October 27, 2019
MRFF Provides Crucial Assistance (Twice) to Clients Seeking to Save Halloween Party for Military Unit and Their Families
MRFF received a thank you email on October 27, 2019 from an active duty client (junior officer rank), representing 15 total clients, located at a U.S. Military Facility regarding the sudden and unexpected cancellation of a traditional annual Halloween Party for members of their military unit’s personnel and families. This client had been in charge of planning for this traditional annual event for the unit since July/2019. After working with other members of their military unit, along with family members of unit personnel in planning for this traditional Halloween Party, the unit unexpectedly received notification that the event had been cancelled by their unit Commander:
However just last week our (superior military unit’s name withheld) Commander made the totally sudden decision to cancel this event for the first time in anyone’s memory. He claimed that having our (military unit’s name withheld) celebrate Halloween was “disrespectful to Christian personnel” as it elevates “satan over Christ”.
WTF? I could not believe this happened? My spouse and many others were shocked. And by the way my spouse and I are both church going Christians as are most of the others helping with this Halloween event.
According to MRFF’s client contact on this matter, the worst part of this situation was that when the MRFF clients and other party organizers attempted to address this matter through their unit’s proper chain-of-command, they were too frightened for their careers to address any challenges to the Commander’s decision. These MRFF clients were met with the same frightened reactions when they approached the unit’s JAG and Chaplain personnel … fear of career retribution in questioning this Commander’s unexpectedly sudden and religiously tinged decision.
Having nowhere else to turn within the unit’s normal chain-of-command for assistance, the MRFF client representative in this matter turned to their sister (also an active duty U.S. Military officer) for advice:
When I called her as a last resort she suggested contacting the MRFF for help as she did when she was a (cadet or midshipman) at the U.S. (military branch name withheld) Academy a few years ago. I never thought that I too would need the MRFF’s help as she had.
Mr. Mikey Weinstein actually answered my first call himself and spent almost an hour on the phone with me & my spouse and some of the other folks in our (military unit’s name withheld). Mikey and MRFF representatives at the military installation found a (military branch name withheld) regulation and US Supreme Court case which we could use to fight back. The very next day our (military unit’s name withheld) Commander rescinded his prior canceling of the Halloween event and it was back on!
However, the Commander’s decision to rescind the cancellation included a stipulation that no one (particularly children) could wear certain types of costumes the Commander found to be objectionable:
But unfortunately he also made a decree that no one, especially children, could wear costumes that were of a “satanic nature” or “celebrating satan” such as “devil, demon, witch, vampire, monster or skeleton” costumes. There were many other Halloween costumes on the list which were likewise banned. Including pumpkin costumes! One of my kids was going to be the cutest pumpkin for Halloween. No one challenged our (military unit’s name withheld) Commander here again. That was too much to believe! We went back to our chain of command and they told us to just be “satisfied that we’re even having a Halloween party.”
After contacting Mikey and MRFF a 2nd time in an attempt to save the event for the unit members and family (this time regarding these costume restrictions) the costume restrictions dictated by the Commander were likewise rescinded the very next day. According to the representative for these MRFF clients “The MRFF was 2 for 2 in saving Halloween!” The representative of MRFF’s clients in this matter described the unit’s overall feelings regarding this matter:
This whole thing has given me, my spouse and many others here at (military installation name withheld) a true wake up call to the illegal stronghold which certain Christian commanders have on the (name of military branch withheld). Unless you have gone through this yourself it is hard to digest and believe. You feel alone and small. And disappointed and confused.
But the worst of all of this was not receiving support from our intermediate commanders whom we went to for help first. Most of them admitted they supported us silently but none of them would do so on the record to our (military unit’s name withheld) Commander. Which is why we all followed my sister’s advice to then call the MRFF.
I know that me and my family and those who worked with us to keep the Halloween party and allow for the usual Halloween costumes may still face blowback from our chain and the (military unit’s name withheld) Commander. All because we sought help from the MRFF and Mr. Weinstein. Everybody pretty much knows that the MRFF was involved now. Even if that happens it will still have been worth it. We upheld our oaths to the Constitution to keep church and state apart. And we will call the MRFF again to help us fight the blowback!
Thank you to Mikey Weinstein, And the MRFF reps here at (military installation name withheld) and everybody at the MRFF for standing up for us when no one else would do it. (military officer’s name, rank, title, military unit and military installation all withheld)