11/3/11 – Major MRFF Victory: USAF Academy Backs Down on “Operation Christmas Child” Extremist Fundamentalist Charity

11/3/11

Dear Friends,

Followers of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation know all too well that the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs, CO has an abysmal track record in regards to their inability to distance themselves from the practice of ramming Christian fundamentalist propaganda down the throats of cadets.

Barely a day goes by without MRFF receiving numerous complaints from the fast-growing list of severely aggrieved parties at USAFA. Sadly, MRFF has an extensive, growing client-base at the Academy, comprising 345 cadets and faculty members in all.

Yesterday, we were contacted by 120 cadets and 12 faculty members — 132 total, out of whom 118 are of the Christian faith, either Protestant or Roman Catholic. They reported that senior Cadet Commanders were issuing memos to the entire Cadet Wing (USAFA student body) urging cadets to vigorously and enthusiastically participate in “Operation Christmas Child,” a project of internationally-infamous Islamophobe Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse organization. Ostensibly meant to bring a bit of “Christmas cheer” to children in disaster areas and war-stricken nations, this missionary program masquerading as an innocuous charity uses deliveries of toys and toiletries as a Trojan horse to sneak Graham’s fundamentalist Christian ministry of Jesus Christ into “heathen” nations such as Japan, Libya, Haiti, and Iraq.

MRFF immediately jumped into action against this blatantly unconstitutional memo – and it wasn’t long before an official letter of apology was emailed to the entire U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Wing on behalf of the Cadet Wing Vice Commander (the second-highest ranking cadet at the Academy). This same Cadet Colonel had approved the original unconstitutional memo.

While this victory certainly does not signal the end of the egregious, longstanding national security threat of unconstitutional proselytization at the Academy, it does represent a small step in the right direction and a major victory for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and the foundational civil rights guarantees promised by the Constitution of the United States of America.

You have made that possible, through the generous donations which you have made towards our cause. Please make a fully tax-deductible donation today so we can continue fighting – and winning – these battles against those who are constantly trying to turn our honorable and noble United States military into “God’s Army.”

Please see our Breaking News Alert email from earlier today for much more on “Operation Christmas Child,” Samaritan’s Purse, and its virulently Islamophobic CEO and President Franklin Graham.

Your Eternal Ally,

Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein
Founder and President
Military Religious Freedom Foundation


11/4/11

ABC 7 DENVER – Air Force Academy Backs Off Christmas Toy Program

OPPOSING VIEWS –  Air Force Academy Retreats From Christmas Charity

THE REPUBLIC (AP) – Air Force Academy cancels toy program because of flap over religion

FOX NEWS RADIO – Air Force Academy Backs Away From Christmas Charity

FOX NEWS (VIDEO) – MRFF Featured by Grapevine

ACLJ – Air Force Shoots Down Christmas Charity

CHRISTIAN POST – US Air Force Apologizes for Endorsing Christian Child Program

FAMILY NEWS IN FOCUS (FOCUS ON THE FAMILY RADIO) – Air Force Drops Operation Christmas Child

11/7/11

OPPOSING VIEWS – Air Force Academy Caves to “Anti-Christian” Activist

11/8/11

CHRISTIAN POST – Former Air Force Cadet Tries to Get Rid of Operation Christmas Child

 

MRFF have received a torrent of correspondence, threats, and hatemail as a result of our role in putting an end to the unconstitutional promotion of fundamentalist Christian “charities” by USAFA cadet commanders rather than going through the Chaplain corps. To read these detractor emails, and MRFF responses, please click here to go to MRFF’s Inbox.

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13 Comments

  1. Maggie

    ” ………… longstanding national security threat of unconstitutional proselytization”.
    OMG this is what sending a few needed items with a Christian message to poor children is? A national security threat? Our borders are wide open,we have military all over the world in dangerous places ,the middle east is a tinder box,Turkey is sending a flotilla to Israel,Israel is threatening to send a first strike missle to Iran,this country is dang near bankrupt and rioting in the streets and I have active and non active(Mikey) Air Force members who actually think this is important and they have actually accomplished something important? Now I am worried about my country. My husband was in the Air Force and my son is active,I am so ashamed and cannot believe a handful of people safely living at the Air Force Academy would ever think for a minute this is a national security threat. God, or whomever you believe or do not believe in, help us all. I always thought these were the best of the best people in the world and above all this nonsense. My heart is broken.

