Chick-Fila & USAFA

On Feb 18, 2019, at 9:04 AM,  (name withheld) <> wrote:

I am a parent of a cadet at USAFA.  Chick-Fila has been VERY supportive of the cadets.  I am very thankful for their service to our military, especially at USAFA.  You should be encouraging and supporting companies that support our military.
Mr Bullard is an honorable man, who has accomplished much in his life.  My son registered to hear him speak at NCLS.
As a supposed advocate to our service men and women, MRFF should redirect its energies, and not sabotage those trying to support our great military.

(name withheld)


Response from Founder and President of MRFF Mikey Weinstein
Subject: Re: Chick-Fila & USAFA
Date: February 18, 2019 at 9:13:45 AM MST
To: (name withheld)
…sorry, Leta, but USAFA should not be extending the honor of speaking at this NCLS event, or any other, to organizations which support putrescent hatred against people for simply being born the way they are, such as LGBTQ individuals…..MRFF received 12 direct requests for help from USAFA cadets, faculty and staff to intercede here….not to “sabotage”…..overall, MRFF has well over 400 clients at USAFA…I graduated from there as did 4 of my kids and a brother-ion-law…..
Mikey Weinstein

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere

On Feb 18, 2019, at 3:37 PM, John Compere  wrote:

Dear (name withheld),
 
The US Constitution prohibits our government (which includes the military) from promoting or endorsing a religion version or viewpoint. The US Supreme Court has continuously & consistently confirmed this as the law of our land. US Armed Forces regulations also prohibit the military from promoting or endorsing a religion version or viewpoint. The 1st Amendment lawfully prohibits our government from “respecting” a religion & requires government neutrality as to religion.
 
The secular military is to defend our nation against its enemies (not endorse or promote a religion version or viewpoint). The secular sworn military service oath is to bear true faith & allegiance to the US Constitution (not to a deity or any religion). The military as an institution must remain non-religious by law, regulation, custom & necessity (neither anti-religion nor pro-religion). Mr. Bullard publicly promotes a radicalized religious version & viewpoint that includes hatred toward fellow Americans, including members of the military.
 
Military members, like all Americans, desire & deserve the right to determine, enjoy & practice their own religious or non-religious beliefs. They do not want the religious beliefs of others forced upon them during their military service in their military environment. In this case, military members have requested Military Religious Freedom Foundation representation to protect their constitutional right to religious freedom from Bullard’s regressive religious rhetoric at a coercive event sponsored by their military. We do so with patriotic pride & respect for our military & laws.
 
Religious problems such as these seldom arise when military leaders demonstrate intelligence, integrity & insistence on compliance with law, regulation & religious neutrality. American icon John Wayne put it plainly “The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.”
 
Please go tohttp://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.orgfor more information on this matter.
 
Most Sincerely,
Brigadier General John Compere, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, US Army (Retired)
Former Chief Judge, US Army Court of Military Review
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)

Military Religious Freedom Foundation Advisory Board Member

Texas rancher

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Martin France

On Feb 18, 2019, at 3:53 PM, Martin France wrote:

Dear (name withheld),
I’m  on the MRFF’s Advisory Board and as such, I occasionally respond to emails sent to Mikey–in part because of my unique perspective–I’m a USAFA graduate who served on active duty for more than 37 years.  My son also graduated from USAFA (’06) as did my brother (’82).  I served on the staff there for 17 years.  First off, I’d like to thank you for a very civil, grammatically correct note.  That’s rare among MRFF critics.
Now, pertaining to the recent issue with the Executive Director of the Chic-Fil-A Foundation and the MRFF’s stance opposing his invitation to the Air Force Academy’s NCLS…  The NCLS is an annual event that brings in inspirational leaders and those with life stories that are meant to inspire cadets and to reinforce the values that they are meant to defend after graduation.   Last year, a transsexual airmen and their wife spoke to cadets.  The point was to demonstrate in an inclusive environment that honorable service is not the unique domain of any one gender identity.  It was very well received by all who attended according to the Academy’s Superintendent.
You see, speakers are not invited simply because their organization “supports the military” or the Academy.  I know first-hand that Chic-Fil-A often supports the Academy and cadets.  That’s a good thing, but it doesn’t erase the responsibility they should shoulder for also supporting some of exclusionary and bigoted organizations–which they most certainly do.  And it’s because of this and this along that the MRFF objects to Mr Bullard’s invitation because his organization (and, by inference, he) overtly and financially support organizations that respect only one perspective on sexuality and marriage, or groups that deny access and membership from non-Christians.  In other words, the parent organization and foundation has demonstrated historical bias against the LGBTQ community.  We just don’t think that negative bias and message is appropriate for the NCLS.  Mr Bullard might have an inspiring personal story, but then so does Harvey Weinstein–he’s had a long and very successful career as a movie producer.  David Duke is a leader in the KKK and claims to be a patriotic American who also supports the military, but he’s NOT the kind of leader we’d like to display as an examplar to our cadets, despite that support.  Likewise, Mr Bullard is a leader, but he’s a leader by exclusion.  Therefore, the MRFF is calling on the Academy to rescind Mr Bullard’s invitation for this event.  If the Academy would like to set up a panel of charitable organization directors that have a variety of perspectives (religious, inclusive, discriminatory, international, gender or religious-based, etc, etc) then I don’t think the MRFF would have an issue with the invitation–because balance and a wide variety of perspectives would be on display.  That’s not the case here, though.
Let me also state that the MRFF supports military members of all faiths–including those that hold the traditional Christian view that marriage is a creation of God meant to only be for a man and a woman and not for homosexuals.  They are welcome to hold that view.  But, according to the Constitution and current DoD policy, homosexuals are allowed to serve–and many do so honorably!–and they can’t be the target of bias or discrimination by those that hold anti-LGBTQ views, regardless of rank.  So, you can feel that way, but you can’t allow that view to affect how you treat people in your military organization.  Likewise, those of non-Christian faiths or no faith at all cannot act in a biased manner against Christians.  The MRFF will defend ANY military member who perceives bias based upon their religious perspective.  I hope that’s clear now.
You are certainly welcome to you opinion and voice on this–as are we.  It’s just our job at the MRFF to help give voice and representation to the dozen cadets and staff who are stunned and disappointed by Mr Bullard’s invitation and have taken the time to contact us.  If you know anything about the military, you know that it’s sometimes a very difficult thing to speak up when you think something is wrong–especially when much more senior officers have endorsed this improper invitation.  We know that there are probably MANY other cadets who feel the same way, but are too timid to speak out–they’d rather just stay quiet and move on, cooperate and graduate.  That in itself is sad, too, because i think you’d agree that we’d all like our cadets to brave enough to step forward.  This invitation to Mr Bullard is simply a step backward in many, many ways.
Sincerely,
Marty France, Brig Gen, USAF (Retired)
USAFA ’81
MRFF Advisory Board Member

