Mikey Weinstein Attacks Air Force over Operation Christmas Child
Four years ago Michael “Mikey” Weinstein attacked the US Air Force Academy when cadets sent out emails to the rest of the cadet wing announcing their involvement in Operation Christmas Child (OCC). Weinstein’s asinine demands resulted in media confusion but no real change to what USAFA cadets were doing.
Now Weinstein is after Air Force involvement in OCC again, and his position is just as ludicrous.
Briefly, Weinstein says (PDF) a commander’s secretary — whom he identifies as Ms. Valencia Branch, a GS-05 — forwarded a “volunteer opportunity” to the 436 FSS at Dover AFB, Delaware. The announcement was for a “packing party” of Operation Christmas Child boxes at the local Calvary Community Center in Dover.
Weinstein ridiculously claims this announcement constituted a violation of Air Force regulations, DoD Instructions, ethics regulations, and federal law.
If unit email policies allow the commander’s secretary (or anyone else) to forward email announcements on car washes, barbecues, and community events, then an announcement for an Operation Christmas Child event is just as permissible as any other. If unit policies prohibited someone from emailing a message about OCC only because of its religious association, it would constitute discrimination by the government on the basis of religion.
That Weinstein has a vile hatred for Franklin Graham‘s Samaritan Purse or Christians in general does not require the US Air Force to implement his bigoted policies.
That Weinstein has allies within the Air Force who agree with his ideology and don’t understand Air Force regulations does not legitimize his accusations.
And, with no offense intended to Ms. Branch, a forwarded email by a GS-05 hardly constitutes “government endorsement”. A GS-05 is an entry-level position that doesn’t even require a college degree. That Weinstein ascribes to Ms. Branch the power of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force does not suddenly elevate the secretary to a command position.
Still, in a potential affront to the Air Force’s guidance on dealing with Mikey Weinstein, the Dover AFB wing commander personally responded and told Weinstein he was “looking into this:”
From: “GRISMER, MICHAEL W JR Col USAF AMC 436 AW/CC”
Date: October 19, 2015 at 4:38:46 PM MDT
To: Mikey Weinstein, “TASKER, DONALD C III Lt Col USAF AMC 436 FSS/CC”, “PIKE, DONNA M Col USAF AMC 436 MSG/CC”
Subject: RE: CORRECTED: MRFF Demand Letter to Squadron Commander at Dover AFB
I am in receipt of your note and looking into this matter.
MICHAEL W. GRISMER, JR., Colonel, USAF
Commander, 436th Airlift Wing
Dover AFB, DE
As an aside, Weinstein actually had the audacity to cite his 2011 lawsuit against USAFA over the National Prayer Luncheon (with Clebe McClary) to bolster his threat with the Dover commander.
Weinstein lost that lawsuit, and the public collectively laughed it off. Poor choice of example, Mikey.