Major General Craig Olson Faces Court Martial for Thanking God-Previously Truth! Now Resolved!
Summary of eRumor:
A civil liberties group called for the court martial of Air Force Major General Craig Olson after he thanked god during a speech at a National Day of Prayer Task event.
It’s true that a civil liberties group called for Air Force Maj. Gen. Craig Olson to face a court martial for thanking god during a public event, but the Air Force declined to punish him.
Craig Olson spoke at a National Day of Prayer Task Force event on May 7, 2015. In a video of the address, Olson called himself a “redeemed believer in Christ” and continued:
“…Flying complex aircraft; doing complex nuclear missions — I have no ability to do that. God enabled me to do that. He put me in charge of failing programs worth billions of dollars. 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.”
Craig Olson concluded by asking the audience to pray for Defense Department officials and said that they “need to humbly depend on Christ.”
The address drew criticism from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. The group claimed that Greg Olson’s address was a “propaganda bonanza for ISIS” and that Olson had defied Air Force code by “witnessing for Jesus in full uniform on worldwide TV and Internet.”
Military Religious Freedom Foundation President Michael Weinstein called for Greg Olson to be “aggressive and very visibly” brought to justice via court martial in an open letter to the Air Force chief of staff. The letter cited a section of the Air Force Instruction that Olson had allegedly violated:
“2.12. Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause: Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief. (emphasis added)
In light of your very own Air Force regulation, irrefutably on point with the matter herein, and the violation of which is proscribed as a potential FELONY under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, do you honestly NOT see any incredibly serious problems here with Olson’s statements, Mark? Please also note the controlling holding of the seminal 1974 Supreme Court case of Parker vs. Levy (417 U.S. 733), penned by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, significantly limiting the Constitutional rights of active duty military members (such as Major General Olson) vs. the same rights enjoyed by their American civilian counterparts.
Additionally, Major General Olson has violated the No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights as well as having constructively created a banned “religious test” in specific contravention of Clause 3, Article VI of the body of the United States Constitution.
He is also providing an unlawful endorsement and selective benefit to a non-Federal entity (the NDPTF, which is a private organization), in violation of both the Joint Ethics Regulation (DoD 5500.7-R) prohibition on endorsement of non-Federal entities and DoD Instruction 5410.19, which prohibits the providing of a selective benefit or preferential treatment to any private organization, as well as violating a slew of other DoD directives, instructions, and regulations.”
However, an Air Force spokesperson later said Maj. Gen. Olson did not break Air Force Instruction by speaking at the event because he had expressed his own personal views, not the views of the Air Force, the Air Force Times reports.