Militant Atheist Group Calls for Removal of Edwards AFB Commander over Public Professions of Faith

Michael “Mikey” Weinstein and his dubiously named Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) filed a formal complaint this week with Defense Secretary James Mattis alleging that Brig. Gen. E. John Teichert, a Christian and the newly installed commander of the 412 Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base in California, engaged in “intolerance/proselytizing; violations of DoD diversity & civil liberties policies; and Air Force standards violations.”

In a press release on Monday, the virulently anti-Christain organization screeched that Teichert “should be doing time behind prison bars, not commanding a wing wearing general’s stars.”

Teichert “has denigrated LGBT individuals, slammed American society at large, and, of course, delivered election voting mandate directives wherein he has effusively urged that only HIS type of approved Christian should ever be elected to American public office,” according to the salacious smear by MRFF.

According to his biography at the Edwards Air Force Base website, Teichert “has directed the F-22 Combined Test Force and commanded the 411th Flight Test Squadron, responsible for F-22 Raptor developmental.” In addition, the decorated general “commanded the 53d Test Management Group, providing operational test and evaluation of USAF fighters, bombers, combat search and rescue systems, remotely piloted aircraft, aircrew training devices, aircrew flight equipment, weapons, and space systems.” Most recently, according to the bio, Teichert “commanded the 11th Wing and Joint Base Andrews, responsible for the security, personnel, contracting, finance, medical and infrastructure support for five wings, three headquarters, and over 80 tenant organizations, as well as 60,000 Airmen and families in the National Capital Region and around the world. ”

That’s quite a resume. You wouldn’t know it from the portrait painted of him by MRFF.

The group’s press release highlights a quote from “one of General Teichert’s sermons,” where he said, “I would ask for your prayers for wisdom in my life of leadership and discernment and understanding and knowledge for influence over the nation’s senior leaders that I get to rub shoulders with. My desire in my life is to maximize my impact on people in our country for the Lord.”

Treacherous statements in the view of Weinstein and his angry atheist friends. Indeed, it appears the dogma “lives loudly” within Teichert, to paraphrase Weinstein’s fellow religious bigot, Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

The “demand letter,” addressed to Mattis by MRFF legal counsel Don Rehkopf, alleges various thought crimes and newspeak violations by the general, most of which were culled from Teichert’s website, Prayer at Lunchtime for the United States (PLUS).

“Sometime in early 2013, he created a public webpage and the blog, along with social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) to promote his fundamentalist, dominionist ‘Christian’ beliefs,” according to MRFF. “He created an acronym for this he called ‘PLUS’ which stands for Prayer at Lunchtime for the United States.” This conduct, the demand letter alleges, is a violation of Air Force policy, “especially the absence of disclaimers and manifested intolerance for religious diversity.”

An acronym! Lock him up, says Weinstein!

The letter cites some (scandalous, in Weinstein’s view!) comments Teichert made in an interview on the website:

  • I grew up with a deep love for my country that my parents had instilled deep within me, and that gave me a natural desire to serve my country. Also from a young age, I wanted to fly, and joining the Air Force was a natural step to becoming a fighter pilot. Ultimately, my desire has always been to maximize my impact on our nation in a life of service.
  • I came to Lancaster Baptist Church in December 2002 for the first time. My wife and I were looking for a church, and we found a good ad for Lancaster Baptist in the Yellow Pages, so we visited. We were immediately made to feel welcome and at home, and we enjoyed what I now know is a balance of grace and truth
  • Ultimately, I pray this tool [PLUS] will prompt Christians to be faithful in prayer such that it will spur widespread revival in our nation. The goal is to change our national spirit so that the Lord can change our national direction.
  • I’m concerned about our country’s drift away from the foundation on which we were built. I personally believe that those who call themselves Christians are largely to blame because we have failed to stand up for the cause of Christ in our country. We have failed to pray. We have failed to put into practice the principles in 2 Chronicles 7:14. On our watch, we have allowed our country to slip away from its founding Christian principles while it has become increasingly intolerant of Christianity.

Weinstein, bigot that he is, has a problem with this kind of religious talk (the word “Baptist” surely sent him scurrying to his safe space). “MRFF suggests that one does not need a ‘crystal ball’ to see that [how] Brig Gen Teichert is using both his military rank as well as his position and status as an Air Force officer to aggressively promote his brand of religion – clearly giving the appearance if not outright impression that he, in his official status, is endorsing if not outright proselytizing his particular brand of politico-religion,” the letter complains.

“MRFF would point out that besides the religious ‘sermon’ Brig Gen Teichert espoused in that post, his inclusion of a photograph of his uniform epaulet with his general’s ‘star’ clearly gives the appearance and impression that ‘the general is interested in this’ to those under his command – especially when he goes around at lunch time urging people to pray for the United States,” the letter sneers.  It continues, trying to make the case that boilerplate Christian professions are intolerant and in violation of Air Force policy.

