Travis AFB Nativity Scene (with photos)

Dear Mr. Weinstein,

I am writing to tell you about what is happening at Travis AFB, California.  For the past few weeks and throughout the holiday season, the command at Travis has decided to display a very large Nativity scene, featuring Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus, on the main corner of the base.  It is nearly impossible to come onto the installation without seeing it.  Travis serves a population of over 122,000 active duty, reservists, dependents, and retirees, who will drive past that scene to get anywhere on base.  At night, the scene is illuminated by three, very large, very bright flood lights.  This past week, the command put up a menorah next to the Nativity.  The presence of these clearly religious displays on the main corner of the base deeply concerns me. I am not alone in my feelings of distress.  I know many other people are similarly offended and confused.

I am an Airman who is new to the Air Force, and I have a very proud military heritage.  Many members of my family have been in the military, serving our country in over four wars.  My parents came to visit me at Travis recently.  They were so proud that their child had joined such a prestigious and selfless profession.  They wanted to see the base where I was going to forge the beginnings of my career of service to my country.  When my parents excitedly drove onto the base, they thought they would see my workplace, the airplanes, or even the beautiful landscaping, but the first thing they noticed was the Nativity.  My father, having retired from the military, was very disappointed.  He was distraught that he had raised me in a secular environment, and he thought he had sent me off to serve in a secular military.

I know that the military exists to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.  Contained within that Constitution is the right to freedom of religion.  It appears as though the military endorses Christianity and religion in general.  I am well aware that Christians are the majority religion, but I also thought that the Constitution existed to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.  Thousands and thousands of brave men and women have fought and died for the principles embodied in the Constitution, regardless of their religion.  The military should never endorse a particular religion, or even indicate that military members should be religious at all.  The place for religion is in the base chapel, where someone can choose to visit, not on the corner of the main street, where everyone has to see it.

Mr. Weinstein, please help me because I don’t have a voice.  I am scared to say anything for fear that my new career will come to an end if I object to my commanders.  I hope to live up to my family’s honorable legacy by continuing to serve my country for a long time.  I joined the military to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to spread the gospel.  I fear that the religious symbols so prominently displayed on my Air Force Base convey a different message.

Thank you.

(MRFF Asset’s name, USAF rank, position, and title withheld)

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    39 Comments

    1. Greg

      Sad that this individual would fail to tell everyone the whole story. There is a 100 foot SECULAR Holiday Tree and over 22 SECULAR Holiday Cards with Santa, Airplanes, even an airman in battle dress with a gun in this display. EVERY court precident affirms that this display is right on the mark. Sad that this “airman” would mislead a lawyer and various other organizations as to the accuracy of the display. As for the Nativity, the statues are about 36″ tall, and there are no wise men, either.

      Tell the truth…the whole truth.

    2. dona tucker

      Let him get over himself. Who do these people think they are anyway, the world doesn’t revolve around them. People that do not like it are the minorities and I’m sick and tired of this country being ruled by minorities. The majority rules is what I say. If he doesn’t like it release him from his duty to go where and do what ever he likes. He’s in the Air Force now, he doesn’t get to complain and give orders, he has to take them. I say, SUCK IT UP, if that;s the only thing you can find to complain about, you are in big trouble.. God help this poor kid, he’s a lost sheep and desperately needs Jesus. The Bible tells us many will perish from lack of knowledge, so send this kid to learn some..

    3. Troy A. Weisbrod, USNR

      I am greatly disappointed in this young Airmen, he obviously has mistaken the Greatest Military Force in the world as some Jackwagon from Mamby-pambyland. I spent 20 years of my life in the United States Navy, and never once did I ever feel like “It appears as though the military endorses Christianity and religion in general”. Airmen, you need to wake up and look around you on base. Maybe you should visit the Chapel see all of the different Services provided. There are Services for every Religion, and in some places its even done in Spanish. I find it hard to believe that if you were raised the way you claimed to be, that your Father “was distraught that he had raised me in a secular environment, and he thought he had sent me off to serve in a secular military.” If anything, I am sure he would embarrassed by his son’s lack of knowledge and for being so nieve. That last thing I have to say to you is this … If you dont like what you see, get out of my Country’s Military and leave my Country. Go live somewhere else that your messed up, backwards & UN-American thinking will allow you to live. As far as I see, your a disgrace to that Air Force uniform, and everything it stands for … your “very proud military heritage” is FALSELY proclaimed!!

    4. James

      You know what is really sad? This is THEIR website, yet not one comment in support of this nonsense.. I find that very telling as to how much support this group has.

    5. Professor Roysden

      My dear young airman. Participation by all base assets in the holiday decorations would include the Christian and Jewish chapels. Each base asset is permitted to erect a display and many make their displays related to their basic jobs (Santa riding on a bomb or the fuselage of a plane). Would you deny the chapel programs from participation because they have a religious orientation? (By the way young man, the Constitution of the United States protects the free exercise of religion.) Would you restrict their display to a secular display and deny the very service they perform to your fellow airmen?

      I am also sadly disappointed by your exaggeration of truths as are others. Large floodlights? I actually took several minutes trying to find evidence of any large floodlights illiminating the manger scene. The flood lights appear to be no larger than those illuminating any of the other displays.

      Mikey, seriously, this is an issue worth pursuing? This is the type of plaintiff who will marginalize your attempts to bring reason and civility to a serious issue.

    6. Brian Southard

      Christmas is a national holiday. Complain to those who decided that, not those who decorate the post accordingly. If you want to work on Christmas, by all means go ahead. I’m a SGT, not much higher-ranking than you. You have a voice, regardless of rank. That’s one thing you need to learn. Another thing you need to learn is how to rejoice and celebrate family. That’s what these holidays are all about, and you should be thankful the government allows us to recognize that fact. I’m an atheist, by the way, and I celebrate Christmas. Not for the religion, not for the presents, not for the time off, but for the celebration of family and togetherness. Get past the religion, dude. Seriously. Take the day-on-day-off or week-on-week-off or whatever your unit does, and spend time with your family. Then remember, that’s what your time-honored profession protects.

    7. Mimi

      Ok kid, first of all didn’t you take an oath mentioning god when you joined he military? That should have been a pointer right there, just saying… Second I’m a die hard atheist AND vegetarian yet I don’t go around trying to mess with people’s believes and/or beef entrees… Just leave it be! This is much bigger than you or me for that matter so unless you’re gonna boycott the season by sitting at the office on Christmas day because you’re just too offended to take the day off just shut it!!! Respectfully, open minded me…

    8. Torpedo of Truth

      Travis AFB WILL NOT remove or move the displays!!!! Check the news!!!

    9. Mike Nelson-retired-USN

      Mr. Weinstein–I nominated my dog for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize–and you thought that you were special

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