WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Guards at an Air Force base in Georgia will again be allowed to say “Have a blessed day” to their fellow airmen after the phrase was initially banned due to a complaint from an organization that seeks to keep religion out of the military.
According to reports, security forces at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins had been greeting military members with the phrase of their own volition—that is up until this week. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, run by Mikey Weinstein, who views evangelism in the military as being a type of spiritual rape, contacted base officials to ask that the use of the word “blessed” be stopped.
He told the Air Force Times that he had received 13 complaints from both airmen and civilians who were uncomfortable with guards wishing them a “blessed day,” but were “afraid” to report the matter.
“I found the greeting to be a notion that I, as a non-religious member of the military community, should believe a higher power has an influence on how my day should go,” one complainant wrote to Weinstein’s organization.
Due to Weinstein’s phone call, the base agreed to have security forces wish those who enter and exit a “nice” day instead.
But after the matter was made known in the press, many rose up against the prohibition on the phrase, and the Air Force decided to remove the ban on wishing others a “blessed day.”
“We are a professional organization defended by a professional force. Our defenders portray a professional image that represents a base all of Middle Georgia can be proud of,” base spokesman Roland Leach said in a statement. “The 78th Security Forces members have been asked to use the standard phrase ‘Welcome to Team Robins’ in their greeting and can add various follow-on greetings as long as they remain courteous and professional.”
“The Air Force takes any expressed concern over religious freedom very seriously,” he continued. “Upon further review and consultation, the Air Force determined use of the phrase ‘have a blessed day’ as a greeting is consistent with Air Force standards and is not in violation of Air Force Instructions.”
Weinstein says that he is disappointed that the base decided to reverse its decision, as he asserts that the allowance of the phrase is a “vicious savaging of the Constitution.”
“Whenever the Air Force is pushed to the test, they will cater to the religious right,” he told Air Force Times. “This an example where it’s fine to say, ‘Welcome to Team Robins,’ but, as I said before, what are you going to do if the gate guards say, ‘Welcome to Team Robins. Hail Satan!'”
But the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, led by retired chaplain Col. Ron Crews, said that there was nothing improper about the usage of the phrase.
“Using the phrase ‘Have a blessed day’ is not offensive; it is common courtesy,” he stated during a televised interview on Friday. “We commend the Air Force for this return to sanity.”