On November 2, 2015, the Volunteer Resource Coordinator for the 42nd Force Support Squadron located at Maxwell AFB emailed a list of volunteer opportunities to be disseminated throughout the organizations/units of the 42nd Air Base Wing. Contained within this list was a request for volunteers to participate in the ‘Capital 10 Miler Run’ sponsored by Centerpoint Fellowship Church in support of ‘Operation Heal our Patriots’.
Operation Heal Our Patriots gives wounded veterans and their spouses the opportunity for spiritual refreshment, physical renewal, and marriage enrichment. Couples participate in Biblically-based seminars that help strengthen their relationships with God and others and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation with outdoor activities at our Alaskan wilderness lodge. We continue to support these men and women after their initial stay, keeping their spiritual needs and marriages a priority.
The volunteers were requested to be in their dress blues at the finish line to hand out race medals.
MRFF President/Founder Mikey Weinstein was contacted by 26 active duty USAF officer, NCO and civilian clients (19 being Christian) who were concerned with the official sanction of the U.S. military by allowing participants to be in uniform at an event sponsored by a religious entity for the purpose of supporting a religious/proselytizing program. ‘Operation Heal Our Patriots’ (like ‘Operation Christmas Child’) is an evangelical proselytizing effort operated by Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse which describes itself as:
“The organization [Samaritan’s Purse] serves the Church [Billy Graham Evangelistic Association] worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ”
Within 3 hours of being made aware of this violation of U.S. Air Force regulations regarding religious neutrality, the 42nd FSS email the following correction to all organizations/units of the 42nd AWB:
Volunteer Opportunity 5, Capitol 10 Miler Run, is not eligible for publication by government e-mail and should not have been published as a volunteer opportunity. Wear of the Air Force uniform is NOT authorized.
Following this prompt corrective action the Executive Officer to the Commander of the 42nd ABW express appreciation to Mikey/MRFF via email stating: “Thanks for letting us work this at our level. We will be conducting training sessions to prevent this type of mistake in the future. You were a pleasure to work with.”