Robins AFB Reverses Anti-Christian Decision

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Main_Gate_Robins_AFBTUPELO, Miss.—Recently, personnel at the gate of Robins Air Force Base in Georgia received a surprise when they were told they could no longer tell base visitors to “have a blessed day.” The directive came after an airman lodged a complaint after hearing this greeting at the gate.

Instead of going to his superior, however, the airman took his objection to the anti-Christian leader of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Mikey Weinstein, who quickly called the base, demanding the base take action. In the space of a three-minute phone call, the commander caved to Weinstein’s demands. But Weinstein’s victory was short lived. And Robins soon thereafter rightfully reversed the decision and now continues to allow staff to use the greeting of “have a blessed day.”

American Family Association (AFA), which regularly champions religious freedom for America’s military, praised the reversal.

“We were pleased to see Robins Air Force Base take corrective action to stop this attack on our troops’ religious liberties,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “Efforts to strip the religious liberties of those serving in the military are simply unfounded and inexcusable, and we are committed to defending the rights of those fighting so selflessly for all of our freedoms.”

AFA’s news service, OneNewsNow.com, also recently reported that according to an advocate for religious freedom in the military, some Air Force commanders have been told to just “send it up the chain of command” when they get a complaint from Weinstein.

“I’ve been told by a confidential source that senior leaders at the Air Force are now instructing commanders that [they] do not have to listen every time Mikey calls,” Ron Crews of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty told OneNewsNow.

Crews also told OneNewsNow that military officials have told him the days of Weinstein’s bullying are over. Air Force commanders, he says, are being told that when the MRFF founder calls, “tell him, ‘Thank you for the call,’ and then send it up the chain of command so they can start making correct decisions early on.”

“I think there are some in the senior leadership of the Air Force who are really wanting to do the right thing now—and I’m grateful for that,” the retired chaplain said.


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  • Mike Challman

    The MRFF is not an anti-Christian organization. I’m a lifelong, active and committed Christian and also an MRFF supporter. Rather, we are a pro-Constitution group

    The issue at Robins AFB was not about a personal expression of faith. Instead, the security forces were instructed or sanctioned to use, as part of the ‘official’ greeting at the base entrance, a religious message. That elevates it from a personal, informal comment (such as a conversation between peers) to one which now has the color of official authority or sanction.

    Frankly, as a personal matter I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment - we do well when we seek God’s blessing. But in an official military setting the time, place and manner of such an expression is important, and in this case it is off-base (no pun intended).

    I’d ask you to consider what the conservative commentary might have been if the ‘sanctioned’ gate greeting had been “Assalamu Alaykum” (Muslim), or “Namaste” (Hindu), or even “Welcome to Robins AFB and remember that religion is the opiate of the masses” (Atheist). I can assure you that the response from MRFF would be exactly the same in each of those cases. But I’d wager that the conservative response would be entirely different, and that reveals why the “blessed” greeting is problematic from a Constitutional perspective.

    Thanks for allowing me to post this comment.

    • http://www.americanclarion.com/ Bob Ellis

      What would the reaction have been if a gate guard (I used to be one in the Air Force) had said, “Assalamu Alaykum”? While the vast majority of Americans are not Muslim, nor is our nation founded in any way on Islamic principles (like our nation is founded on Christian principles), I have no doubt that any number of Leftist groups would have lined up to defend a Muslim gate guard’s right to say that.

      What would the reaction have been if a gate guard had said, “Namaste”? While the vast majority of Americans are not Hindu, nor is our nation founded in any way on Hindu principles (like our nation is founded on Christian principles), I have no doubt that any number of Leftist groups would have lined up to defend a Hindu gate guard’s right to say that.

      What would the reaction have been if a gate guard had said, “Welcome to Robins AFB and remember that religion is the opiate of the masses”? While the vast majority of Americans are not Marxists or communists, nor is our nation founded in any way on Marxist principles (like our nation is founded on Christian principles), I have no doubt that any number of Leftist groups would have lined up to defend a Marxist gate guard’s right to say that.

      Did a gate guard greeting people with “Have a blessed day” in any way constitute congress “mak[ing a] law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”? No.

      Did a gate guard greeting people with “Have a blessed day” in any way establish a state religion? No.

      Did a gate guard greeting people with “Have a blessed day” in any way establish a state church? No.

      Did a gate guard greeting people with “Have a blessed day” in any way force people to perform acts of fealty to a particular religion? No.

      Then it is obvious there was no problem with it, other than God-haters getting their panties in a bunch any time they get reminded of the fact that the vast majority of Americans are, in fact, Christian in origin and that this nation was founded on Christian principles.

      I’ll take you at your word that you are a Christian (I have nothing, other than your affiliation with an anti-Christian group, to indicate you aren’t), but why a Christian would want to be a member of and join with God-haters to harass people for expressing their faith publicly, and acknowledging our nation’s rich Christian heritage openly, I cannot understand. Why a so-called “Christian” would want to join God-haters in promoting the lie that in a free country, one must keep their most deeply-held values and principles a secret in public, I’ll never know.

