Air Force Reverses Mikey Weinstein Ban on Blessed Day

Just a few hours after a Security Forces squadron commander banned his troops from saying “Have a blessed day” in an attempt to appease Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, the Air Force issued a formal reversal, saying there’s nothing wrong with the phrase:

“We are a professional organization defended by a professional force. Our defenders portray a professional image that represents a base all of Middle Georgia can be proud of. Defenders have been asked to use the standard phrase “Welcome to Team Robins” in their greeting and can add various follow-on greetings as long as they remain courteous and professional.

The Air Force takes any expressed concern over religious freedom very seriously. Upon further review and consultation, the Air Force determined use of the phrase “have a blessed day” as a greeting is consistent with Air Force standards and is not in violation of Air Force Instructions.”

Robins Air Force Base should get credit for the most affirmative statement ever in a Weinstein-reversal, in which they not only undid the ban but also firmly supported the statement in question.

The Robins statement generated nearly 2,000 likes and hundreds of comments on the Robins AFB Facebook page — a page that normally has little more than single digits of either.  (A Facebook page created specifically for the “scandal” entitled Blessed Day at Robins AFB generated more than 5,000 likes in hours.)

Weinstein had claimed that the phrase violated AFI 1-1, but this isn’t the first time Weinstein’s interpretations of Air Force regulations have been wrong.  Weinstein also suffered pushback from some of his own supporters, some of whom felt this was overreach and an overreaction to someone just trying to express goodwill.

In response to the Air Force reversal, Weinstein had a ridiculous comment:

Weinstein said…he feels bad for the security forces commander for having his authority undermined by the service.

The commander gets his authority from the Air Force, not the other way around. The Air Force cannot “undermine” that for which it creates the criteria and standards — and that which it has the authority to grant or remove.

Weinstein also claimed that if the Airman had used a non-Christian phrase, the public response would have been different…

…except the phrase “have a blessed day” isn’t Christian. Weinstein had claimed the phrase was a subversive attempt to convert others to Christianity, which makes about as much sense as saying the word “peace” would convert someone to Judaism.

To Weinstein, though, it was close enough to being Christian to attack it, and attacking Christianity is what he wants to do.

The incident is an interesting warning to Weinstein, though.  He went around the Wing leadership and directly to a squadron commander — one who probably (ignorantly, if innocently) just tried to make Weinstein go away.  Now that the Air Force has been raked through the national media again because of having to reverse its capitulations to him, it is likely more lower-level commanders will be reminded not to make policy changes simply because activist lawyers call their direct lines.

Also, once the incident hit the national press, it was reversed almost immediately.  In other words, Weinstein’s future “victories” may be short-lived, unless he keeps them to himself — which, given his outsized ego, isn’t going to happen.

As a parting shot, Weinstein said he would

see if any of [his] clients are prepared to sue the Air Force in federal court about this matter…

“The Air Force has not heard the last of this.”

There may be some truth to that.  Should the Air Force continue to allow its commanders to kowtow to Weinstein — only to have to take to national news outlets to explain their reversal hours later — this incident will serve as an example on that list, and everyone from advocacy groups like the Military Religious Freedom coalition to the US Congress will probably remind them of it.

More likely, though, this incident will simply be one more added to the unending list of empty threats Weinstein has made about “aggressive” and “immediate” lawsuits where the US military can “tell it to the judge.”  Those lawsuits never happened.  If there’s one thing Weinstein is good at, its talking a big talk — because talk is cheap.

One thing left out of most discussions, though, has been the supposed instigator: the Airman who arrived at Robins and complained almost immediately.  It’s likely the complaint was coached by the MRFF, as others have been in the past.  Regardless, there is apparently an Airman at Robins who is so offended by the phrase “have a blessed day” that he’s willing to allow his Air Force to be publicly castigated by an anti-Christian activist over it.

Should he continue to remain anonymous, the rest of the Air Force can only hope that he learns to tolerate the differing beliefs of those around him, and especially benign phrases that really don’t express any belief at all.  As the Secretary of the Air Force recently said, the Air Force values its diversity; it doesn’t try to stomp it out.

Also at the Stars and Stripes, OneNewsNow, Local Channel 41, and the Telegraph.