HUFFPOST – EDITH A. DISLER, MRFF DIRECTOR OF LGBT AFFAIRS – An Open Letter to the Commander of the United States Air Force

Selected Excerpts:

  • Dear General Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force:
    As I’ve written to you before, I wore Air Force blue for 34 years as a cadet and as an Air Force officer. I was as proud of that blue uniform as I was of the oath I swore to the Constitution. My oath and my uniform meant that I conducted myself, off duty and on, with extra care and professionalism. Coming up in the Air Force in the ’70s and ’80s and ’90s we were taught that if someone needed help, you helped them; as a member of a team, the team was everything; and our behavior and integrity must be beyond reproach.
  • [D]evotion to mission and professionalism didn’t mean I was an automaton. On the contrary, as a commissioned officer, and as a woman, I objected to institutional sexism that interfered with mission and professionalism, and I rationally addressed those concerns through the written word. I argued that the combat exclusion limited the military’s capabilities. And, as a military member serving under the Sword of Damocles known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I argued, in writing, that the gay ban does more harm than good. I wrote and published those opinions, with proper Air Force review, in peer reviewed and edited publications. History would be on my side. I therefore understand what it means to express an opinion in a professional and academic way. But, sadly, the blogosphere has enabled some military members with far-right fundamentalist agendas to skip the proper checks and balances. One result: the latest (3/27) in a long line of poisonous blog posts written by an active duty Air Force Major named Jonathan C. Dowty. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has long documented the many ways Dowty uses his “Christian Fighter Pilot” blog to violate a variety of Air Force regulations and bully enlisted members, who have been powerless to confront the abuse of an officer because of his rank and position. Dowty’s vitriol is one of the many reasons MRFF — of which I’m an advisory board member and which has earned five Nobel Peace Prize nominations — continues its mission for its 32,428 armed forces clients.
  • We can say with confidence that Dowty’s behavior clearly stands to degrade the public’s trust and confidence. What are Dowty’s most egregious claims? Well, he’s a very prolific “hater.” But, I am personally shocked at his repeated and tenacious characterization of lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members (719 of whom are LGBT MRFF clients) as “deviants” — just as “deviant” as those who have sex with animals, with their parents, or with their siblings. I am personally incensed because he implies here that my same sex partner (also a retired Air Force officer) and our beautiful twins — born at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland — are animals and deviants. A self-proclaimed “ambassador for Christ in uniform” Dowty shames both the Air Force and Christianity. He isn’t just a “Christian,” he’s a very particular kind of Christian — hardly mainstream. I know what mainstream Christianity is — my grandfather and father were Lutheran ministers, my family and I attend a Baptist church, and I’m serving as a communication consultant for a wonderful, inclusive Lutheran University in the Pacific Northwest. What’s Dowty’s type of Christianity? Says Dowty: “A bitter Christian is no more an asset to God’s kingdom than an atheist or a Buddhist.”

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    4 Comments

    1. Ed McGaa

      USAF Commander.

      I am a Sioux warrior, 110 combat Missions as a F4B pilot out of Chu Lai, Vietnam, 1967, mostly Close Air, Tree top Level, drop one-at-a Time MARINE Trained Close Air and not Air Force Style- drop high- 6 at a time. The Airborne suffered enough NAM casualties from you folks and had to rely on us to protect them, plus our own Marines we were extremely busy. I flew 5 missions back to back once off hot pad to save two H-46s downed, loaded with Marines. Two were at night under flares and we lost one chopper, murdered in the highlands. No POW roles. An AD, An A-4, Two Gun Ships downed was the cost to get the other H-46 load out.

      To start with, I Don’t like you people. Your latest is picking that silly Wart Hog w/o burners to support Close Air. It is akin to the AD, which your ‘Commandos’ got blasted into oblivion. Pulling off at 145 knots with a full load plus fuel was suicide. If your pilots did like we ALWAYS did- take a damn good look that first pass (Fully loaded) then drop next time. (Keeps your own troop casualty rate lower.): Pull out is crucial in CAS. Afterburners make one helluva difference. I could reveal much more from my experience but this is not the issue.

