On 13 May 2016, the Morning Calm Chapter Adjutant General Corps Ball was held in Seoul, South Korea. At this event, a POW / MIA table was on display. To add gravitas to the display, a ceremony was enacted during the official portion of the ball. This ceremony described the objects on the table, and their significance. According to MRFF client complaints, the last component to this POW / MIA table was a bible which essentially declared that every POW and MIA person was a Christian. On May 18, 2016, a MRFF client effectively summarized their complaint regarding the implications of this ceremony:
There is simply no way that this [all POW/MIAs are Christian] is true or accurate. A simple walk through Arlington National Cemetery could show this fact. To add insult to injury, this was the Adjutant General Corps; they know the regulations and work with everyone’s personal files. This felt like an egregious advancement of a senior officer’s personal agenda. As a Secular Humanist Atheist, there is no way that I felt part of the team after this transgression. Placing the Christian label on all uniformed personnel is a gross violation of religious freedom, and a warning shot to “fit in, or be ostracized.” Furthermore, it adds a degree of difficulty when working with other religions, and the non-religious, on the world stage.
MRFF President/Founder Mikey Weinstein immediately contacted the commanding officer of the 8th Army on behalf of MRFF’s clients. On May 20, 2016, Mikey was informed that by the Inspector General (IG) of the 8th Army that he has been directed to conduct a full investigation of this ceremony as described by MRFF’s client.
As a result of this investigation, Kim Gamel of Stars and Stripes reported on June 27, 2016 that 8th Army spokesman Lt. Col. Catina Barnes-Ricks stated that the 8th Army has disseminated guidance throughout the command that an improper official endorsement of any religion during an official military function is unacceptable. However, because the ball was sponsored by the Morning Calm chapter the 8th Army determined that attendance at the event was voluntary. MRFF disagrees with any claim that that the ball was not an official event. Based upon the involvement of uniformed military personnel, military color guard, and many other military aspects pertinent to this event MRFF Founder/President Mikey Weinstein stated that “we think it is completely disingenuous and dishonest to argue that these balls are not an official Army event. These events are filled with Army pomp and circumstance … and having a POW/MIA table with a Bible on it is wrong.”