Military Religious Freedom Foundation sent a letter to Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, demanding he take action against Maj. Gen. Craig S. Olson for a speech he gave broadcast on national television and live-streamed online.
The speech was delivered at an event organized by the private conservative evangelical organization National Day of Prayer Task Force, whose Chairwoman, Shirley Dobson, is the wife of James Dobson, who founded the socially conservative organization Focus on the Family.
In the 23-minute speech, according to Air Force Times, Olson credited God for enabling him to fly “complex aircraft; doing complex nuclear missions.” Olson said, “He put me in charge of failing programs worth billions of dollars. I have no ability to do that, no training to do that. God did that. He sent me to Iraq to negotiate foreign military sales deals through an Arabic interpreter. I have no ability to do that. I was not trained to do that.”
Olson also asked his audience to pray for the leaders of the Department of Defense, who “need to humbly depend on Christ.”
Mikey Weinstein, CEO of MRFF, sent a scathing letter to the Welsh, accusing Olson of “brazenly illicit and wholly unconstitutional, fundamentalist Christian proselytizing,” and noted Olson’s status as “‘Program Executive Officer for C3I and Networks’ at Hanscom AFB, Mass. where, as that installation’s highest ranking officer, he commands 2,200 subordinate Air Force personnel and is in charge of nearly $11,000,000,000.00 of American taxpayer funds”
Weinstein says Olson violated the Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause, a potential felony under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as well as the No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. By providing endorsement to a non-federal entity, the NDPTF, Olson violated the Joint Ethics Regulation, Weinstein claims.
In addition, Weinstein says Olson provided propaganda to “the sinister likes of ISIS/ISIL (Islamic State group), Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Taliban and a horde of other terrorist organizations.”
According to a spokesman, Welsh is traveling and may not have seen Weinstein’s letter.
“I can tell you the Air Force places a high value on the rights of its members to observe the tenets of their respective religion or to observe no religion at all,” Lt. Col. Allen Herritage said in an email.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons