November 26, 2018
MRFF Responds to Overt Sectarian Religious Branding of Thanksgiving Event at Major Overseas Coalition Military Installation
A Thanksgiving event on November 22, 2018 was held for U.S. Military personnel in conjunction with personnel from U.S. Coalition Partners at the Al Udeid Air Base located southwest of Doha, Qatar. This Thanksgiving event included a ‘Bible shaped’ centerpiece cake featuring overt religious passages from the Bible:
Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
According to an entry in Wikipedia: the Al Udeid Air Base (which is also known as Abu Nakhlah Airport) houses Qatari Air Force, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force, and other Gulf War Coalition personnel and assets.
Numerous senior DOD officials expressed serious concerns to MRFF regarding the implied sanctioning by the U.S. Military of this sectarian religious messaging after photos of this cake appeared in a post pertaining to this Thanksgiving event appeared on DVIDS:
DVIDS is a state-of-the-art, 24/7 operation owned by DMA (Defense Media Activity) that provides a timely, accurate and reliable connection between the media around the world and the military serving at home and abroad.
Within 22 minutes after MRFF President/Founder Mikey Weinstein contacted the Commander’s Office of the 104th Fighter Wing, demanding that those responsible for the Biblical cake be held accountable, the Wing Commander’s Office agreed to address the issue. An email sent to MRFF from the Wing Commander’s office stated, “The Wing Commander will be briefed and the situation will be addressed to include removing those pictures from DVIDS. I expect you will hear from our leadership with an update.” On November 27, 2018, MRFF verified the photos had been completely and expeditiously removed from DVIDS.
Coalition partners in a predominantly Muslim country, Qatar, were present at the Biblical cake display as well, which makes matters even more impudent. The U.S. Military displaying a “Biblical Cake” serves only to disrespect and increase tensions with the hosting country. MRFF thanks the Office of the 104th Fighter Wing Commander for expeditiously responding to and addressing this unconstitutional breach of religious freedom and respect in a swift and professional manner.