      Now you bus driver blue folks are permeating our military with religion. I volunteered for Korea as a Marine Grunt. Later as an F-4 Driver volunteered for a combat tour first, putting off my law school acceptance for a year. Pretty damn good credentials. Damn near 100% of my Grunt company and later my squadron never went near a church our combat tours. I did cut one into with 20mm and got secondary’s. Chaplains were used for family deaths and arrangements and NO proselytizing. Am I irreligious? I doubt it. I have endured 6 Sun Dances on my Sioux reservation thanking my God concept for giving me my life. Doubt if any Christian can go out in a hot August Sun for four days fasting- no water either. Thanks to MLK we got our spirituality/Sioux religion back after your nut fanatic missionaries lobbied Congress to ban our WAY. You put us in your over-religious Boarding Schools and did more damage. Not just Pedophilia rampant-ism but you never prepared us academically in your schools. Thank Creator I was spared such a fate. Our Reservation was part of the Air force Bombing Range south of Ellsworth AFB and we moved off our Rez Ranch to Rapid City where I received Public School education. Hence I hold a law degree won after my Nam tour. I am the author of 12 books- 3 are Harper/Collins, one almost 50 times reprinted. You keep letting these religious nut officers taking over your military that carries atomic weapons and I will write a public warning on you people. I have already done a good job on the zealot fanatics aforementioned.

      What bothers me is that so many good airmen in the enlisted ranks are getting passed over , young officers too, because they do not kow tow to Jesus. These people get disgusted and simply leave the military. What a tragic waste and defilement of innocent lives. We Sioux people well know what danger fanaticism can do, we are the victims. Now you are putting our country at risk. Will an Air Force Bomber someday, arranged to have an all fanatic crew get unleashed to carry out or instigate the ‘Blood Bath”- “Rivers of Blood” that Pat Robertson preaches on his show? The Islamics are already inebriated but their Arab Dhows are fairly puny. It could Happen from our side. Fanatic inspired Germany WW II happened. Better take a damn serious look at your job Commander! Major Ed McGaa,JD ( USMC VMFA 115 – Chu Lai. )

    2. Daniel

      That’s quite a rant, Ed. I hope your getting help. The VA offers decent counseling nowadays. One discernible point in your post (there aren’t many that resemble a full sentence let alone a thought) is that airmen are getting passed over due to the fact they are not christians. Last time I checked there is no religious requirement for promotion. Sounds like people inventing excuses for not getting promoted (ie, I got passed over because I’m a white male). Kind of sad, really.

    3. Keith

      Gee Daniel, think you could be any bigger of a jerk? It would be a challenge, but if anyone is up to the task, I think it’s you.

      You may not appreciate what Ed wrote, but there is a lot of wisdom there. You disingenuous assertion that there is no religious requirement for promotion ignores the social climate and culture of the chain-of-command. When everyone ranked above you is pushing the Christian line there is every reason to expect and believe that to get ahead one must be a part of their clique. It doesn’t matter what the official requirements are, what matters is what happens in practice. And in practice, the Christians in charge are trying to get as many positions in the upper ranks filled with other Christians as they possibly can. Many of these folks are Dominionists. Their openly stated goal is to take over the world. How they plan to do this is by first taking over the chain-of-command of the US military. This effort has been largely focused on the Air Force, though other branches of the services have also been afflicted.

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/06/02/1096273/-Why-We-Fight-Christian-Dominionists-Are-Dead-Serious-About-Overthrowing-Democracy

    4. Loki

      Ed, respect to you for your Service from a Navy carrier pilot. All pilots know and revere the bravery and dedication of the Marines. Warriors all, and even more so today, considering the challenges.

      I grew up not far a Lakota rez, and was deeply influenced by Boy Scout introduction to Native American culture, and Wakan Tanka. My heart was broken when I read “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” and that has influenced me in my personal honor code and spirit quest, that includes a deep respect for your Way, that in many ways is similar to other warrior-ways, including the Tao, and I expect that men of honor in other religions feel the same about protecting family and nation.

      I do not claim the wisdom to understand the truth of this issue- I only observe that the conversation has become so hostile, left and right, that evil can flourish in between.

      What to do? Read carefully both sides of the story, and seek out the facts, and be a good example of the Wise Elder.

      With respect to Huffpo readers, there is a bias here, that undermines the search for truth, and fallling into the easy trap of the “ends justify the means” Alinskyite demonization of ones opponent is seductive, because it seems to work, short-term, but long term it fails, in that it drives away those of good spirit, for it does NOT confer respect upon the listener, and it ultimately fails the speaker- it dishonors you and defames those who you represent.

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