Beginning on January 9, 2016, MRFF received complaints from 18 clients (mostly Christian and including atheist/Muslim/Jewish) regarding the religious messaging contained in the “Motivational Monday Message” posted by Colonel Thomas Hundley on the Health.mil website of the DoD which is the official website of the Military Health Service (MHS) and the Defense Health Agency (DHA). Several of the MRFF clients had a history of being subjected to Col. Hundley’s religious bullying that derived from Col. Hundley’s idea of what was an “approved Christian soldier” under his command. In a 2009 interview, Col. Hundley had stated, “I also work with many of the soldiers and civilians at Fort Jackson. But my message and my principles never change. My first and foremost mission is to spread the good news about Christ.”
After filing a complaint regarding inclusion of a religious proselytizing message on an official website with the Army Regional Health Command at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, MRFF Founder/President Mikey Weinstein stated in an interview with Bryant Jordan of Military.com that:
Apparently, Col. Thomas Hundley can’t figure out whether he’s an active duty senior Army officer or an evangelical Christian missionary. Col. Hundley has absolutely no business or authority under American law to be conflating his Army officer rank, title and position with his professed evangelical Christian faith.”
Mr. Jordan of Military.com also reported in the article posted on January 12, 2016 that in addition to authoring a weekly fitness column, [Col.] Hundley is also the founder of Fit for A King Fitness Ministries LLC, of North Carolina, and author of “Fit For a King: God’s Plan For Weight Loss And Total Health,” which he sells through his website.
On February 3, 2016, Kevin Lilley of the Army Times reported that DHA officials had added a disclaimer to the end of articles posted on the Defense Health Agency website explaining that the work does not necessarily reflect the views of the agency or the military. Mr. Lilley also reported that Mikey Weinstein had commented that the disclaimer is “nothing more than a pathetic attempt to essentially put lipstick on a pig”.
On February 10, 2016, MRFF researchers noted that while the DHA added the disclaimer, the first paragraph of the 25th of January, 2016 message began:
For all of our valued readers coming here for a motivational pick-me-up to start the week, you may be wondering “What’s up with today’s Monday Motivational Message?” We’ve enjoyed Col. Thomas Hundley’s inspiring thoughts here every Monday, and he will continue to be part of Health.mil’s “Monday Motivation,” but we’re expanding the pool of writers contributing to this space. We hope the larger chorus of voices and new points of view expands and improves this experience for everyone.
Obviously Col. Hundley has been ‘demoted’ from featured writer to a pool writer position as a result of the efforts of MRFF on behalf of our clients.