Reply to Chris Rodda re: “No, Dover Air Force Base”

Ms Rodda
>>
>> I’m both in the military and familiar with OCD.
>>
>> Thank you for protecting us from this heinous program to give 3rd world children simple daily hygiene items and toys.  The nerve!
>>
>> I know…you’ll give a lame excuse about ‘promoting’ religion, which is ridiculous.  But I know it will make you feel better about yourself.
>>
>> You’re a hater…keep hating

(name withheld)


 

Dear (name withheld),

Straw men make for easy hunting.  They stand perfectly still, never changing, and are the creation of the person taking aim.

We haven’t done anything to stop the program you’ve referred to as “OCD” (actually OCC, or Operation Christmas Child).  Nor have we done anything to prevent or even dissuade airmen from participating.  We’ve simply pointed out that our government’s resources cannot permissible be used to promote or endorse the charity.

The law is on our side, and in case you’ve missed the news, the commanders at Dover are not interested in continuing to breach the relevant laws surrounding this case.

Happy hunting,

Blake A. Page
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Special Assistant to the President
Director of US Army Affairs


Dear (name withheld)
Well, hello again (name withheld)! Welcome back!
 
Remember me? I responded to your July 30th email on the Air Force Gospel Explosion.
 
I explained everything concerning the laws, rules and regulations regarding religious neutrality in the military but it seems you need a refresher.
 
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.”

The essence of this aforementioned 2011 memo from General Schwartz was essentially codified into official Air Force orders when it was followed in August 2012 by a similarly crystal-clear set of regulatory standards expected of all Air Force personnel worldwide. 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)”

 
The email concerning OCC was sent by the Commander’s secretary – Ms. Branch – and broke the Air Force’s own rules.
 
There are other laws regarding religious neutrality in the military.
 
The religion of the majority in our military does not rule over other religions or those of no religious preference, under the Constitution:
 
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment (Establishment Clause) of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise (Free Exercise Clause) thereof . . . “(1st Amendment)
 
The Establishment Clause comes before the Free Exercise Clause for a reason; the Free Exercise Clause is subservient to the Establishment Clause – not the other way around as some Christians would like it to be. 
 
The Supreme Court heard the Lemon v. Kurtzman case in 1971 and ruled in favor of the Establishment Clause.
 
Subsequent to this decision, the Supreme Court has applied a three-pronged test to determine whether government action comports with the Establishment Clause, known as the 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.
 
If any government entity’s actions fit into one of these three, then it is a violation of the Establishment Clause
 
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
 
What Ms. Branch did broke every law and military regulation and is NOT constitutionally protected.
 
We are not against children receiving the shoe boxes.
 
Our military is secular – which includes those of other faiths or no belief system – and it must not advance one religion over another according to the Constitution, Supreme Court rulings and the Unified Code of Military Justice. 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 on base-wide grounds.
Lt. Col. Donald Tasker, commander of the 436th Force Support Squadron, recognized the illegality of the email Ms. Branch sent and issued the following:
 
We are not haters but hold our military to the strict laws concerning religious neutrality.
 
If you have a problem with this I suggest you contact the commander and take it up with him. He will tell you the same things I did.
 
I totally understand OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) because my daughter dated a young man that suffered from this and I wish you well.
 
See ya next time.
 
Pastor Joan
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Hi Joan!
How are you? I know – but your organization is truly a hate group. The story is anti Christian and totally biased.
No worries, though.
Take care.
(name withheld)

Hi (name withheld)!
If the Christian Dominionists (Google it) in the military would obey the laws, there wouldn’t be any need for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. But, they won’t because they thrive on the faux-persecution that comes their way.
The majority of Christians – Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodist, Lutherans, Baptists, Evangelicals, etc. – abide by the Constitution, Supreme Court rulings and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but there is a small sect of Christianity called Evangelical/Fundamental/Dominionists (not all Evangelicals are Dominionists but all Dominionists are Evangelicals – I am an Evangelical) that have managed over the past three decades to hijack our military. It is this sect we fight against.
US Army chaplain MAJ James Linzey, who, in a 1999 video, described mainstream Protestant churches as “demonic, dastardly creatures from the pit of hell “that should be “stomped out.”
 
This is the thinking of the military of today throughout the chain of command all the way to the Pentagon. They believe that the only “true” Christian is one that is “born-again” and has a “spiritual birthday.” All mainline Christians (see above) and those Christians born before 1952 when Bill Bright made up the 4 Spiritual Laws are destined to hell.
Imagine being one of the mainstream Protestants in the military who is given poor performance ratings, advancements withheld, putting up with unwanted, in-your-face religious proselytizing because you’re not the ‘right kind of Christian’ or ‘not Christian enough,’ that you ‘should be stomped out’ or kicked out of the military on trumped up charges – all in the name of Jesus.
This is no joke and you are not privy to the emails Mikey gets from our soldiers pleading for help because their very careers depend on stopping all of the above.
No other religion – including mainline Christians – pulls this stuff in the military.
You – unknowingly – are defending the Dominionists to the detriment of all other Christian religions (of which there are over 40,000 denominations worldwide).
Take care!
Pastor Joan

Dear (name withheld)

It’s good to know you’re in the military and are familiar with OCD. You’re also familiar with a number of other things, including what I’m sure you think of

as piercing sarcasm. You are apparently not familiar, however, with some things you probably should brush up on. Let me share one of them with you.

Please see the following:

From: 436 FSS/CC
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 4:19 PM
To: 436 FSS Personnel Only
Subject: //ACTION/ROUTINE//Religious Endorsement

FSS Team,

Recently an email regarding a volunteer opportunity was forwarded to the entire 436 Force Support Squadron. The invitation included in that email also contained language supporting the Christian faith and encouraged participation in this event as an act of Christian faith. I want to be absolutely clear that the email in question was not sent at my direction and is not endorsed in any way by me or any level of command.

AFMAN 33-152 governs permissible uses of government email. Messages can be sent on behalf of base chartered private organizations (e.g. Top 3) and can be sent to notify personnel of events of common interest (e.g. off-base Veteran’s Day parade). However, such messages cannot violate the Joint Ethics Regulation, which prohibits the endorsement of non-Federal entity or event by a DoD employee in their official capacity. Such messages also cannot appear to provide command endorsement of a particular religion.

Moving forward, before using government email to announce non-Federal events, all FSS team members will coordinate any announcement through our First Sergeant.

I appreciate that many members of our unit volunteer their off-duty time in our community in many different ways, and I encourage you to continue doing so as you see fit. However, when government resources, such as email are involved, it is everyone’s responsibility to know what is and is not permissible according to law and regulation. If anyone is unclear about what is required, please contact me or the First Sergeant.

Thanks for all you do every day for all of the Team Dover Family.

v/r
Lt Col Tasker

Donald C. Tasker, III, Lt Col, USAF
Commander, 436th Force Support Squadron
Dover AFB, DE

“FSS…The Best Never Rest”

FSS Vision: Dover Family–Fit, Developed, Resilient

I trust this will make you think more thoroughly before you next make a fool of yourself.

Best,

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)

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