MilitaryReligiousFreedom.org

Fighting for our servicemembers' rights, so they can fight for ours.



Wednesday, January 25, 2017


LACK OF INTELLIGENCE AT NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE INTELLIGENCE CENTER (NASIC)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON
AIR FORCE BASE (AFB) VIOLATES AFI 1-1 (2.11 & 2.12)!

(Click to view full image)

MRFF HAS NO PROBLEM WITH
GLOVE COLLECTION BOXES
FOR THE NEEDY

HOWEVER...

MRFF HAS A SERIOUS PROBLEM WITH CHRISTIAN PROSELYTIZING ON THE PUBLICLY DISPLAYED BOXES AT WRIGHT-PATTERSON NASIC

Long passage from the New Testament Book of Luke and a personalized message from the endorsing Christian organization advertised on the numerous and highly visible signs attached to the glove collection boxes:

On the Road to Emmaus

2 disciples on Emmaus Rd were talking about Jesus being crucified and that his body was missing as they walked. Then a friendly stranger (the risen Christ) walked and talked with them down the road. This stranger opened up the Scriptures to them in ways that brought amazing insights and a longing for more.

Upon arrival, their hears yearned to learn more from Him. He agreed to stay and ate a meal together while talking about the Scriptures. Then their guest took their bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. Instantly they knew: It's Jesus! He has risen from the dead! Later, they said in amazement, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:13-35)

The Ohio Conference Young Peoples Division has helped warm your hands, now please let Jesus warm your heart! We "G"LOVE U and He does too!

Ohio-South Ohio Conference YPD. GLOW GROW GO 4 CHRIST


DAYTON DAILY NEWS
COVERS MRFF
REGARDING FLAGRANT PROSELYTIZING ON
GLOVE COLLECTION BOXES

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Church/state violation
alleged at Wright-Patt

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — A National Air and Space Intelligence Center employee has filed a complaint alleging a violation of Air Force rules on the separation of church and state because of “evangelical” religious references on charity collection boxes for gloves that were inside two NASIC buildings, a copy of the document shows.

A civilian employee filed the complaint Tuesday with the NASIC Inspector General’s office, according to Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which said it is representing 27 Wright-Patterson employees on this issue. According to MRFF, the boxes quoted the New Testament book of Luke verses 24:13-35, and made written references to Jesus Christ.

“If this does not bring about the desired result, this will now open the door to federal court action,” Weinstein said in an interview.

Weinstein said most of the Wright-Patterson employees who support the complaint were of minority or no religious faith, but included Protestants and Catholics. [...]

Click to read on Dayton Daily News

 


Original Email from MRFF Client Bringing the Blatant Proselytizing on Glove Collection Boxes to MRFF's Attention:

From: MRFF Lead Client
Subject: Religious Material at My Workplace
Date: January 22, 2017 at 6:09:49 PM MST
To: Mikey Weinstein

Mikey,

I am sending two emails. This one outlines a situation, the second is the documentation.

I tried correcting a public display of religion at my workplace, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) at Wright-Patterson. Someone was collecting gloves for the needy. I have no issue with the cause, only the manner it was done. There were at least three boxes placed in major hallways inside the building. The collection was approved by the organization, but they did not know it would include a religious message. The poster is attached it says "I GLOVE YOU" on side, with the "G" and "LOVE" different colors. The message reads:

-------
On the Road to Emmaus

2 disciples on Emmaus Rd were talking about Jesus being crucified and that his body was missing as they walked. Then a friendly stranger (the risen Christ) walked and talked with them down the road. This stranger opened up the Scriptures to them in ways that brought amazing insights and a longing for more.

Upon arrival, their hears yearned to learn more from Him. He agreed to stay and ate a meal together while talking about the Scriptures. Then their guest took their bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. Instantly they knew: It's Jesus! He has risen from the dead! Later, they said in amazement, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:13-35)

The Ohio Conference Young Peoples Division has helped warm your hands, now please let Jesus warm your heart! We "G"LOVE U and He does too!

Ohio-South Ohio Conference YPD. GLOW GROW GO 4 CHRIST
----------------

I send a copy of this poster to our command section and asked the posters and collection boxes be immediately removed. I cited a few examples of why this public display of religion and evangelizing is prohibited by DoD and AF instructions. The command section refused to do so as it would be a "knee-jerk reaction" and turned the issue over to the wing that runs Wright-Patterson. The chaplain, judge advocate, and public affairs were to meet on the subject and promised to get back to me. Three duty days they had not contacted me and when I spoke to the chaplain was told that the host wing felt they had no control over what was at NASIC. I then recontacted our command center and was told they would look into the situation. The people I spoke with were polite, but did not seem to understand why I wanted the religious message and collection ended. I then advised my squadron commander that I would file a formal complaint. He asked if I could give him one day to speak to NASIC's judge advocate. The next day the NASIC command center sent a comment (after being prompted by my squadron commander) that future collections will have a disclaimer saying the activity and posters do not necessarily imply an endorsement or official sanction of the unit or the Air Force. To this I shall only say that it is unacceptable.

