Ah, the Easter season. That time of year when spring is in the air, flowers are starting to bloom, and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is besieged with calls about Christian zealot military commanders attempting to creatively shove their religion down the throats of their subordinates.
Last year MRFF put a stop to a few particularly unique Jesus-pushing plans, like the Good Friday lowering of the American flag on one military base “In honor of the Easter blood sacrifice of Our Savior Jesus Christ,” and the commander-hosted event during duty hours at which the coerced attendees palms would be marked with red lipstick to symbolize the blood of Christ.
This year’s Easter parade has kicked off with an Air Force commander attempting to “persuade” his subordinates to attend his supposedly “non-mandatory” Easter egg hunt — complete with readings from the Bible so that everyone attending would understand “the true nature of what Easter stands for which is the resurrection of Jesus Christ and renewal for the world” — by combining it with his unit’s quarterly awards presentation. As one of MRFF’s five clients in the unit explained:
“… since the first quarter of 2023 ends today (31 Mar) the quarterly unit awards would be presented at this event. So like the ‘Airman of the Quarter’ and the ‘Wingman of the Quarter’ etc. award certificates would be publicly presented at this event and only this event. So if an awardee decided to skip this ‘non-mandatory event’ he or she would only receive their award certificate in the mail. No public unit recognition.”
Sure, no coercion there!
But after a call from MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein to this bang-the-drum-for-Jesus commander’s boss’s boss, the egregious egg hunt plot has been foiled, with the event being canceled toot sweet-as-a-chocolate-bunny, much to the relief of the MRFF’s five airmen clients, one of whom sent the email below to MRFF this morning.
From: (Active Duty U.S. Air Force Airman’s/MRFF Client’s E-mail Address Withheld)
Subject: Commander uses kids Easter egg hunt to proselytize our unit
Date: March 31, 2023 at 7:19:07 AM MDT
To: Information Weinstein <email@example.com>
To the MRFF team nationally and here at our Air Force Base:
Thank you all so much for the fast action to stop our unit’s commander from using a “non-mandatory special Easter egg hunt" for our children to proselytize for Jesus.
There are 5 of us in our unit who asked for the MRFF’s help here. Our unit is a comparatively small unit at a large U.S. Air Force base.
Please keep our identification information private so that we cannot become targets of our commander and others in our chain of command who support him.
I am a Christian and my spouse is Jewish. We are raising our kids to be exposed to both faiths. The other 4 airmen who joined me in asking for the MRFF’s help are atheist, Christians and Buddhist.
Our commander is well known as a Christian zealot and was fairly recently promoted in rank. At his promotion ceremony (which we all had to attend or else) he told the attendees that first and foremost he wanted to “thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” for the promotion. There are numerous other examples. But now he has gone too far.
A few days ago he sent out an email inviting all unit personnel to attend a “non-mandatory special Easter egg hunt for our kids” to be held this next Sunday at a well known open space field area on our base. This would be fine except for 2 things the invite also said.
First: it said that there would be several readings from the bible to start the event so that everyone attending understood “the true nature of what Easter stands for which is the resurrection of Jesus Christ and renewal for the world.”
Second: it said that since the first quarter of 2023 ends today (31 Mar) the quarterly unit awards would be presented at this event. So like the “Airman of the Quarter” and the “Wingman of the Quarter” etc. award certificates would be publicly presented at this event and only this event. So if an awardee decided to skip this “non-mandatory event” he or she would only receive their award certificate in the mail. No public unit recognition.
“Non-mandatory" my ass!
All he was doing was trying to force us to come with our young kids to be proselytized to by him and his wife.
That is so messed up and forced us to reach out to our base MRFF representative who put us on the phone right away with Mikey Weinstein. Among many other things Mr. Weinstein told us of the Air Force Instruction 1-1 which our commander is totally violating through this bullshit easter egg hunt. He’s abusing our constitutional rights and using our precious children as his pawns to accomplish it.
Mr. Weinstein spoke to our leadership above our own commander's boss’s boss and late last evening we received another email from our unit (name, rank and title of senior enlisted advisor withheld) telling us that this shady Christian proselytizing event was now cancelled. We were also advised about another Easter egg hunt being sponsored by the Base Chapel with no proselytizing strings attached. There is no word yet on when and where our unit Quarterly Awards ceremony presentation will be.
This is the first time that our commander has ever been forced to stop his Christian proselytizing. We are not sure what to expect tomorrow morning when he comes into our unit. But we are planning for him to be pissed off and looking for any of us who he feels may have complained through the MRFF to our chain of command about his “non-mandatory” Easter egg hunt event.
We will stay in close touch with our MRFF base rep and the MRFF national staff via Mr. Weinstein if our commander does anything even close to trying to jack us up for asking for help from the MRFF.
Everyone is on edge but we finally feel empowered due to the MRFF!
Our sincere thanks to all of the MRFF staff who stood up and fought for us when we had no other means to fight without facing certain reprisal from our commander and whoever else.
On behalf of 5 USAF airmen.