WASHINGTON — A group that works to separate God from the military has written a letter to Air Force officials to demand that an Air Force general who spoke about his Christian faith at this year’s National Day of Prayer event be court martialed for his “unforgivable crimes.”
Major Gen. Craig Olson was among a number of distinguished guests at the Washington, D.C. observance on May 7, and presented a 20-minute speech about his personal testimony and the power of prayer.
“I’m thankful that I’m a redeemed believer in Christ standing here right now,” Olson told those gathered, receiving applause.
He said that he came to Christ as the result of a Bible study at the Air Force academy, and has since learned to depend upon God for every task that he has been assigned to.
“[God] put me in charge of failing programs worth billions of dollars,” he stated. “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. God did all of that.”
But when the Military Religious Freedom Foundation learned of the speech, it sent a letter to the Pentagon, asking that Olson be punished for his behavior. President Mikey Weinstein called the event at which Olson spoke an “annual shame spectacle and display of Christian supremacy.”
“Olson’s highly publicized, sectarian speech is nothing less than a brutal disgrace to the very uniform he was wearing and the solemn oath he took to support and defend the United States Constitution,” it read. “This public address was his, and the USAF’s, ‘contribution’ to this scathingly sectarian 2015 version of the NDPTF’s annual shame spectacle and display of Christian supremacy and exceptionalism held in the Cannon House Office Building…”
Weinstein asked the Pentagon to watch the video of Olson’s speech and “tell me that you’re just not sick to [expletive] death seeing an active duty Air Force general officer boastfully proselytizing and freely witnessing his personal brand of his own fundamentalist flavor of his evangelical Christian faith to literally a worldwide television audience.”
He asserted that Olson’s speech violated the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution, as well as military regulations such as Air Force Instruction 1-1, Section 2.12, which prohibits superiors from engaging in the appearance of a government endorsement of religion.
Consequently, Weinstein asked that Olson be court martialed for his speech before the event.
“[T]he Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) hereby demands that Major General Craig S. Olson be immediately, aggressively and very visibly brought to justice for his unforgivable crimes and transgressions via trial by General Courts Martial and that any and all others who assisted him with his NDPTF speech of fundamentalist Christian supremacy be likewise investigated and punished to the full extent of military law,” he wrote.