I am one of the 60+ officers who was instructed I must attend chapel in order to be a morally fit officer. I was shocked by this blatant religion injection. It was a chilling revelation that-behind the curtain-the powers that be expect religious conformity. I instantly experienced a sinking feeling of dismay, because I was been told to worship (or pretend to) against my convictions or risk my career being cut off.
When I sent the e-mail to Mikey, it was not the least I could do… It was the most. I’m an active duty officer, in a highly visible position. My career relies heavily on the good will and “networking” of my fellow officers. My rights to express myself publicly are meaningless in the reality of officer career progression. So many people can put the breaks on my career, at a whim; especially for challenging their religious faction’s hold over this niche of the government.
Within minutes, Mikey e-mailed me back, talked to me personally, and inspired me to write more about my experiences. Most importantly, he backed up his words with swift action. Within 72 hours, his legal team sent a demand letter to the Pentagon, and the press was notified. In less than a week’s time, the offending document was removed from the curriculum.
The outpouring of support from all over the country was breathtaking. It was so comforting to know there are people like me who want to serve without supplicance, fight without fanaticism, and defend the constitution not a particular version of a particular deity. Thanks to the galvanizing motivation of Mikey Weinstein, and his indomitable spirit, service members like me can be heard. Courage is a universal trait among us. But no matter how brave you are, it’s good to know Mikey, and MRFF, has your back. Keep fighting the good fight!
(USAF Officer’s name, rank, AFSC, unit and installation withheld)