Reprimand letter from MRFF to Brig. Gen. Thomas about a tweet from the official Ramstein Air Base Twitter Account

Subject: Tweet from Ramstein Twitter account in violation of AFI 1-1
Date: July 8, 2016 at 10:33:30 AM MDT
To: Brig. Gen. Thomas
Cc: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]>

Brig. Gen. Thomas,
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) was just informed about a tweet from the official Ramstein Air Base Twitter account dated May 26 regarding a prayer service and breakfast, the content of which was:

“Brig Gen Jon T. Thomas invites you to National Prayer Service and Breakfast on Tuesday, 730 at the Officer Club. Fill your spirit and belly!”

The invitation to, and endorsement of, this religious event coming from the Wing commander was in clear violation of AFI 1-1, Section 2.12, which states (emphasis added):

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.

To be in compliance with this Air Force Instruction, any announcements, promotion, or endorsement of a religious event cannot come from the command structure. Any such announcements, invitations, or endorsements must come only from the chapel or chaplain’s office.
Although the date of this particular prayer service and breakfast has already passed, MRFF hereby demands that you refrain in the future from any further invitations to or other endorsements of religious events by the command structure, and ensure that any such invitations or endorsements are issued only by your chaplain’s office.
Chris Rodda
Senior Research Director
Military Religious Freedom Foundation

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