  2. thomas simpson

    I have lived a long time, I served my country, I am a Christian and I find the attitude and remarks about “Operation Christmas Child” to be anti-American. In case one cares to remember most of our places of higher learning were established under the basis of religious learning and teaching as exampled by Yale College November 11, 1701, The founders set certain requirements for the students as follows: “All scholars shall live religious, Godly, and blameless lives according to the rules of God’s Word, dilligently reading the Holy Scriptures, the fountain of light and truth; and constantly attend upon all the duties of religion, both in public and secret.” It is you who should know that if it werenot for those early Christian Fundamentalist who helped build this country we would no doubt be much like some of those other nation crying to get to this country of freedom. I also would ask you kind sir if you would think kindly on removing the word ‘Religious” from your MRFF banner because you have no understanding of just what the word implies. I’ll leave you with Romans 1:22 “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”

  3. Jack

    Ya, let’s not have the Air Force and it’s Academy be known for helping children no matter who the source is. Let the Air Force be known for bombing and strafing children. I never thought I’d be agreeing with those that have always said that. By the way, the constitution says “LAW to establish A religion” not help people have freedom FROM religion. Show me where it says that in the Constitution. Seems you guys keep on forgetting the second part of “freedom OF religion”. Which means I will decide what is practiced on my property, but if there is any place on Earth that someone may practice religion freely, it is on Federal property. Since your website is “Military Religious Freedom Foundation” explain how you have just helped freedom OF religion. Or did you just now accomplish freedom FROM religion? This program was to help children. It didn’t matter where it came from. Of course we all know that Muslims don’t help children, they strap explosives on to them. Where was the Muslim Aid group that went in to Haiti….. oh maybe that’s because there isn’t one like the Israelis sent. I know that the average USAF officer is better than this and this is a failure of the USAFA and it’s administration to not have any backbone. Good leadership example. Let’s cave to political correctness and not just do what is right. My God, and you guys gave access to nuclear weapons?

  4. JA

    As a current cadet, and atheist, I do have a problem with excerpts of scripture being included in the packages. It does create a perception that we are promoting a specific religion, almost like a sponsored ad in a humanitarian care package. However, shutting down this program is otherwise unfortunate. We cadets take pride in our devotion to the greater good, and this program would have been a way to further those efforts. It’s also good for USAFA’s image. Those that conceived this program, I believe, were wrong to include potentially proselytizing, but the good that could have come out of this program outweighs the damage of distributing a few lines from a book.

  5. Maggie

    JA
    I do not judge you and I will never try to change anyones beliefs. I have friends that are of all colors and religions and yes, no belief.I have no problem with that that is a decision every human gets to make on their own.
    You do your country and your uniform well with your attitude. Keep a good heart and head .
    That said most religious people are good people who want to make the world a better place,at the most we may become a little to exuberant in our beliefs and perhaps that spills over and is a bit aggravating to some. However since the world can be full of people who do not agree ,tolerence is perhaps best. This country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and it going to be a Judeo-Christian nation for a long time if not till the end of time.That does not mean that your point of view should be ignored,it should not ,but I do not understand what right we are taking from you by anyone elses prayer being shared? I have had this discussion with my athiests friends and they have expressed it does bother them sometimes because they do not know what to do when everyone else is praying. I laughed and explained I have had the same feeling at a Jewish wedding as I am Catholic and another in our group said they feel out of place at a Catholic church. So basically we all have those uncomfortable moments/times and I believe we just need to be respectful.
    I am offended by the hatred ,stupidity and gloating the MRFF group exhibited. It is over the top to say this is a “national security problem”. Really? Please read my first post. We have service men and women in harms way and this is just a silly statement. Mikey was Air Force and we paid for his education,I said it before and I will say it again.He is the equivalent of an ambulance chaser for clients. The only difference he uses religion rather than an accident in order to fill his pockets. He is a lawyer,he need clients and he has found them. Evidently 132 of them at the Air Force Academy complaining and whining about a prayer in a box of goodies for children.You seem to have put this in perspective ,because I am an Air Force family I am just appalled at those with out the understanding and tolerance that I thought my folks in the Air Force had.