      After all, as President George Washington said in his farewell address:

      Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

      It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

      • Mike Challman

        Hi Bob - Thanks for your comments. I always appreciate hearing the thoughts of others, even if they happen to include a veiled ad hominem attack. To that point, I’d be curious to know where you get the confidence to label me as a ‘so-called “Christian”’ – that sort of critique appears to me to be the sort of thing that is creating some of the religious freedom issues in today’s military. To wit, some Christians seem to believe that they can act as arbiters of who is or is not a ‘real Christian’. Further, they believe that they can actively, at all times and in all situations, promote their particular brand of Christianity over all other interpretations and over all other religious beliefs, even if this violates the Constitutional rights of those with whom they disagree.

        As to your three responses about “what would the reaction have been” to the scenarios that I proposed, I have a couple of critiques:

        First, you seem to hang onto the point that “the vast majority of Americans” are not Muslim, Hindu, or Atheist. While that is true, I have to ask – so what? Even the minority of Americans are entitled to the same Constitutional protections as the majority. In fact, lately have been studying up a bit on the Great Debate that took place at the time of the drafting and ratification of the US Constitution, and one of the specific things that Monroe and Hamilton specifically caution against in the Federalist papers is that the tyranny of the majority can put at risk the rights of minorities and individuals.

        Second, my question was not what you thought the “Leftist” reaction would be in those cases. I can’t speak for what “Leftist groups” would do in any case, although you are probably right that some might take the stance you’ve suggested – however, MRFF is not one of those groups. I’d actually asked what you think the reaction would have been from Conservative groups in those cases (AFA, for example, which is referenced in this article)? Do you believe they would have been supportive? Do you think they would have remained silent? My contention is that if one form of religious expression is acceptable, and another is not, then the root problem is self-evident, and it’s a Constitutional one.

        Regarding your comments about whether a gate guard greeting results in any of the outcomes you’ve listed, you are partially on point but you also miss part of the point. Any official or sanctioned preference or promotion of a specific religious belief contravenes the intent of both the Constitution and USAF guidelines. This is strongly supported by 200+ years of Constitutional interpretation and case law. I’d suggest that your interpretation is overly narrow, although I understand that is necessary in order to support your argument.

        I’ll skip over your impolitic remarks about God-haters and their panties, other than to say again that the MRFF is not an anti-Christian organization despite your continued insistence to the contrary. The MRFF does NOT believe that “one must keep their most deeply-held values and principles a secret in public.” For one thing, the MRFF does not take a position on issues that do not pertain to the US military. Further, we absolutely support the right for military members to hold whatever belief they wish to hold, and to express it freely in the appropriate time, place and manner.

        I’ll also mention that, while the Washington quote you’ve posted is certainly inspirational, and while I personally agree with his sentiment, if your suggestion is that the prevailing view of religious freedom among our founding generation, in the late 18th century, can be directed translated to the pluralistic society that America is in the 21st century, then I’d suggest that you assume too much. In fact, I’d argue that our founders were prescient in crafting a Constitution that can remain viable even after more than two centuries, in an America that is very different from colonial times.

        But even more importantly, I think the most compelling line of the entire Washington quote is this one:

        “It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.”

        This is a wise and true observation, but it does not apply only to your view of Christianity. The US military is comprised of many virtuous and moral individuals of many beliefs (including non-belief). All of them are entitled to live and work in an environment where, from an ‘official’ perspective, their individual beliefs are treated equally and respectfully. Otherwise, what is the value of the Constitution that they’ve sworn to support and defend?

  • Justthefactsmaam

    For those who claim to be Christian: Leviticus 18:22, 1 Cor 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-28, Leviticus 20:13, 1 Timothy 1:10, 1 Corinthians 7:2,1 Timothy 1:10-11, Mark 10:6-9, Jude 1:, Romans 1:27, Romans 13:8-10,Romans 1:32, James 4:12, Hebrews 13:1-25, Matthew 19:11-12, Isaiah 56:3-5, Genesis 19:1-38,1 Kings 14:24, 1 Corinthians 7:7-9, Judges 19:22, Leviticus 20:13-15, Revelation 21:8, Ephesians 5:1-21, John 8:7-11, Galatians 5:16-21,Matthew 5:17-19,1 Thessalonians 4:1-8,Genesis 2:18-25, Romans 1:21-28, Colossians 3:1-8,Acts 15:29, 2 Corinthians 12:21, 1 Corinthians 7:2-5. And last but not least: Revelation 22:19

    • WXRGina

      For those who claim to be Christians, you cite Bible verses? That’s nice. We love the Bible-and we also understand what it means, unlike atheist-types who attempt to use it while having no understanding of it whatsoever.

    • DCM7

      And your point is…?