UPDATE: MRFF Files FOIA Request After Winning Air Force Removal of Evangelizing Attempts Embedded in Training Material

UPDATE – 4/27/12:

MRFF demands immediate and comprehensive review of unconstitutional SOS program materials, review process; hollow and diversionary Air Force response provokes Freedom of Information Act request filed by international law firm JONES DAY

Click here to read the correspondence between MRFF law firm and Air Force Administrative Law Directorate

UPDATE – 4/4/12:

Air Force Times – AF yanks document linking faith to leadership

One day after MRFF issues demand letter, AF retracts evangelizing attempts embedded within training material

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • The Air Force has pulled a seven-page mandatory reading that equated chapel attendance with good leadershipfrom its distance learning Squadron Officer School course as of March 28.The decision came after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation demanded in a March 27 letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz that the service stop using the document on the grounds that it violates the U.S. Constitution.
  • In a letter on Monday, Gregory Girard, deputy director of the Air Force Administrative Law Directorate, said the document had already been eliminated from the Squadron Officer School in-residence program and was slated to be removed from the online distance learning course at a later date.
  • MRFF attorney Katherine S. Ritchey said in a response letter on Tuesday that her client renewed its demand for a full review of its training material for language similar to that discovered in the article that was pulled from the online course.
  • MRFF is demanding that the Air Force open a review and provide details about how it is going to implement such a review within 14 days of receiving Ritchey’s letter, or the foundation might exercise other legal actions.

Click here to read this article at Air Force Times

Military.com – AF Pulls Religious Reading Requirement From Officer School

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • Under pressure from a military watchdog group, the Air Force has dropped a once-mandatory reading requirement for officers that advocated regular chapel attendance.In a letter dated March 28, the Air Force’s Judge Advocate wrote that the selection had been planned for removal from the correspondence program this summer.Instead, the material was yanked on March 28, the day after a lawyer for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation sent a letter to the Air Force demanding its removalon the grounds it effectively represented a religious litmus test for officers.Mikey Weinstein, founder of the group, said the Air Force’s explanation that it already pulled the reading from the Squadron Officer School’s in-residence course and planned on dropping it later from the online program was “the lamest excuse.”
  • The MRFF filed its March 27 complaint with the Air Force after hearing from 61 officers who took exception to the reading selection. The piece was titled “Three Important Documents,” a reference to U.S. Constitution and an officer’s oath of office and commission.
  • “If you attend chapel regularly, both officers and airmen are likely to follow this example,” it states. “If you are morally lax in your personal life, a general moral indifference within the command can be expected…”
  • Weinstein said he began hearing about the “Three Important Documents” from officers in December. Eventually, 61 officers signed on as anonymous MRFF clients and asked the group to press the Air Force to remove the reading.

Click here to read this article at Military.com

UPDATE – 4/3/12 – MRFF Sends Response Re-Iterating Demand for Review of All S.O.S. Training Materials

Click here to view MRFF’s followup demand letter


2 April 2012

Mr. Gregory Girard
1420 Air Force Pentagon Rm 5D116
Washington DC 20330-1420

Ms. Katherine S. Ritchey
Jones Day
555 California Street, 26th Floor
San Francisco, California, 94104

Dear Ms Ritchey

Your correspondence dated 27 March 2012 to the Secretary and Chief and Staff regarding the reading materials for Squadron Officer School have been forwarded to this office for response. The “Three Important Documents” you refer to in your letter had been previously removed from the in-residence program curriculum, but had remained in the on-line Distance Learning materials pending a curriculum review scheduled for the summer of 2012. It would have been removed at that time as it was no longer part of the in-residence course materials, but was in fact removed on 28 March 2012.

We trust this information is helpful to you. As indicated in our previous correspondence, this office represents the Air Force with regard to these issues. Accordingly, please direct any future correspondence to this office. Once again, you may contact this office at [REMOVED] or via fax at [REMOVED].


Deputy Director, Administrative Law Directorate
Office of The Judge Advocate General

Click Here to View Actual Air Force Response Letter

Original Article:

3/28/12 – Air Force Squadron Officer School’s Required Curriculum Decrees Officers’ “Spiritual Responsibility” to Attend Chapel

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