MRFF Client Response to Chaplain: “Re: Invitation to the National Prayer Breakfast”

From: [name withheld]
Subject: RE: Invitation to the National Prayer Breakfast – 7 February 2013
Date: January 24, 2013
To: [name withheld]
Cc: Mikey Weinstein

Dear Chaplain [name withheld],

I’m sure you are familiar with the contents of Air Force Instruction 1-1
Section 2.11 which states, in part, “Leaders at all levels must balance
constitutional protections for an individual’s free exercise of religion or
other personal beliefs and the constitutional prohibition against
governmental establishment of religion. For example, they must avoid the
actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious
beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any
religion.”

While it is appropriate under current law for military chaplains to extend
invitations to sectarian events such as the National Prayer Breakfast, I
would like to point out that the use of unit representatives (who are not
chaplains) for record-keeping of who does and does not purchase tickets or
participate in such events is a violation of the spirit of the Air Force
Instruction.  Obviously, that constitutes an inappropriate “apparent use of
[military] position” to promote or extend preferential treatment.

To be specific: it does not matter whether these POCs volunteered for this
or were assigned, nor does it matter what their seniority is.  They can and
will be viewed as representatives of the command structure, lending support
and endorsement to an activity that is appropriately the exclusive purview
of the chaplain’s corps under current Air Force policy.

I understand that there is a tradition of engaging service members to
augment chaplain staff on a part-time basis.  That tradition is not
sufficient justification to violate the policy and the Constitution.  I
encourage you to comply with the policy, and in the future, refrain from
engaging non-chaplain corps personnel to promote sectarian events.

Best regards,
[name, rank, position withheld]

—–Original Message—–
From: [name withheld]
Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2013 3:17 PM
Cc: [name withheld]
Subject: Invitation to the National Prayer Breakfast – 7 February 2013

Greetings,

On behalf of the [location withheld] Chapel Staff, tickets for this year’s National
Prayer Breakfast (NPB) are currently available through the Chapel office.
The NPB will be held at the Minuteman Commons on Thursday, February 7th at
8:00AM.  The attached flyer contains additional information.  Please print,
post to your bulletin boards, and contact your POC (see below) for tickets.
If you have further questions or need additional information, call the
Chapel at 5-5501.  Thank you.

Ticket POCs:

[withheld]

Warmest Regards,

Chaplain [name withheld]

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