Robins AFB Can Still Have a Blessed Day--For Now

Main_Gate_-_Robins_AFB

In a rare show of any kind of backbone when faced with religious complaints, Robins AFB reversed a security forces commander’s decision banning airmen guarding the gates from using the greeting “have a blessed day.”

I worked at Robins AFB between 1992 and 1996, passing through those gates every day.  I was a raw northerner, new to the south, where Christianity is more-or-less woven into the fabric of life.  I remember being taken aside by a division chief and told how we don’t use the Lord’s name in vain here.

In a military that has swung so far away from anything that could remotely offend a practitioner of Zoroastrianism, or your neighborhood God-of-the-bible-hating atheist, it’s refreshing—in a macabre way—to see one small victory in a sea of defeat.

With the Navy firing a decorated chaplain, Lt. Commander Wes Modder, who served with Navy SEALs, for nothing more than being an Assemblies of God member, what comes next?

These kinds of set-ups are becoming all too common in the military, and in every public or government forum.

Someone—an anonymous injured party—sent a letter to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Mikey Weinstein’s fount of poison, which specializes in anonymous parties injured by the most beneficent and kindly greetings such as “God bless you” when you sneeze.

On no less than 15 occasions over the last two weeks, I have been greeted by the military personnel at the gate with the phrase “Have a blessed day.” This greeting has been expressed by at least 10 different Airmen ranging in rank from A1C to SSgt. 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.

I suppose if this non-religious member of the military community should wish me “good luck” on any occasion, I might take umbrage at the notion I should believe luck has an influence on how my life should go.  I suppose I could respond with a punch in his snotty nose along with the rejoinder: “I don’t believe in luck.”  But that would be something a man would do, not a puny coward who hides behind an anonymous letter to an organization founded on bullying and coercion.

When Weinstein called the commander, he caved in like a sand castle in the surf.  Since when has the Air Force started placing men without chests in positions of authority?  He ordered his men to stop saying “have a blessed day.”  If it hadn’t made the local news, and then the Air Force Times, it might very well have been the last word on the matter.

But someone with testicles in the command chain managed to restore sanity—for a brief time at least.

“The Air Force takes any expressed concern over religious freedom very seriously,” Robins Air Force base spokesman Roland Leach said in a statement on Thursday. “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.”

It no longer matters if I live in the south.  Our local high school was stopped from having any mention of God in our graduation ceremony by the equally-cowardly FRFF, because it offended some atheist, and teachers—God forbid!—participated in the student-led prayer (they may have simply said “Amen!” but that’s offensive).

These set-ups are so common, that if you are a Christian in the public square, or a teacher, or a military commander, you should expect it to happen.  If you’re a Christian businessman or woman, expect to have a gay couple test you, whether you sell cakes or chicken sandwiches.  And increasingly, you’ll find yourself on the wrong side of a lawsuit or an enforcement action if you hold on to your principles.

In the meantime, I might see about getting some cash together and rent a few billboards around Warner Robins, with the very pointed message:  have a blessed day, while you still can.

We will all be made to care.