14 active duty clients requested assistance from MRFF after their unit commander (along with the unit commander’s wife & children) planned an ‘optional Easter celebration’ during normal duty hours and in uniform at the unit’s main briefing assembly room. These 14 clients are made up of mostly Christians along with Jewish, Muslim, atheist, and agnostic individuals. They initially contacted the MRFF representative at their military installation who got them into direct contact with MRFF President/Founder Mikey Weinstein. Mikey was able to immediately contact the Executive Officer for their unit commander’s superior officer in order to facilitate a meeting with these MRFF clients.
One client provided a detailed description of the current situation and indicated that the unit commander had a history of inappropriately proselytizing to subordinates:
Thank you to Mr. Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation for providing immediate guidance for us on how to respond to our (military branch name and unit name withheld) attempt to have an “optional Easter celebration” during duty hours and in uniform here in our unit’s main briefing assembly room at (military installation name withheld). “Optional” my ass! As if it ever could be “optional” when from the commander!
This event was to be “hosted” by our commander and his wife. The plan for the event was that they were each going to give bible readings from the New Testament while afterwards handing out milk chocolate rabbits and crucifixes made by the commander’s wife and daughters. They also were going to mark the palms of us with red lipstick with a (military numerical unit designation withheld) for our unit number and to symbolize the blood of Christ on the cross. [emphasis added] But only those of us “who wanted to be marked” they said.
This “Easter celebration” thing is just the latest from our commander and his wife when it comes to constantly using his position to preach the gospel to us. You should have seen what they did to us last Christmas.
This MRFF client described what quickly transpired after they had spoken with Mikey and the installation’s MRFF representative:
Anyway after getting advice from Mr. Mikey Weinstein we all went to (name, rank and military position title withheld) who is above our commander in the chain who always tells us that he has an open door policy. Mr. Weinstein had spoken already to his Exec. and explained how illegal all of this was so this meeting we asked for was green lighted. (Name and rank of senior chain of command officer withheld) agreed with us and said he would stop the “Optional Easter event” announced by our commander and his wife.
The next day it was announced at our weekly unit briefing that the event was cancelled. The commander was too chickenshit to show up and was not even there to announce it as that was done by (unit’s senior NCO’s name and rank withheld).
We don’t know if there was any punishment to our commander for this? But if there is any reprisal to us for getting it stopped with the help of the MRFF we have Mr. Weinstein’s phone number and we won’t just sit back and take it like we have before. Shoutout to Mr. Mikey Weinstein and the MRFF and (name and rank of MRFF installation representative withheld)! Without their help we never would have gotten this mess fixed!