July 23, 2018
Our military is trained to handle plenty of traumatic situations. But apparently, nothing prepared a group of airmen for one particularly disturbing encounter -- with the Bible. The sight of the book on the Missing Man Table was so upsetting, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) argued, that at least 36 men and women at Warren Air Force Base demanded its removal. And amazingly, base commander Col. Stacy Huser agreed.
After trying this stunt (and failing) at other bases and government offices, MRFF Mikey Weinstein celebrated the decision over "gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize Americans." To veterans like our own Lt. General Jerry Boykin (U.S. Army-Ret.), Huser's decision is a slap in the face to the POWs that these Missing Man Tables were meant to honor. After all, he points out, these tables are common sights on military installations across the country. Disrupting the displays -- or censoring them – cheapens the sacrifice these men and women made for our freedoms -- one of which happens to be the freedom of religion!
Still, Colonel Huser insists in her statement, "One of our focus areas... is increasing the sense of belonging for all our Airmen; a large part of that effort is ensuring the religious and non-religious feel included and cared for. This concern being brought to our attention only helps us work toward meeting the needs of all Airmen." Instead, she proposes, the 90th Missile Wing will "replace the Bible on the POW/MIA table with a 'book of faith' containing scriptural writings and prayers from the five DOD chaplain-appointed faith groups and a sixth set of blank pages to represent those who find solace by other means."
Former Governor Mike Huckabee was astounded. "It's embarrassing to the nation. We're supposed to be a nation that has freedom of religion, not freedom from religion." In fact, he said on Fox, this is exactly the kind of political correctness the current administration won't tolerate. "This is an issue I'd love to see the president interject himself into. I'd love to see him say, as commander-in-chief of the military, 'Put the Bible on the table. Let's not be stupid about this.'"
Just think: if our soldiers are traumatized by a Bible, how are they going to handle war? It's a legitimate question in a military worn down by eight years of Barack Obama's anti-religious hostility. In caving to MRFF, Huser is only keeping the last administration's disregard for basic military tradition alive. These displays don't violate a single regulation, Defense Department policy, or the Constitution. It's time for Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, who's been a champion of religious liberty, to step in and set the record straight. Tweet her to keep up the good work by reinstating the Bible at Warren AFB. After all, most service members know who the enemy is -- and the Bible isn't it!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.