MRFF Demand to Cease and Desist

Colonel Slocum,

My name is Mikey Weinstein and I am the Founder and President of a civil rights advocacy organization called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). I write you today on behalf of 24 USAF officers, NCOs and civilians (16 of whom are practicing Christians) under your command. We, and they, are demanding immediate remediation of your illicit verbal behavior which is specified below. They came to MRFF instead of using their chains of command or your IG/MEO complaint system due to quite justified fear of reprisal and retribution for expressing their dissent to your reckless verbal behavior.

Colonel you are currently in violation of your oath to the United States Constitution and USAF Instructions. You are violating, inter alia, the No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights as well as Air Force Instruction 1-1, Section 2.12 which clearly states: “They (Air Force leaders al all levels) must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.” 

 Sir, you have been utilizing a particular phrase at multiple command briefings and meetings et al when speaking to the thousands of airmen under your direct command at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina. You have been using this unlawful phrase to describe the ultimate purpose/mission of the combat work your fighter wing, the 4th Fighter Wing of the 9th Air Force which is part of Air Combat Command, is performing for the American people and our country’s national security interests. Specifically, Colonel, you have repeatedly stated that your fighter wing is “over there doing the Lord’s work” to those under your command. The words “over there” clearly refer to the AOR (“Area of Responsibility”…ie. among other missions, fighting ISIS in the Middle East). What makes your usage of this Constitutionally unlawful phrase as a senior Air Force leader even MORE egregious is the fact that you have also been concomitantly ordering the thousands of USAF officers, NCOs and civilians under your command to be extremely conscious of everything they do and say in their official Air Force capacities due to the fact that you and they are also responsible for the training of Saudi Air Force personnel at Seymour Johnson AFB. You often juxtapose both commands to your subordinates thus tying “doing the Lord’s work over there” to your directive to be cognizant of being respectful to the Saudis being trained under your command. The latter order to respect the Saudis is fine, of course. The first statement as to the mission of your fighter wing in “doing the Lord’s work over there” is NOT and combining the two as you’ve done in your command briefings is simply unconscionable!

Sir, did it REALLY never even occur to you that the VERY use of that phrase PRECISELY violates your orders to those under your command regarding careful and prudent reflection of all words and actions vis-a-vis the training you are in charge of for our Saudi Air Force allies? Even without the matter of being cognizant of the Saudi Air Force trainees, did you SERIOUSLY expect that ALL members of your command believe that the reason they are laying their lives on the line is because “we are doing the Lord’s work over there? Which “Lord” are you referring to, Colonel? Can you imagine the enormity, sir, of the consequential reaction if you had substituted “Allah” or any of the plethora of OTHER named and/or recognized supreme being(s) in that phase you use so often?

Colonel Slocum, America is a proudly diverse and secular republic where all or no faiths are welcome. Our U.S. armed forces do NOT fight “over there” or ANYwhere in order to comply with any particular deity’s demands or work orders. If the theological phraseology you have been using was part of the “fighter pilot vernacular” back in the day, sir, well, that day has long since past and you had better come to terms with that reality at once. As with many other offensive public statements that might have once been ok or “de rigeur” to use, this one is no longer or acceptable at all. Surely you can see that the only reasonable and rational thing to do here is to cease and desist forthwith from using that phrase to describe your (and your thousands of USAF subordinates’) critical combat mission in your official capacity as the 4th Fighter Wing Commander.

I ask that you or an authorized representative of the USAF confirm to me, via either e-mail or phone call, that you will no longer use that phrase in describing the mission of the 4th Fighter Wing no later than 1700 hours EDT today, sir.

Thank you in advance for carefully considering this most justified demand on behalf of the 24 USAF personnel under your command and for whom we are representing,

Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, Esq.

Founder and President, MRFF

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