Easter Basket Solicitation Violation; Thank You MRFF

Mikey,

I would like to thank you and your team for your assistance this past week.

I am a (USAF position withheld) at (USAF base name withheld) AFB, working under the (USAF assigned unit name withheld)   At a recent Commander’s Call, our Commander stated that several individuals had noted feeling alienated and marginalized by others in the unit due to differences in religious, political, and personal opinions.  The Commander made it clear that he expected everyone’s beliefs to be tolerated and that he did not condone such an environment of hostility.  

Then, last week, an email was sent out to our entire unit by a member of the Commander’s staff inviting us all to a location in the (USAF assigned unit name withheld) to make Easter baskets for local children.  This was billed as a “volunteer opportunity.”  I thought this email looked fishy, and immediately knew to reach out to an entity who could help–the MRFF.

Within minutes of emailing the MRFF my concerns, Mikey Weinstein called me and told me I was absolutely correct to be suspicious.  Sending an email from the Commander’s office asking all of those under his Command to participate in an activity that clearly favors one religious belief–in this case, Christianity–is in direct violation of constitutional church-state separation mandates and AFI 1-1, Section 2.12:  “Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause.” This critical USAF regulatory Instruction states, “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.” 

With Mikey’s assistance and backing, I sent an email to my Commander bringing this matter to his attention, with Mikey on the “cc” line.  I told him such an email constitutes a direct endorsement of a particular religion by leadership and that such emails are a clear example of the hostile, intolerant climate he had hoped to address!  Happily, the Commander reached out to me within a short time and told me that he absolutely agreed with my assessment, he had no intention of ever endorsing a particular religion, he would use this as a learning experience for his staff and the entire unit, and he would make sure the Chaplain’s office is consulted instead on such events.   

Thanks so much to Mikey and the MRFF for their help in this matter.  If I had not had an organization like the MRFF to turn to, I would not have had the knowledge or support to confront such proselytizing.  This matter was dealt with quickly and without escalation–a clear testament to the power of the MRFF!  Thanks for fighting for us!

Very gratefully,

(USAF Member’s name, rank, unit and USAF installation all withheld)

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6 Comments

  1. Connie

    Concerns addressed? Check
    Learning opportunity recognized? Check
    Empowerment of our military? Double check
    Chaplains get another volunteer opportunity? Triple check

    Thank you letter writer and MRFF. I have BINGO!!! (I like this version of the game best)

  2. Joshua Rownd

    So, if the Protestant or Catholic chaplain sent out the email it would be okay then? So, let me guess, the local children got cheated out of Easter baskets then huh? Aren’t you the joy and happiness killers for children!!

    Thankfully though, Easter has nothing to do with bunnies or eggs, it is all about the resurrection of Jesus from the grave and Him conquering the power of the grave.

    HE IS RISEN!!

  3. G

    “Thankfully though, Easter has nothing to do with bunnies or eggs, it is all about the resurrection of Jesus from the grave and Him conquering the power of the grave.”

    HE IS RISEN!!

    Yeah JR, then why we make a big deal out of having Easter Bunny egg hunts and buying chocolate Easter eggs?

    So what that he has risen? He did not come back as he promised before his generation died off.

    “…..the local children got cheated out of Easter baskets then huh? Aren’t you the joy and happiness killers for children!!”

    Hey JR, how many children got cheated out of Easter baskets because their parents couldn’t afford to buy them since they are so poorly paid?

  4. Connie

    JR writes “So, if the Protestant or Catholic chaplain sent out the email it would be okay then? ”

    JR, are you really this ignorant? You have been commenting for a while yet you still don’t know how the military functions?

    As I understand the lay of the land, the Chaplains Office handles all the religious needs for the troops, no matter what flavor of faith is needed. I’ve read stories that Atheists are asking for representation too. Ha! That has to bend the mind of a Dominionist chaplain who is required to assist a Pagan.

    My point is no matter the faith or lack of faith, when a volunteer opportunity becomes available it’s best to let the Chaplains Office handle it in order to not push the superior officers faith or lack of faith onto their subordinates. It’s about respect, discipline, and protocol.

    It’s about my right to be free of your faith JR, just as the founding fathers intended. You have the right to believe as you see fit for you. The Constitution says you must honor my rights as well as your own. As an avowed Dominionist JR I just don’t see you honoring that agreement.

  5. Connie

    I’ve looked through several conversations to confirm my hypothesis. JR has yet to answer either questions or comments I’ve directed to him.

    I have a theory for this lack of response – like JR’s heroes the Christian Fighter Pilot and USAF Chaplain (Capt.) Sonny L. Hernandez, he believes the wimmenz folk should not speak of matters of faith. I guess the fact we are correct impedes the menfolks ability to hear the voice of their deity or something.

    Women have been silenced for too long. Today belongs to people of color, to all things gender queer, to faiths not practiced in the mainstream. It belongs to everyone historically silenced. We are loud. We are proud. And we will not be silenced any more.

    What are you afraid of JR? It’s not as if people like you manipulated the system in order to remain in power. Oh, wait……

  6. Mark Sebree

    Connie,

    To be fair, JR doesn’t really reply to anyone, nor does he answer anyone’s challenges or questions.

    At a guess, JR is afraid to more clearly demonstrate his ignorance, his bigotry, and his complete disrespect and disregard for the rights and opinions of others more than he does already.

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