AF Global Strike Command Cites ObamaCare. Mikey Weinstein calls it Unconstitutional.
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has filed an IG complaint because Air Force Global Strike Command included “pray” in listing five focus areas for its “Year of the Family” [emphasis added]:
Air Force Global Strike Command is dedicating 2017 to Airmen, their loved ones and the total force at large. We are calling this year “The Year of the Family,” and will focus our efforts on areas that greatly affect our Strikers and their families. These areas include where our Airmen live, learn, play, pray and receive care.
Weinstein has yet to release a statement (other than using the standard accusation of “unconstitutional“) and appears to have been scooped by his own supporters. He did release two complainant emails, obviously written for public consumption, citing AFGSC’s use of the word “pray” in the article quoted above.
The problem? That’s not even AFGSC’s word.
It’s from ObamaCare.
In 2013, Regina Benjamin — then President Obama’s Surgeon General — wrote about preventative health care and ObamaCare, more accurately known as the Affordable Care Act. Benjamin said [emphasis added]:
Today, prevention is the foundation of my work as Surgeon General. Health does not occur in a doctor’s office alone: health also occurs where we live, learn, work, play, and pray.
In actuality, Benjamin wasn’t proposing anything new. The healthcare community at large — academic institutions, non-profits, and the government — describes peoples’ “environment” as that which is characterized by where they “live, learn, work, play, and pray.” (See, for example, the verbatim text at NIH.gov, Kaiser Permanente, general health groups via hospitals, or a variety of books on nursing.)
In describing the “environment” of the AFGSC community — “areas that greatly affect our Strikers and their families” — AFGSC used the same words as the general healthcare community and the government. It dropped “work” (a given, since AFGSC is already its Airmen’s employer) and added “receive care” — an understandable sensitivity for troops, veterans, and their families.
In the thousands of institutions that describe the “environment” with these words, including the US government, not one remotely attempts to mandate anyone partake in the act of prayer — something everyone with common sense already knows.
AFGSC is saying nothing more than they will attempt to support their Airmen in every way they can — because their Airmen and their families are vital to the mission. Mikey Weinstein’s demands for semantic gymnastics do nothing but undermine care for tens of thousands of Global Strike Airmen — and thus undermine their mission, as well.
Mikey Weinstein’s attempt to portray Global Strike Command as demanding its Airmen “pray” is utterly asinine. Weinstein is doing little more than playing “taboo” with religious-sounding words — but it is a game he clearly needs to lose.
The Air Force should treat Mikey Weinstein’s latest complaint the same way it has virtually every other one of his complaints recently — dismiss it and ignore it.
While Mikey Weinstein has made much of filing complaints, he’s not been quite so forthcoming on the resolution of those complaints. Remember LtGen Kwast? The Marine Nativity? The ACC posters? The AME Church at NASIC? Maxwell’s prayer breakfast? USAFA’s Steed Lobotzke? Nothing came of those “egregious violations” for which Weinstein so desperately demanded investigations and punishment. Mikey Weinstein has done a lot of complaining recently — complaining to which no one, not even the Air Force, has been listening. (For all the practice he’s getting complaining, Weinstein still managed to email his complaint to the wrong office this time, sending it to the 2nd Bomb Wing, not AFGSC.)
That’s probably why Weinstein did not publish an adjective-laden press release this time, nor did he even publish his original complaint. In fact, Weinstein didn’t even announce his complaint for nearly a month after he’d made it, nearly two months after the offending article was posted (without complaints, notably). Weinstein seems to be trying to keep these complaints under wraps so actual civil liberties and religious freedom groups can’t intercede and interfere with his “victory” — as, for example, the ACLJ and members of the Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition have in the past.
Given how many manufactured “scandals” the MRFF has produced recently without a “victory,” Weinstein appears to be desperate — but it doesn’t look like this will be the case that reverses his trend of failed attacks on religious freedom and the Constitution.
You can read more here about AFGSC’s conference last fall that came up with the framework for “The Year of the Family.”