

Mike Farrell
BACKGROUND

Original 2014 Email from Active Duty U.S. Army Major MD to Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Founder and President Mikey Weinstein

Thursday, October 23, 2014
From: (U.A. Army Officer’s/Physician’s E-Mail Address Withheld)
Subject: Sincere thanks to the MRFF
Date: October 22, 2014 at 10:23:17 AM MDT
To: Mikey Weinstein <mikey@militaryreligiousfreedom.org>


Hello Mikey:

I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to you and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

Watching Pierce, Burns and Hunnicutt in M*A*S*H episodes as a young man, I was inspired to be a doctor in the Army.
I am now a Major, in the Medical Corps, Army Reserve. I practice anesthesiology with a Combat Support Hospital. I could not be happier with my work.

What makes me different from most of my colleagues, is that I no longer attend a church. Though I was raised in a church- going family, I would no longer describe myself as Christian.

It has become increasingly uncomfortable to identify oneself as a nonreligous soldier in the cultish, evangelical Christian milieu of the US Army. 

Christianity's influence can be seen everywhere in Army installations: 'Jesus Loves You' at soldier's work stations, bible quotes in their email 'signatures', bible study invitations and announcements plastered on bulletin boards, and stacks of 'donated' New Testaments at every waiting or common area. Chaplains that are supposed to represent all faiths, never seem to get around to talking about Allah or Budda, or Zeus when they are given an opportunity to give a 'non denominational' address to the troops. 
This omnipresence is oppressive.

Looking for like-minded individuals in the Army is difficult. On my last deployment, I was sitting at dinner with 6 other medical doctors. Our discussion turned to religion. I was shocked to find out that I was the only one of this educated group that was not a Christian, and did not believe the world was only 6000 years old. 

My Commander on this deployment 'Praised God' saying that 'Prayer really does work!', when I presented her with 10 Kindle e-readers donated by a secular organization I had contacted.

I could go on. The point of this letter though, is to thank you for the work the MRFF does. It can be pretty lonely out there. It is nice to know that the MRFF represents thousands of soldiers like me, religious and and nonreligious, that are marginalized by the climate of Christian proselytization endemic in the US Military.

I have had the occasion to contact you three times in the past regarding Church/State separation issues in the Army. Each time you have personally responded to my email in a matter of hours. You have even taken the time to talk to me personally over the phone on one occasion. You have freely offered your opinion and your advice on how to proceed. 

It is so clear that you take the work you do seriously. That in itself inspires me to try to get involved in the fight, and continue to support the work of MRFF.

Sincere thanks.
(Active Duty Army MAJ. MD Name Withheld)
(City and State Withheld)
Responses to Active Duty Army Major MD from
MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

Thursday, October 23, 2014

On Oct 22, 2014, at 2:58 MDT, Mike Farrell wrote:

Hi Doc,

Mikey let me see your message because of the M*A*S*H reference. I’m thrilled to think you’re doing what you’re doing because we “inspired” you, but am a bit concerned that you included Old Ferret-Face in the mention.

Thanks for the kind words about the work of the MRFF. It’s sad that it’s necessary, but as your experience suggests, it is urgently so. The whole concept of fundamentalist proselytizing in the military continues to boggle my mind, but since it exists I’m proud to be part of Mikey’s efforts to combat it.

And I must say, your description of dinner with 6 medical doctors who believe the world is 6,000 years old nearly strikes me dumb. How can people have gone through that much school and medical training and continue to hold such a view? I find that incomprehensible.

Nonetheless, thanks for being there and thanks for the good work you’re doing.

Best,
Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)
On Oct 23, 2014, at 17:59, Mike Farrell wrote:

Thanks, (Name Withheld), for this wonderful message. I've shared it with the company and I know they'll all be as thrilled as I am to receive it.

Bless you for the work you do.

Mike Farrell
Response from Active Duty U.S. Army Major MD to
MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
From: (Active Duty MD Name Withheld)
Subject: Sincere thanks for the kind email!
Date: October 23, 2014 at 6:05:41 PM MDT
To: MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell
Cc: Mikey Weinstein <mikey@militaryreligiousfreedom.org> 
Hello Mr. Farrell:
 
I never imagined my note to Mikey Weinstein of the MRFF, would result in the kind email response from you. I hope you don't mind me sharing a little about the inspiration I had from the work you all did in the M*A*S*H series.
 
It is absolutely true, that the show M*A*S*H inspired the closest thing to a 'calling' I have ever had in my life. There was something about the operating room scenes with all of you, that spoke to me in an inexplicable way. I just knew I had to be there.
 
Before even finishing Army Basic training in Texas, I volunteered for an anesthesiologist position with a forward surgical team going to Afghanistan.
I could have deployed to Germany or Hawaii, but there was something driving me to get out there in field where I could do some real good. I did not want to be doing anesthesia for generals having their gall bladders out, in Hawaii. 
 
When people ask what it was like over there in Afghanistan, I tell them that it was very much like M*A*S*H episodes, because it really was. There was one night in Afghanistan, that was just like a specific episode. In the episode, a North Korean soldier was being operated on while the North Korean army was mortaring the 4077th.  
 
On that night in Southern Afghanistan, we were operating on a Taliban soldier while his buddies were using the near by mosque to mortar our base and hospital. As the mortars started to fall, all of us in the OR were talking about if we should leave the OR and get our body armor, or stay with the patient. We were all reminded of that episode. As we talked about it and laughed at the irony of the situation, the attack ended and we finished the case. 'Life imitates art'! 
 
So thank you once again for the email. 
 
Most of all though, sincere thanks for your involvement with the MRFF and your support of the great work Mikey Weinstein is doing.
 
(Active Duty MD Name Withheld)
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