MRFF Stops Blatant Sectarian Religious Harassment of Jewish Air Force Pilot
August 5, 2022
MRFF was contacted by an Air Force Pilot and family that was being relentlessly harassed over his Jewish faith by his commander and the commander’s wife. The MRFF client’s commander and his wife held weekly ‘Bible Study’ that they routinely and aggressively pressured the commander’s subordinates to attend. After having met MRFF President/Founder Mikey Weinstein while attending the Air Force Academy, this MRFF client remembered Mikey and MRFF’s commitment to help military members/families like theirs. After discussing various options for dealing with this sectarian religious harassment via established regulations, this client sought MRFF’s assistance based on the commander’s “reputation for strong-arming other members of the (USAF unit name withheld) to attend his and his wife’s weekly Bible studies”. Mikey quickly spoke with several officer within this client’s chain-of-command regarding this blatantly illegal religious harassment.
The wife of this Jewish Air Force pilot, who happens to be a Christian (Baptist) and the daughter of a Baptist pastor, emailed Mikey regarding the situations history as well as the results of MRFF’s intervention on her husband’s behalf:
From: (Spouse of Active Duty USAF Pilot/MRFF Client’s E-mail Address Withheld)
Subject: “Jews do not go to heaven”
Date: August 5, 2022 at 9:08:40 AM MDT
To: Information Weinstein <[email protected]>
Hello Mr. Weinstein and the wonderful women and men of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
It’s been a few months since you and the MRFF helped my husband and I to deal with a toxic situation at his military workplace (which is often the AF flight line) involving religion which had caused us great harm and distress.
We are an Air Force family and my husband is in it for a career.
He is of the Jewish faith and I am Christian (Baptist). My dad is a baptist pastor. In fact he and a rabbi both officiated at our wedding. We have 3 young kids and we are doing our best to try to delicately raise them within the positive aspects of both faiths. It’s not easy but that task is our business alone and should not be of concern to the Air Force.
My husband’s (command title withheld) Commander was nonstop in pestering him at work to attend the weekly Bible study he and his wife host every Wednesday evening at their home. They live on base and so do we. The nagging was incessant and during duty hours. It became out of control when one day his commander told my husband that he should attend the Bible study with me if my husband “had any desire to be in heaven with your wife and children after you die because unsaved Jews do not go to heaven.”
My husband became very angry. His commander has so much control over my husband’s AF career and also over our family’s future as a result. He told his (command title withheld) Commander to his face “leave me and my family alone about your Bible study group!” in front of others in the (USAF unit name withheld) who had also witnessed the boss’ statement to him about “unsaved Jews” not going to heaven.
My husband is a pilot and graduated from the AF Academy in the year 201X. He had met Mr. Weinstein when he spoke to a large gathering at the AF Academy one time. So he fortunately knew all about the MRFF. We talked about it and agreed that my husband and I would call Mr. Weinstein to get the MRFF’s advice as to how to handle this on duty harassment from his AF boss.
So we called him late on a weekday night. Mr. Weinstein could not have been more kind and compassionate and helpful in carefully laying out our options to fight back. He also made us aware of some AF regs which were right on point in our favor and against what was beiing done to us by my husband’s boss.
In the end we asked Mr. Weinstein to handle the matter personally because we did not have confidence that the AF agencies who are supposed to help would do so. Also, this particular (command title withheld) Commander had quite a reputation for strong-arming other members of the (USAF unit name withheld) to attend his and his wife’s weekly Bible studies. And nobody else apparently had ever objected to our knowledge.
Mr. Weinstein called several officers in my husband’s chain of command and within the next day or so the Bible study harassment just stopped flat out!.
My husband’s boss has never said anything to my husband about it all or as to an apology. We are both pretty nervous regarding when my husband’s next officer’s rating report is to come out. Also, I ran into the wife of my husband’s (command title withheld) Commander at the base commissary with her children in tow shortly after all of this happened. She gave me a very nasty look and took off quickly with her grocery cart and kids.
I’m sorry it took us so long to write a note of thanks but we will never forget this intervention by the MRFF to bring peace back to our lives.
My husband’s Jewish faith should never have been used by his commander to force us both to come to those Bible studies put on by him and his wife.
If anything bad happens going forward we will not hesitate to call the MRFF again. And we want other military families to know about the MRFF and that there is hope and a place to go where they will fight for you. Please do not use our identities or other information beyond what we’ve approved in this letter.
(name of USAF pilot’s wife withheld, USAF installation and location name withheld)
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