Air Force Rebuffs Mikey Weinstein Demand for General Olson’s Court-Martial
The Air Force Times reports that the US Air Force has “rebuffed” the demand by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein to court-martial Major General Craig Olson, who spoke at the National Day of Prayer earlier this month:
The Air Force has decided that Olson did not break Air Force Instruction 1-1 by speaking at the “congressionally-supported event,” said service spokesman Lt. Col. Pete Hughes.
“His remarks were his own personal opinions and do not represent the views of the United States Air Force,” Hughes said in an email Thursday to Air Force Times.
The article quotes both Weinstein and his assistant Chris Rodda as citing AFI 1-1, which contains language cautioning “leaders at all levels” about the potential for “establishment of religion.” Neither Weinstein nor Rodda cited the portion of that same regulation that encourages Airmen to “confidently practice” their faiths. Both Weinstein and Rodda presumptuously told Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh how to interpret and apply his own regulation, which his office very recently edited.
For years Weinstein and his acolytes have railed against the public expression of religion — that is, Christianity — by members of the military. Members of the MRFF have claimed military officers cannot even have religious emblems on their personal vehicles because it would violate the Constitution. The MRFF itself is but one small step away from saying that military officers cannot publicly attend church, since, were they to be seen, they would be “coercing” their subordinates and establishing religion. The attack on General Olson, then, is entirely consistent with Weinstein’s beliefs about public expression of Christianity.
Fortunately, the Air Force saw beyond the attack on religious liberty and said simply that General Olson was permissibly expressing his personal opinions. While it would have been nice to see the official statement affirmatively support the exercise of protected liberties, the end result is the same: A respected General officer isn’t being crucified simply because he spoke publicly and positively about his faith and his God — something that offended Mikey Weinstein.
This will serve as a reassurance and encouragement to others, as it demonstrates the Air Force is willing to defend the reasonable public expression of religion by its officers. In so doing, it lets the rest of its Airmen know that they, too, can “confidently practice” — and express — “[their] own beliefs.”
Importantly, the Air Force statement brings closure to the incident, though not likely in the way Weinstein wanted.
Ironically, the Air Force’s response to the attack on religious freedom likely had a positive effect on the culture of religious freedom within the military. For that, we can all be grateful.
Also at the Daily Caller.