From: (name withheld)
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2019 16:11
To: Martin France
Cc: Mikey Weinstein; Leta Powell
Subject: Re: Your eMail to MRFF

 

Thank you Mr. France.  I strongly disagree with you, especially the comparison of Mr. Bullard to Duke or Weinstein.  But like I wrote Mr. Weinstein, I appreciate and respect your opinion.

 

Thank you Sir.

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Martin France

On Feb 18, 2019, at 4:18 PM, Martin France  wrote:

Thanks for the response, (name withheld).  And, while I’m sure Mr Bullard is no David Duke, I do believe he is a bigot—simply against a different group.  Whether you’re black or LGBTQ, I personally don’t believe that’s a choice one makes, so the comparison of Mr Bullard and Mr Duke is, for some, a distinction without a difference.  We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one, I’m sure.  Cheers, M


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

On Feb 18, 2019, at 4:30 PM, Mike  wrote:

Dear (name withheld),

I hope I’m correct in responding to all three at once. You appear to be family. If I’m mistaken, I apologize.

Please understand that we are not attempting to “bring down” anyone. We are concerned here only with the message received by the USAFA cadets at their Character and Leadership Symposium.

Your suggestion that Mr. Bullard is “affiliated” with Chick-Fil-A understates his position significantly. He is a highly placed mover and shaker with responsibilities that impact the community at large far beyond selling or serving food, such as overseeing their charitable contributions, for example.

Mr. Bullard’s personal decision as to how he makes a living is his business, and the fact that Chicki-Fil-A has demonstrated generosity to the Academy is irrelevant to the question at hand.

Our objection in this matter has to do with inviting a man to speak at the Air Force Academy’s NCLS who represents a business that is known more for its history of anti-gay bigotry than for the generosity with which you credit it.

When the Academy invites a speaker for its National Character and Leadership Symposium there is, inherent in the invitation, a suggestion of respect and admiration for the speaker and what she or he represents. The young, need I say impressionable, women and men at the Academy who are presented with this particular speaker and what he represents are given the clear impression that this is someone whose life, character and viewpoint are not only admirable but consistent with those of the Academy and the Air Force.

They are not.

Mr. Bullard has a right to believe as he chooses, but the anti-gay philosophy he and his company very publicly represent is not, in the view of the MRFF, a viewpoint that should be given the imprimatur of the Academy, the U.S. Air Force and, by implication, the U.S. Government.

While homosexuality is not a religion, the MRFF has widened its scope to include protection of the rights of gay and transgender women and men in the military not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because an anti-gay agenda is very much part and parcel of the fundamentalist Christian, or dominionist, belief system that is attempting to corrupt the Academy.

I hope that helps clarify our position for you.

Best,

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Beth Zion

    Mr. Farrell, “young and impressionable men and women” good grief, they are adults now who can make up their own minds, what a moron, no wonder you really never made it in Hollywood.

  2. G

    Sorry Zion but even at that stage their lives, young men and women are still vulnerable to manipulation and lies. For your information, acting is not steady employment plus only a small percentage of the actors/actresses get most of the jobs which is why actors and actresses have to do secondary jobs in order to pay the bills.

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