Mikey Weinstein is at it again. For those of you who are not familiar with this fellow, he is the president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Please understand, for my purposes, Mikey is not interested in protecting anyone’s religious freedom. He is interested in making sure there is no trace of faith of any kind to be seen anywhere when it comes to our military bases. Mikey is the one who has been unhappy with Air Force Cadets putting scriptures on their white boards outside of their dorm rooms. Good Heavens! Someone might see a scripture! Quick, someone provide a safe place for our troops! Mikey was also unhappy that MWR hotel facilities had Bibles in the drawers of the nightstands, and successfully had them removed in order to “avoid offense.”
Now Mikey is accosting the higher ups at the Air Combat Command facilities at Joint Base Langley-Eustis due to the fact that they have two unacceptable posters on display. According to Mikey and the people he represents, they are “sexist, offensive,” and use “male-dominated and faith-based speech.”
In Building 602, there is a poster that has lights where the Twin Towers used to be before 9/11. They look like reverse spotlights, and the inspirational text reads as follows: “Men cannot live without faith except for brief moments of anarchy or despair. Faith leads to convictions — and convictions lead to action. It is only a man of deep convictions, a man of deep faith, who will make the sacrifices needed to save his manhood.” The line is a quote found in the Air Force Manual 50-21, and was published in August of 1955.
Notice there is no discussion of what constitutes faith, and in 1955 it wouldn’t have mattered. But, apparently because a historical military document tied to a relatively recent terrorist attack uses the word “man,” “his,” and “manhood,” rather than “person,” “his/her,” and “personhood” or “humanity,” Mikey says it has to go.
A female Airman had complained about the posters, and asserted, “As a proud American woman and equally proud officer in the USAF, those posters from an AF Manual from the mid-1950s serve only as a hurtful reminder of the second-class citizenship women had to suffer for generations prior to eventually being guaranteed equal status under the Constitution that we all swear our oaths to support and defend.”
It is at this point that I want to send everyone involved on a mandatory field trip to Yemen just to gain some perspective on true second-class citizenship, but thankfully, so far the Air Force is standing firm. Major A.J. Schrag told Military.com, “The posters do not officially endorse, disapprove of, or extend preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief, which is the standard established by regulation that would warrant action.”
Mikey has countered by citing Air Force Instruction 1-1, section 2.11, in “Air Force Culture.” It states that airmen, especially commanders and supervisors, “must ensure that in exercising their right of religious free expression, they do not degrade morale, good order, and discipline in the Air Force or degrade the trust and confidence that the public has in the United States Air Force.”
Mikey, I’ll tell you what degrades my confidence in the United States Air Force. It’s when they listen to people like you. And at least for now, because of people who have common sense as well as some spine, a poster which I would have never otherwise seen has inspired me and strengthened my faith. That may not have been your intention, but fella, I gotta thank you!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner