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November 7, 2011

Air Force Academy Apologizes for Promoting Franklin Graham's Operation Christmas Child

Officials at the Air Force Academy have issued an apology to its cadets for an e-mail encouraging them to support Operation Christmas Child.

Last week, Academy cadets received an e-mail encouraging them to support the Christian-affiliated toy drive, which is sponsored by Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse. The e-mail, which was sent by cadets, should have been sent through the Chaplain Corps, as it is “responsible for advertising faith-based programs and events,” the Academy stated in a press release.

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"This was an oversight by me that has been addressed and forwarded through the proper channels," Brig. Gen. Richard Clark said. "The cadets had nothing but good intentions, but this was something that should have started with the Chaplains, not the Cadet Wing. That doesn't mean the cadets can't volunteer for the Christmas toy drive; they can participate through the Cadet Chaplain Corps.”

By November 2, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) had been contacted by more than 130 cadets and faculty members about the e-mail, the majority of whom were Protestants or Catholics, said MRFF president Michael Weinstein. Weinstein filed a complaint on behalf of those who had contacted him, and the following evening, the Air Force issued an apology.


The controversy shows the cultural shift happening in the U.S., said Jordan Sekulow, executive director for the American Center for Law and Justice. “This is a perfect example of how heartless these groups are when it comes to defending their anti-religion position,” Sekulow told Fox News. “It’s not about the First Amendment. It’s about a real hatred of religious people and people of faith that they would go so far as to stop an assistance program like [Operation Christmas Child].”

Weinstein said the issue was not about the toys, but the evangelical message that is included in the gifts, and promoting that violates the First Amendment. “We are not trying to take shoe boxes of toys and candy away from kids,” he said. “But this is clearly an egregious Constitutional mistake.”

He was also concerned because of OCC’s ties to Franklin Graham, who leads Samaritan’s Purse. “Graham is a fundamentalist – a total enemy of the Constitution – an absolutely incredible Islamophobe,” Weinstein said.

Graham made headlines in 2010 after he was disinvited from a Pentagon prayer service because of comments he had made about Islam, saying it was evil and offensive. He was slated to be the lead speaker at the event, but several groups raised objections to his appearance.

At the time, Graham said there would be increasing levels of secular repression. "Oh, no question. It's coming," Graham said in an interview with Newsmax Television. "I think when you preach that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, I think we're going to see one day that people will say this is hate speech."

A spokesman for Graham said Graham was traveling overseas and had not issued a comment. Operation Christmas Child has distributed 86 million shoe boxes for children for Christmas since Samaritan's Purse launched the program in 1993.

Comments

Congratulations to Franklin Graham. He has all the right enemies. (Notice that MRFF has declared him the enemy. Seems he has ignored them...)

Want to help the kids? I hear there is a thing called Toys for Tots that does the same thing. Perhaps a little inter-service cooperation is in order.

It is terrible that one person can dictate to the Air Force what they can do, especially to needy children in countries that may never get a gift.

Weinstein is an atheist, an enemy of the constitution, a absolutely incrediable Christianphobe. Living next to the AFA in Colorado Springs, I see reports of his activity often. It is shameful how the Air Force has given in to the hate of one man.

This is not the AIR Force I remember. The Air Force I remember there were people who had some back bone and were willing to stand up for what is right.
Chaplain's were actually Christian or at least had some moral values.
So in stead of being a country where we have free speech and liberty to do what is good and right we now have, or seem as though we have people who Claim to be Military but will notstand up for what is right. One person brought the might of the U.S. Air Force to its knees.
Shame on the Air Force.

It is interesting to me that Mr. Weinstein would include in his criticsims of Mr. Graham the comment that Graham is "an absolutely incredible Islamophobe". Why does an atheist who is concerned about any message of a religious nature feel he has to comment on one man's faith perspective on another faith perspective. Is he not himself making an overt religious valuation of the sort he is condemning in Graham?

TOYS FOR TOTS is the Marines and it's for local U.S. community kids. SAMARITAN'S PURSE is for kids in foreign countries where missions are so overtaken by just providing food and a sleeping place for the huge number of kids they help that toys aren't even thought of. Weinstein is showing his hate for women and girls when he thinks Islam is wonderful and someone, anyone saying the truth about Islam is a phobic. Weinstein in these Islam countries would be the one beating his wives in his home behind walls and selling his three year old girls for marriage because he obviously loves men controlling women through a fake religion founded by a military man who led progroms against women and children and who had sex with slave girls. Weinstein hates Graham because Graham wouldn't do these things even if Graham was a Muslim. Weinstein obviously would like to do these things in this country but because of "Christians" he cannot. That's an atheist for you. No ethics or morals.

Why would you presume that Mr. Weinstein is an atheist for criticizing Rev. Graham? I'm fairly sure that Weinstein is not an atheist, though he has defended atheists, Jews, Christians and others. Weinstein is a rather conservative, GOP leaning fellow, in fact..or was. Franklin Graham has made dubious & inflammatory statements about Muslims & others, and has shown little learning & repentance that I have seen. So, it's right that the Air Force Academy distance itself from him. --I was in the A.F. in the early 1970s. The rather racist (even to my young, rural area raised Norwegian self), conspiracist John Birch Society apparently then had a lot of influence...there were even JBS brochures stuffed into the BX shopping bags at my first assignment. I turned down a couple of JBS outside graphics artist jobs, though I could have used the money. So, I wasn't a bit surprised to read that dominionist minded Evangelicals had apparently become an overreaching & divisive influence.

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
You really are a heel.
You're as cuddly as a cactus,
You're as charming as an eel,
Mr. Grinch.
You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel.

You're a monster, Mr. Grinch.
Your heart's an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders.
You've got garlic in your soul, Mr Grinch.
I wouldn't touch you with a
Thirty-nine and a half foot pole.

You're a vile one, Mr. Grinch.
You have termites in your smile,
You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile,
Mr Grinch.
Given the choice between the two of you,
I'd take the seasick crocodile.

You're a foul one, Mr. Grinch.
You're a nasty wasty skunk.
Your heart is full of unwashed socks.
Your soul is full of gunk,
Mr Grinch.

The three best words that best describe you,
Are as follows, and I quote"
Stink!
Stank!
Stunk!

You're a rotter Mr Grinch
You're the king of sinful sots
Your hearts a dead tomato squashed with moldy purple spots Mr Grinch

Your soul is a appalling dump heap
Overflowing with the most disgraceful
Assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable,
Mangled up in tangled up knots.

You nauseate me, Mr Grinch
With a noxious super nos
You're a crooked jerky jockey and,
You drive a crooked horse
Mr Grinch!

You're a 3 Decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich
With arsenic sauce!

Why would I think Weinstein is an atheist, well, because my Nephew just quit the Air Force last month from the Colorado base and Weinstein is well known to everybody. It's a good thing my Nephew isn't here to use his language to tell how he feels about this guy. SAMARITAN'S PURSE like TOYS FOR TOTS are not gov't programs but run and organized by members having nothing to do with the gov't, and thus have the Constitutional right to put any message in whatever they hand out and because SAMARITAN'S is from religious organizations, it has the right to put religious messages in what they hand out. They say on all their paperwork, they are a religious organ so what is Weinstein complaining about. No member of the Air Force has to contribute if they don't want to any more than they have to contribute to the Toys for Tots if they don't want to. He needs to read the Constitution. Now men have to sit and listen to homosexual teachings instead of learning how to protect themselves in war in this "new" Air Force. It's all about "social issues" not military men protecting each other. My Nephew is in college now studying Constitutional Law. He already knows the Constitution better than Weinstein.

Weinstein is not the one who apologized. He is not responsible for giving the apology, although he played his part in enticing it from those who were willing and wanting to give it. He is what he is. But what we now have reveraled to us is the nature and value system of the leadership who gave such an apology, and all who support it. This leadership didn't "cave in". On the contrary, they did precisely what they believed in doing. In a way, Weinstein should be congratulated because be did us all a favor by helping to reveal the true nature of this system of things. Yet another disappointment for "Mom and Apple Pie", but I think many would agree that it's no big surprise.

John 16:1-4 (KJV): These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

Mathew 5:10-12 [KJV]: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

And now a few words from the Koran...“Surely We have prepared for the unbelievers chains and shackles and a burning fire.” (Sura 76, verse 4). “And whoever does not believe in Allah and His Apostle, then surely We have prepared burning fire for the unbelievers.” (Sura 48, verse 13). “They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them (the unbelievers) friends until they flee (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then seize them and KILL them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.” (Sura 4, verse 89). I don't think Isalmic people like us very much.

When Obama & the democrats are pushing through "Immoral" laws in the name of liberty, Evangelicals like Franklin are caught up promoting toys, when they should be fighting tooth & nail against these laws instead. Where is that Zeal which Christ wants. How does one contend for the faith as Jude stated. Certainly a mismatch or is it cross match ?

Read the pr.

"Per Headquarters Air Force direction, the Chaplain Corps is responsible for advertising faith-based programs and events.

Upon realizing the oversight, Brig. Gen. Richard Clark, the Commandant of Cadets, immediately asked the Cadet Chaplain Corps to work with the cadets who sent out the e-mail. When brought to their attention the cadets decided to retract the e-mail and work with the Cadet Chaplain Corps on the toy drive."

Atheist?
Hardly.
Wienstein was a legal counsel in the Reagan WH, is a Republican, was a JAG and is an observant Jew. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The MRFF exists to ensure all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom. Check out the MRFF board, it is diverse and highly qualified.

96% of MRFF clients are mainline Protestant, moderate evangelical and Catholic. The other 4$ are Pagan, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish. Over 25 thousand active duty US service personnel have gone to this organization for assistance.

I am very concerned/bothered with this article. First off,why can't people just delete emails that they don't like or don't agree with, and move on? Really? We have to go out and file complaints?? Sad! Another thing, this Weinstein, okay so some say not an atheist, but what do you call someone that does not believe in Jesus Christ? In my book, that my friend, is what you call an atheist. If you are not for Jesus, then you are against Him. Plain and simple. I am a christian and proud of it. I would not take up for someone that does not believe in the Jesus and the Bible, I don't care how many religions he stands up for. Also, come on, this cause is for needy children. As far as Franklin Graham is concerned, so what if he made comments about Islam? Why can't anyone voice their opinions/truths anymore without people jumping all over them? Its sad that this country has turned their backs on God. Its even sadder that He has turned His backs on us. This country is now paying for turning away and taking God out of everything!

Wow! This morning (11/20), Krista Tippett mentioned on her Radio show that CT was a useful source for current, relevant information on faith. I haven't been here for years so I thought I'd try it again. My mistake. The hateful rants against non-evangelicals and "unbelievers" are just as loud and offensive as before, and just as disappointing. I'll stick with my current sources from now on.

By the way, I'm a military veteran and seminarian who very much appreciates the efforts of those who work to moderate the influence of the Christian ultra-right in the military services.

i will always stand up for the good work of opperation christmas child, as a family we have been donating shoe boxes full of toys and personal items for children in need for the last 13 years. these children appreciate so much these gifts they get, just to get a toothbrush that they dont have to share means so much to them,.anyone who would stop any of these children from recieving these boxes that bring so much joy to these little children, just dont have a heart.

I am a born again Christian who is also a Jew. I have a son who graduated from the USAFA in the class of 99. My son is now a Captain in the US Army National Guard and has been deployed to theatres of war including Afghanistan for a year and El Salvador. He is a patriot and loves this country. To hear that his school has to offer an apology for having some guts to stand on the convictions of the founding of this country is nauseating.

An atheist with the name Weinstein should be sent to Afghanistan for a while and try to let the Muslims that would happily kill him tell them their God doesn't exist. Stop trying to tear things down and live your life privately.
You have an audience of maybe 200 people. But the power to have some weaklings bow down under PR pressure. Every legislator sworn into office in this country puts their hands on a bible. Every serviceman that protects the freedoms of this country have sworn to protect the constitution which gives tribute to God. So Mr. Weistein and commandant of the Air Force stop apologizing for the freedom we all enjoy.

P>S> You might want to know that Franklin Grahams son is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and has been deployed 5 times to Iraq and Afghanistan as an officer in the most seasoned fighting division in the entire army.