I had the pleasure of hanging out with Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation in North Carolina over the Rock Beyond Belief weekend (and his massive bodyguard, who makes me look petite and is a really great guy). Now MRFF has chalked up another victory, forcing the Air Force to withdraw a clearly out-of-bounds document from an officer training program:
The Air Force has pulled a seven-page mandatory reading that equated chapel attendance with good leadership from its distance learning Squadron Officer School course as of March 28.
The decision came after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation demanded in a March 27 letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz that the service stop using the document on the grounds that it violates the U.S. Constitution.
The document, entitled “Three Important Documents,” was written by the Squadron Officer College staff almost eight years ago. Under a subsection of the document, entitled “Spiritual and Ethical Responsibilities,” officers are directed to “possess the qualities of character that we think of as truly American.”
“If you attend chapel regularly, both officers and Airmen are likely to follow this example,” according to the paper. “If you are morally lax in your personal life, a general moral indifference within the command can be expected.”
An Air Force captain currently taking the course found the statements in the document alarming and provided a copy of it to Air Force Times. He asked not to be named out of fear of reprisal. He also is a client of MRFF.
These are the kinds of cases MRFF handles all the time on behalf of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.