MRFF also has some quibbles about Teichert’s telling of history. “He openly (but falsely) advocates that America was founded as a ‘Christian nation,'” (gasp!) the letter rages. “Brig Gen Teichert and his source ignore commonly known facts – at the ‘beginning of the Revolutionary War,’ there were no Americans, except the Native Americans and few of them were Christians.” According to MRFF, the statements “demonstrate that Brig Gen Teichert’s many religious rants simply have no historical basis.”

The letter then detours to include a lengthy diatribe attempting to scrub Christianity from American’s past.

The next items on MRFF’s complaint list are some prayer requests that were shared on the PLUS website (brace yourself… this guy’s a monster). Teichert encourages Christians to pray for:

  • “Christian leaders to find favor among men”
  • “A return to our Biblical foundation” ‚
  • “Recognition of God’s preeminence in our lives and in our land”
  • “Key leaders accept Christ as their Savior”
  • “Appreciation for our national Christian heritage”
  • “Appreciation for a nation formed, blessed and prospered by God’s power”
  • “President Trump, Vice President Pence, and the Trump Administration”
  • “Christian faithfulness to participate in government, preach about government, and pray for government”
  • “Christian leaders to find favor among men”
  • “A return to national righteousness”
  • “Recognition of God’s preeminence in our lives and in our land”
  • “Key leaders to accept Christ as their Savior”
  • “Appreciation for our national Christian heritage”
  • “The unborn”
  • “Proper Christian citizenship that includes regular and fervent prayer and fasting”
  • “A change in our national spirit so God can change our national direction”
  • “Appreciation for a nation formed, blessed and prospered by God’s power”

Teichert, it should be noted, is writing to a Christian audience on his website — not atheists, not agnostics, not Buddhists, not Muslims, but fellow believers in Jesus Christ. To Weinstein and his pals, these prayer requests constitute “religious and gender discrimination,” “advocating an unconstitutional theocracy,” and “historical falsehoods” directed toward “agnostics, atheists and other non-believers” — even though they’re not addressed to any of those groups.

“Brig Gen Teichert’s fundamentalist Christian beliefs are – to whatever extent he feels like believing – his own to have privately, but as the Commander of an 11,000 person Wing, cannot withstand constitutional and legal scrutiny when he overtly and publicly preaches those beliefs, especially without the mandated disclaimers, on his webpage and postings,” the letter continues, suggesting that agnostics, atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, and Jews are not the beneficiaries of “equal opportunity” at Edwards AFB because their commander is “publicly intolerant of their personal beliefs or non-beliefs”—when he’s off the clock, it should be noted.

MRFF assures Mattis in the letter that Teichert is entitled to have private religious beliefs, but that they must “be checked at the office door” when he puts the uniform on.

The letter alleges that 41 members of the Edwards Air Force Base community, “most of whom are self-identified as Christians,” have lodged complaints about Teichert’s conduct with MRFF. All have insisted on anonymity, according to MRFF, “because of rational and realistic fears of retaliation.” One “client,” the letter asserts, “is in actual fear of physical violence to him/her and family should his/her identity as a complainant be exposed.” The breathless letter goes even further, claiming that the airmen making the complaint live in “mortal fear of retaliation” should their identities become known.

All because their commander is a Christian man who loves Jesus and encourages his fellow Christians to pray for their country. As a result, MRFF is demanding a “full and vigorous investigation” witch hunt to expose the extent of Teichert’s deeply held religious beliefs. The organization went further in its press release, demanding that Teichert be imprisoned and decommissioned and calling him a “religious extremist predator.” 

Notions of diversity are at the heart of Weinstein’s complaint; the word appears no fewer than 30 times in the letter. As we’ve all begun to understand, progressive leftists who reject the God of the Bible have replaced Him with the god of diversity. Their scriptures are the profligate speech codes and behavior regulations embedded in everything from federal laws and regulations to the human resources manuals of nearly every private company in the nation. Violators are fired, sued, or shamed into conforming to the demands of the revolutionaries who seek to redefine faith and ban its practice in every area of public life.

Most of the complaints, it seems, could be resolved by simply asking Teichert to add a disclaimer to his website, but why do that when Weinstein and MRFF can bring publicity to their relentless effort to purge the military of people of faith and raise money off of their hysterical bigotry? MRFF is determined that no true Christians—real Christians, not the fake ones who file complaints with atheist organizations and are horrified by a Christian saying Christian things—should be permitted to hold a position of leadership in the military. Their long campaign of lawfare against Christians in the military is designed to instill fear in servicemen and women in an effort to muzzle them and keep them in the closet. By all accounts, they’re succeeding. Just look at the dozens of diversity codes Teichert has allegedly violated. Many of those came out of President Obama’s Department of Defense, which gave preferred status to the religion of diversity while denigrating Christians and Christianity in the military.

President Trump and Sec. Mattis have an opportunity to reframe the debate and stop this nonsense in its tracks before it causes any more harm. Christianity is not a danger to military readiness—to the contrary, Christian ethics are entirely consistent with military service—and Trump and Mattis must act assertively to make sure Christians aren’t treated like second-class citizens when they put on the uniform and vow to defend our country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Mattis should reject Weinstein’s letter out of hand and then get to work rewriting the absurd diversity policies that give preference to the anti-God revolutionaries.

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