Giving gifts to children is no reason to attack someone .
Its sad that people go this far to hurt others .

(name withheld)


Dear (name withheld),

The media has lied to you. We haven’t stopped the soldiers from volunteering to pack the shoeboxes for the children but stopped the Commander’s secretary (Ms. Branch) from using the government email account to send a religious invitation base-wide.


On September 1, 2011, then-Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, issued a memorandum for all USAF commanders that stated plainly:

“Although commanders are responsible for these programs, they must refrain from appearing to officially endorse religion generally or any particular religion. Therefore, I expect chaplains, not commanders, to notify Airmen of Chaplain Corps programs.”
In Air Force Instruction 1-1, USAF top brass laid down the letter of the law in regards to religious proselytizing:

“2.12. Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause. Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They 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.” (emphasis added)”


Ms. Branch took it upon herself to send the email without consulting her boss and broke the Air Force’s own rules.


Besides those regulations she broke the Establishment Clause, Lemon Test and Parker v. Levy.


Lemon Test:

  1. Any law or policy must have been adopted with a neutral or non-religious purpose.
  2. The principle or primary effect of any law or policy must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion.
  3. The statute or policy must not result in an “excessive entanglement” of government with religion.


Parker v. Levy:

This Court has long recognized that the military is, by necessity, a specialized society separate from civilian society… While the members of the military are not excluded from the protection granted by the First Amendment, the different character of the military community and of the military mission requires a different application of those protections. … The fundamental necessity for obedience, and the consequent necessity for imposition of discipline, may render permissible within the military that which would be constitutionally impermissible outside it… Speech [to include religious speech] that is protected in the civil population may nonetheless undermine the effectiveness of response to command.  If it does, it is constitutionally unprotected. (Emphasis added) Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733, 1974


Ms. Branch broke every law and military regulation regarding religious neutrality and her actions are NOT constitutionally protected.


Religious activities must be in the hands of the Chaplains on Chapel grounds and disseminated ONLY to their parishioners; not in the hands of the Commander or his secretary base-wide.


Lt. Col. Donald Tasker, commander of the 436th Force Support Squadron, recognized the illegality of the email Ms. Branch sent and issued the following:


This doesn’t mean that he hates Christianity but that he must obey the Constitution, Supreme Court laws and the regulations set down by the Air Force concerning religious neutrality. Period.


Again, the soldiers are still free to volunteer to pack the shoeboxes for the kids if they so desire and Ms. Branch can no longer use the government email account to send out any religious invitation.


I wish the media would stop withholding these pertinent facts to make us look evil.


We are not an atheist organization nor are we anti-Christian. Mikey is Jewish and 80% of the Board, Advisory Board, volunteers and supporters (244 in total) of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) are Christians. In fact, 96% of our 42, 711 soldier clients are Christians. We fight for the rights of Christians more than any other religion.


Please read our Mission Statement and you will see that it conforms to the laws, rules and regulations mentioned above.


Pastor Joan

MRFF Advisory Board Member



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