  6. Darren

    The fact that there isn’t a single person who clicked the facebook “like” button at the bottom of this article speaks volumes to the idiotic agenda of your website and organization. The fact your website is called “Military Religious Freedom” is a joke in and of itself. Military Anti-Religious Freedom is more like it.

  7. G Reaburns

    What a tragedy. I’m sure that Operation Christmas Child will survive but it is a tragedy that anyone would subvert the good that is accomplished by this charitable and loving act into something that serves their narrow and perverted view of the world. Most charitable acts are organized by either governments or religious groups and most religious groups do indeed provide information that promotes their religious views. Operation Christmas Child provides toys and basic hygiene and school supplies to children all over the world and expects nothing in return. The donations come from people in many religions. To say that urging cadets to participate if possible is Congress making a law establishing a religion is ludicrous; almost as ludicrous as your organization being able to accept tax deductible contributions. But then again your passionate support of a null deity may indeed qualify your organization.

  8. Greg

    If only there was a nationally known toy donation organization…

    If only there was one that was affiliated with the Department of Defense…

    http://www.toysfortots.org/default.asp

  9. Greg

    Maggie,

    If this were an isolated incident, your point of view would be 100% correct.

    However, this was one of many incidents that have happened at the USAFA over the last few years. Please refer to Gen Schwartz’s memo on religious tolerance that was brushed aside by Academy leadership.

    Mikey wouldn’t have so many clients if the problems weren’t so widespread.

  10. Maggie

    Greg,
    I found it funny that the above communication from MRFF had the statement that offended me and many others including my Senator. You know the one that indicated that this additional program to Toys for Tots is a ….”national security threat of unconstitutional proselytization.” My father came home with a steel plate in his head defending this country,I have two active duty children as we speak, and my husband is a vet. Nobody I showed this to thinks that this toy distributation is a ‘national security threat” ,and most laughed at the mere suggestion.
    If you are old enough to go to the Academy and receive the educational benefits provided to you by the citizens and taxpayers of this country then you should be old enough to stand up for yourself and tell anyone who bullies you that you do not believe the same religious principles but you do want to serve your country. My father never needed a lawyer,nor did my husband and so far have my children ,and yet they live by their values,and none of us are Fundies,but we are Christians who normally respect all good people of all faiths and colors in our armed services. I would suppose I would be catogorized as an Islamophobe by many of you because I am petrified to fly since 9/11.
    Perhaps you would like to sit down with some of the families at Ft Hood and test them for Islamophobia. Sometimes fear is based on reality not racism or a phobia. Their are people who hate us and want to hurt or kill us. Rev Graham only wanted to send goodies with a prayer ,not goodies with a bomb. There is a difference. I am still ashamed of you who opposed this and ashamed of any of you who need to join a group like MRFF who gloats and is full of more hatred than I think any of us need. I do not care how many of the 132 are Christians or Roman Catholics. Being Roman Catholic I know not all in my Church are folks to be proud of.Think child molestors and social justice. It is a constant struggle for all men and women to rise above evil and our religious leader are not always helpful. Sometimes we just need to do it ourselves.

  11. Larry

    It is very sad how hateful you are to deny help to kids in need. Under the disguise of freedom and patriotism you do things that will ultimately cause more suffering. Shame on you!

  12. John Erickson

    Mikey Weinstein it was bad enough I had to share a squadron with your kids at the academy. Now I have to read about how you killed one of the greatest programs offered there?

    The cadet Chapel overlooks the academy grounds. Lets get that removed next. It shows favoritism to Christians.

    This MRFF you have created does nothing but inspire hate. For every 1 legitimate religious intolerant thing reversed (which I am sure you HAVE to fix some actual injustices) you kill 10 out of total hatred and disorganized thoughts.

    Get over yourself. Religion is a good thing and because yours isn’t winning doesn’t mean you have to kill everyone else’s.

  13. Derek

    Do you not see your hypocrisy? Your anger, hatred, and arrogence
    have blinded your humility. Jesus met the Christian hater/ murderer, Paul, on the road
    to Damascus, I hope you’ll meet Jesus too.

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