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‘General, We Salute You’

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 @ 1:19 PM

TUPELO, Miss.—A military leader humbly credited God for his many accomplishments—taking none of the admiration for himself—and talked about how prayer helped him throughout his life and career. Most would applaud this act, but one group wanted retaliation.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) called for a court martial of U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Craig Olson because he dared to acknowledge his faith during a speech at a National Day of Prayer event.

American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) is standing with Olson and praising the Air Force for refusing to cave to MRFF’s anti-Christian attacks. Additionally, AFA says MRFF’s demands demonstrate the height of religious intolerance.

“As the nation observed Memorial Day yesterday and remembered the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, the attack on this decorated service member is an absolute disgrace,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “Once again, MRFF, led by anti-Christian activist Mikey Weinstein, sought to further its narrow-minded agenda by targeting a faithful leader in the Air Force who has fought for the freedoms we all enjoy—including Mr. Weinstein’s freedom to be an atheist. Both Mr. Weinstein and MRFF owe Maj. Gen. Olson an official apology. It’s high time we as a nation categorically reject Weinstein’s repeated attempts to strip military members of their God-given and constitutionally protected religious freedoms.”

MRFF claimed that Olson should be punished “to the full extent of military law,” and “aggressively and very visibly brought to justice for his unforgivable crimes and transgressions.”

“Since when has acknowledging God been an ‘unforgivable crime and transgression’?” Wildmon continued. “As long as MRFF attacks our military members for their faith, AFA will continue to stand with our brave men and women in uniform who are willing to lay down their lives for our freedom—including our religious freedom.”

Fox News and the Air Force Times both reported that the MRFF had written a letter to Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, arguing that Olson’s speech violates rules within the Air Force, which prohibits airmen from endorsing a particular faith or belief.

The letter, posted on the group’s website, began, “This demand letter is sent to you on behalf of countless members of the United States Air Force who are utterly disgusted and shocked by the brazenly illicit and wholly unconstitutional, fundamentalist Christian proselytizing recently perpetrated, on international television (“GOD TV”), and streaming all over the Internet and in full military uniform, by USAF Major General Craig S. Olson on Thursday, May 7, 2015 during a VERY public speech for a private Christian organization (The ‘National Day of Prayer Task Force’) headed up by Focus on the Family founder, Dr. James Dobson’s, wife Shirley Dobson.”

Late last week, the Air Force rejected MRFF’s demands.

“Freedom is for everyone,” Wildmon added, “including those who believe in God and those who do not. MRFF believes atheists alone deserve liberty but not those who practice their Christian faith. This claim is ridiculous and utterly unbelievable. An Air Force general has the right to talk about his faith and the role prayer has played in his life at a National Day of Prayer event. We applaud the Air Force for upholding Gen. Olson’s right to religious freedom.”

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