Air Force Major General Craig Olson

Salutations to all,

I came across this and thought you should see this in order to expose this issue and take any action you can to support or show support for this American Air Force General;

 

https://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2015/05/air-force-times-group-wants-two-star-court-martialed-for-speech/

 

To you, the people of MRFF,

I find it so disheartening that you have nothing better to do than attack real followers of Christ.  General Olsen was a guest speaker with and for people of GOD; why does that bother you so much? And please do not insult me with UCMJ concerns.

 

As a retired Marine Officer of 20 years, disabled vet and a follower of Christ Jesus you must realize that though we love all, we oppose that which is in conflict with GODs word and you and your organization are in conflict with GOD, and GOD himself tells us that is not a good place to be.

 

If you were actually for Religious Freedom in or out of the Military, you would accolade the Generals efforts.  He has served God and this country which means he has protected you and yours.

 

I believe you may wish to consider changing your name to Foundation Against Military Religious Freedom, would be much more accurate.

 

Shame on you.

Have a Blessed Day

R/S,

(name withheld)


 

Actually, I think you’ve made a mistake, brother. We are the foundation that is calling for the general’s immediate court-martial. Perhaps you sent this email to be snarky or rude or perhaps you made an honest mistake?

Mikey Weinstein


 

Mikey,

I was not meaning to be short tempered or offensive, I made no mistake and fully comprehend that you & your foundation are the one’s calling for Gen Olsen to be court martialed.

 

I find your hate for military and Christians to be deplorable. And if by some chance you do not dislike either, then why the ridiculous energies expended in this effort?

 

Military Officers are routinely asked to speak at functions, they many times if not most show up in uniform to display their patriotism and love for this country.  Not as an endorsement by that particular Branch somehow “endorses” something.

 

Heaven forbid you guys see him in uniform shopping at a “Kroger’s” would you also then scream for a courts-martial as he is obviously endorsing that store?

 

Besides, military are allowed to be speakers at functions and often wear their uniform when doing so.

 

This was basically a “Church” function, be it a MEGA church with lots of visitors if you will.  And most Mega churches televise.  Are you saying that a military member cannot attend church or church related functions in uniform?

 

Interestingly enough you and I quote, say: “ …tell me that you’re just not sick to damndeath seeing an active duty Air Force General Officer boastfully proselytizing and freely witnessing…”.  Really Mikey?  Your claiming to be a “freedom” organization?  Whose, yours and no one else’s? We, the military, do NOT need you, your help or your organization, thanks anyway.

 

Almost forgot, can you please list the specific Articles within the UCMJ that this General violated?

 

Thanks much for your time,

 

I am praying for you.

 

P.S.  I am forwarding your letter to everyone I know so that they will write with their support for General Olson to all those your letter went to.

Have a Blessed Day

R/S,

(name withheld)


 

Dear Mr. Bailey:

I am writing in response to your May 20, 2015 emails to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (“MRFF”).  Although you previously received an email from Mikey Weinstein, MRFF’s founder, inquiring whether your request to take action supporting Maj. Gen. Olson was sent in error, he asked me to address the concerns included in your correspondence.  I hope I can clarify the mission of MRFF, as well as the legal basis for its demand letter concerning Maj. Gen. Olson.

 

Before I respond to your claims, I want to thank you for your service to our country.  I would have addressed you by your proper rank, but it was not included in your email.  My father is also a retired Marine Corps Officer, and his father was also a Marine.  My grandfather on my mother’s side fought in WWII while in the Navy, and I have many other friends and relatives who either currently serve or formerly served in the military.  I have also lost several classmates as a result of their service in the Middle East.  I truly respect and appreciate the dedication and sacrifice required of those who serve in the military.

 

The mission of MRFF is to protect and defend the religious freedom of all soldiers, sailors, Marines, cadets, and veterans.  It has assisted thousands of service members who suffered religious discrimination or persecution at the hands of their superiors.  You may be surprised to learn that over 95% of MRFF clients are Christians!  Accordingly, MRFF does not seek to “attack real followers of Christ,” but actually defends the rights of Christian service members of all denominations just as vigorously as those who practice any other religion or choose not to practice any religion at all.

 

You apparently view Maj. Gen. Olson’s speech as nothing than a military service member speaking at a religious function, who also happened to be wearing his uniform.  If this was all that occurred, it would not have violated the Establishment Clause or Air Force Regulations and MRFF would not have taken any action.  I assure you that MRFF does not oppose Maj. Gen. Olson’s personal religious beliefs or his right to express them.  However, both the Constitution and Air Force Regulations require that such expression conform to certain time, place, and manner requirements.  Maj. Gen. Olson failed to adhere to these requirements and the fact that he wore his uniform during his speech is only one of many factors leading to this conclusion.

 

Maj. Gen. Olson requested that the audience pray for Defense Department leaders and for troops preparing to re-deploy.  While this request might be a perfectly acceptable expression of religion under some circumstances, he specifically stated that Defense Department leaders “need to humbly depend on Christ” and requested prayers for the troops so they can “bear through that by depending on Christ.”  Moreover, he made these statements in his official capacity as a military leader while wearing his uniform, thus giving the impression that his statements clearly endorsing Christianity over other religious beliefs were made on behalf of the Air Force.

 

It should also be noted that Maj. Gen. Olson was speaking at a National Day of Prayer Task Force event.  The mission of the National Day of Prayer Task Force is to mobilize the Christian Community “to intercede for America and its leadership in the seven centers of power: government, military, media, business, education, church, and family.”  Therefore, he was speaking in his official capacity for a group whose sole purpose is to inject its own Christian beliefs into all areas of government, in direct violation of the Establishment Clause.

 

Maj. Gen. not only violated the Establishment Clause, he also violated USAF Instruction 1-1, Sec. 2.12: “Leaders at 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.”  By appearing in his official capacity as a military leader, wearing his uniform for the event, speaking for a group whose mission it is to inject Christianity throughout the military, failing to state that his opinions were not those of the Air Force, and declaring that other service members must accept Christ, Maj. Gen. Olson plainly endorsed Christianity and that endorsement appeared to be made on behalf of the Air Force.

 

Although you request that I “do not insult [you] with UCMJ concerns, you subsequently request a citation to the specific Article of the UCMJ Maj. Gen. Olson violated.  The specific Article of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that should have governed this situation is Article 92, Section 892, which states that the violation of a lawful regulation “shall be punished as a court martial may direct” (emphasis added).  You must agree that USAF Instruction 1-1, Sec. 2.12 is a lawful regulation and, by violating it, Maj. Gen. Olson should have been accordingly disciplined.  Further, he did not only defy the Constitution and Air Force Regulations, he compromised the safety of our troops.  As stated in MRFF’s demand letter:

 

Can you even IMAGINE the essentially limitless propaganda bonanza this speech by Olson has ALREADY likely provided the sinister likes of ISIS/ISIL, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Taliban and a horde of other terrorist organizations that universally depend on painting the United States military as “Crusaders” for a virtual galaxy of nefarious reasons?

 

In light of your many years of service as a Marine, I must admit I am confused by your apparent opinion that UCMJ concerns would “insult” you.  Are the concerns addressed by the UCMJ not valid?  Or is it your position that only the Articles with which you agree should be enforced?

 

I understand that, as a follower of Christ, you “oppose that which is in conflict with God’s word.”  However, I am sure you understand that the military does not – indeed, cannot – fight anything you deem to conflict with “God’s word.”  As stated above, there are very real consequences to our national security that could be implicated as a result of a military leader endorsing any religion within the military.

 

Your comparison of a Military leader declaring the need for Christ to be accepted by others in the military to that same leader shopping at a particular grocery store is clever, but erroneous.  First, the First Amendment does not give the same protections to grocery store choice as it does to religious freedom.  A plain endorsement of Christianity that appears to be made by the Air Force, whether or not intentionally, clearly inhibits the freedom of Air Force personnel to practice any religion other than Christianity – especially those under Maj. Gen. Olson’s command.  Second, even if store choice were so protected, simply shopping at a particular store, even if in uniform, would be very different from publicly declaring that anyone who chose to shop elsewhere needs help and guidance.  Similarly, simply attending a church event wearing a military uniform does not violate the Establishment Clause, but when the additional facts present in this situation are also considered, a violation has occurred.  Again, the mere fact that Maj. Gen. Olson was wearing his uniform during his speech is not the basis for MRFF’s objections to the content of his remarks.

 

Finally, I respectfully submit that the thousands of clients assisted by MRFF would disagree with your assertion that the military does not “need” Mikey Weinstein or MRFF.  These brave men and women in uniform were being subjected to terrible discrimination and persecution as a result of their religious beliefs and, without MRFF, they would still be enduring it.

 

I hope I have clarified MRFF’s mission and work, as well as its position regarding Maj. Gen. Olson’s remarks.

 

Blessed be,

 

Tobanna Barker

MRFF Volunteer

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