The NASIC staff will know that I initiated the complaint. I can accept the consequences: Neither the NASIC command staff, wing chaplain and JA seemed to know or wish to adhere to Air Force guidance regarding religious literature or endorsements. They failed to reply to me when they promised to do so. They allowed an offensive message remain posted for at least two days without taking action. In short, the NASIC commander's staff failed to acknowledge and take action on the situation.

MRFF Lead Client

 

*Mikey Sends Demand Email to Colonels Sean Larkin and Bradley McDonald on behalf of 27 Outraged MRFF clients:

From: Mikey Weinstein
Subject: Constitutional Violations at NASIC and 88th ABW
Date: January 24, 2017 at 9:20:23 AM MST
To: Colonels Sean Larkin & Bradley McDonald

Colonels Sean Larkin, Commander, NASIC and Bradley McDonald, Commander 88 ABW,

What in the HELL is wrong with the two of you as senior Air Force Commanders?

We have an extremely serious problem to bring to your expeditious attention this morning and we demand corrective action from the both of you immediately.

My name is Mikey Weinstein and I am the Founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). As you may know, MRFF is a large civil rights organization dedicated to preserving the constitutionally-mandated wall separating church and state in the U.S. armed forces. MRFF currently represents just under 50,000 active duty airmen, sailors, soldiers, marines and veterans in that advocacy endeavor, 96% of them actually being practitioners of the Christian faith.

By now, you are no doubt quite aware of the “I Glove You” charity effort to ostensibly collect gloves for the needy which took place at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) Building observed on January 12 and 13, 2017. Tragically, the Ohio-based Christian group handling these collections also decided to blatantly proselytize their Christian faith to the USAF members assigned to the NASIC Building. How did they accomplish this illicit activity? They “advertised" a long passage from the New Testament Book of Luke on the numerous and highly visible signs attached to these glove collection boxes which were strategically placed near the various entrances of the NASIC Building.

MRFF is currently representing 27 USAF officers, enlisted and civilian personnel who have come to MRFF requesting help to right this terrible unconstitutional wrong. Six of them work at the NASIC Building and the other 21 are assigned to the 88th Air Base Wing (ABW). They represent the Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto, Native American Spiritualist, Protestant and Roman Catholic faiths. There are also some who identify as atheists, agnostics, humanists and secularists among MRFF’s constituency of 27 clients.

They are all absolutely outraged that their NASIC and 88th ABW leadership, to include their respective Judge Advocate and Chaplaincy personnel, have turned a blind eye to the unconstitutional promotion of the Christian faith, via these "glove collection box Christian proselytizing devices”, to the exclusion of all other faiths and no faiths. Since the majority of our 27 MRFF clients under your command fear reprisal and retribution from you, their chain of command, they have come to MRFF to make their demands.

Tell me, Colonels, can you even remotely IMAGINE the literal carnage and horrific appalling affront and insult which would have transpired if the proselytizing signs on those glove collection boxes at NASIC had been for the Islamic faith, or even the Satanic faith or supporting the views of atheism and/or agnosticism?

I will not belabor the vast sea of violations which YOUR allowance of these "glove collection box Christian proselytizing devices” have committed but know that it is egregiously wretched. Besides desecrating the No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights and a plethora of Federal caselaw on same, your pathetic actions of permitting your subordinate troops to be proselytized via the Christian faith also violated many DoD Directives, Instructions and Regulations. In particular, please see Air Force Instruction 1-1, Section 2.11 and, especially, Section 2.12: (key provisions highlighted in enlarged red for ease of review)

2.11. Free Exercise of Religion and Religious Accommodation. Every Airman is free to practice the religion of their choice or subscribe to no religious belief at all. You should confidently practice your own beliefs while respecting others whose viewpoints differ from your own. Every Airman also has the right to individual expressions of sincerely held beliefs, to include conscience, moral principles or religious beliefs, unless those expressions would have an adverse impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, good order, discipline, health and safety, or mission accomplishment.

2.11.1. Your right to practice your religious beliefs does not excuse you from complying with directives, instructions and lawful orders; however, you may request religious accommodation. Commanders and supervisors at all levels must fairly consider requests for religious accommodation. Airmen requesting accommodation will continue to comply with directives, instructions and lawful orders from which they are requesting accommodation unless and until the request is approved.

2.11.2. If it is necessary to deny free exercise of religion or an accommodation request, the decision must be based on the facts presented, must directly relate to the compelling government interest of military readiness, unit cohesion, good order, discipline, health and safety, or mission accomplishment, and must be by the least restrictive means necessary to avoid the cited adverse impact.

2.12. Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause. Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.

Additionally, the seminal 1974 U.S. Supreme Court case of Parker vs. Levy, authored by the extremely conservative Chief Justice William Rehnquist, makes it quite clear that boundaries of one’s constitutional freedom of expression rights in the military may be significantly limited and constrained as opposed to those same boundaries in the non-military sector:

Parker v. Levy:

“This Court has long recognized that the military is, by necessity, a specialized society separate from civilian society... While the members of the military are not excluded from the protection granted by the First Amendment, the different character of the military community and of the military mission requires a different application of those protections. ... The fundamental necessity for obedience, and the consequent necessity for imposition of discipline, may render permissible within the military that which would be constitutionally impermissible outside it... Speech [in any form] that is protected in the civil population may nonetheless undermine the effectiveness of response to command. If it does, it is constitutionally unprotected.” (Emphasis added) Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733, 1974

Your despicable actions of allowing this OBVIOUS Christian proselytizing effort has absolutely savaged the good order, morale, discipline, health and safety, military readiness, mission accomplishment and unit cohesion of your respective military commands in direct abrogation of the Constitution and DoD/USAF regulations, the violation of which are punishable under the Uniform Code of Military justice (UCMJ).

Colonels, what is particularly galling and enraging to our 27 MRFF clients is the fact that you have told our clients that your “corrective action" for the future in such sectarian, religious proselytizing (and related political/gender/racial et al demonstration scenarios) taking place under your command is merely to place some sort of ridiculous disclaimer at the scene of the constitutional crime apparently saying something along the specious lines of “NASIC and the Air Force do not necessarily support the message of this statement” or some other similarly useless verbiage.

SHAME ON THE TWO OF YOU! MRFF WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO POLISH THAT TURD NOR PUT LIPSTICK ON THAT PIG IN SUCH A DISGUSTINGLY SELF-SERVING AND TRANSPARENTLY FACETIOUS TIME, PLACE AND MANNER.

Your actions in proposing such a transparently flawed “fix” are disingenuous at best and dishonest at worse. MRFF cannot tell yet if your actions are willfully malevolent or merely grossly negligent in support of the instant Christian proselytizing matter? It really does not even matter. Remember the old maxim that any sufficiently advanced incompetence is completely indistinguishable from malice. MRFF’s 27 clients view your ignoble actions of either malfeasance or misfeasance here as most malevolent indeed, I can assure you both.

MRFF is also told that you have tried to absolve yourselves here by arguing that none of you KNEW that this Ohio-based church group would be proselytizing their Christian faith on those glove collection boxes. Seriously Colonels? Do I even need to rebut such an idiotic attempt to cover your own asses?

FYI: we have encouraged our MRFF clients to file an official NASIC Inspector General (IG) Complaint in opposition to the unlawful allowance of these “glove collection box Christian proselytizing devices”. If our clients do NOT receive satisfaction from that IG action, they will have exhausted their USAF administrative remedies which will, clear the way for MRFF and its clients to file suit against you and the USAF in Federal Court. In the that regard, MRFF demands that you not destroy and completely safeguard and preserve ANY communications or related hard copy or digital evidence that might be determined to be relevant to such potentially necessary Federal litigation. Also, you can expect that MRFF will soon be fling a comprehensive Freedom of Information Act demand with your organizations on this entire matter. Be ready and responsive for that as well.

Lastly, on behalf of its 27 clients on this sordid matter of the allowance of Christian proselytizing supremacy, exceptionalism and dominance, MRFF demands that all of those individuals who may have been either directly or indirectly responsible for this stinking travesty be thoroughly investigated and identified and appropriately punished for their flagrant violations of Constitutional law as well as DoD and USAF directive, instructions and regulations.

Look, Colonels, no one has an issue with the good idea of providing gloves in the winter to the needy. But the moment that the USAF, as a State Actor, allows for the proselytizing of ANY faith or non-faith tradition to be inextricably intertwined with such an alleged charitable effort, "the gloves will come off” as it were, and we will not allow the destruction of our MRFF clients’ basic constitutional civil rights.

Please advise MRFF accordingly on the status of our demands forthwith.

Sincerely,
Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, Founder and President, MRFF
xxx-xxx-xxxx

*Minor typos corrected by editor


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