Wednesday Evening, May 25, 2022

"This legislation isn’t worth spit… It’s another attempt by fundamentalist Christian nationalist members of the Republican party in Congress to throw red meat in an election year to their rapacious constituents who do not understand how the military works nor how our beautiful United States Constitution works..."

Mikey Weinstein, Founder and President,
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) Left, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, (R-Fla) Right
MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein's
Statement Rebuking Republican Members of Congress
Who Sponsored a Bill to Protect
Cadets and Midshipmen from
Being Punished for Not Receiving COVID Vaccine

Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Mikey Weinstein
"This legislation isn’t worth spit… It’s another attempt by fundamentalist Christian nationalist members of the Republican party in Congress to throw red meat in an election year to their rapacious constituents who do not understand how the military works nor how our beautiful United States Constitution works… In 1974, the United States Supreme Court in the seminal case of Parker versus Levy made it clear that the compelling governmental interest in first amendment protection for members of the military is to maximize good order, morale, discipline, unit cohesion, health, and safety of the troops and mission accomplishment…

A lawful order from the President and Secretary of Defense making it mandatory to get the FDA-approved Covid vaccines leaves no room for rational nor reasonable objections at all… This legislation is an absolutely 100% shameful disgrace!!… Shame on the putrescent coward Mark Rubio and his craven/cowardly Republican colleagues attempting to elevate Weaponized Christianity over the bedrock mandates of our Constitution and specifically Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which requires military members to obey lawful orders… Lady Liberty weeps today for the future of our US military and the future of our nation…

And to think, of the utter hypocrisy and cowardice that these piece of filth, hypocritical Republicans are submitting this proposed legislation to 'protect' cadets and midshipmen from the evils of the legitimately mandated Covid vaccine, and yet they will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to help pass gun control legislation in the face of actual horrors as what happened in Uvalde Texas yesterday?!"

Lamborn, Rubio Among Sponsors of Bill to Protect Unvaccinated USAF Cadets

By: Mark A. Kellner

Wednesday, May 25, 2022
MRFF summary of article:

The Washington Times covers a bill introduced by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) that would allow cadets and midshipmen to flout the Secretary of Defense’s order that all members of the U.S. military must be vaccinated for COVID.

The proposed bill was prompted by the refusal of four U.S. Air Force Academy cadets to get the vaccine on so-called “religious” grounds, risking not being able to graduate. One of the four cadets decided to get vaccinated, while the Academy allowed the other three to receive their diplomas but not to be commissioned into the Air Force or attend the graduation ceremony.

Opinion: Cadets can’t simply say ‘No’

By: Marty France, MRFF Advisory Board Member,
Brigadier General, USAF (Retired)

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

“If you can’t get them to salute when they should salute and wear the clothes you tell them to wear, how are you going to get them to die for their country?” — George S. Patton
On Day One at the U.S. Air Force Academy, new cadets are issued a small book called Contrails. Every Academy graduate knows about Contrails. It contains the fundamental knowledge that dominates their indoctrination into the U.S. military and a cadet’s first year. Probably the best known chapter is “Quotations.” All freshmen are required to know these quotes by heart and recite them upon command.

This quote embodies both service and leadership ideals within the lethal military world. Members of the military voluntarily give up some of their rights and freedoms for the privilege of serving our nation. In return, they are educated, paid and (if honorably discharged) granted broad benefits by the government.

During my 41-plus years in uniform, I wore what they told me to wear, saluted when I needed to salute and took all vaccines as directed; I tried my very best to lead those in my charge to do the same with integrity and courage. That ethic applied to all with whom I served, regardless of race, religion, gender or, much later, sexual preference and identity. We had standards for haircuts, wearing jewelry, tattoos and off-duty behavior. Those standards still exist and are codified in each service. Some stem directly from the Constitution — like restrictions on religious activity while on duty, based on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment backed by legal precedent. Violation of Air Force Instruction 1-1, “Air Force Standards” can lead to disciplinary action ranging from the mildest of counseling to imprisonment following conviction by court-martial. You cannot blithely disobey regulations and lawful orders.
The three USAFA senior cadets who refuse to get the COVID vaccine clearly did not internalize their Contrails knowledge, nor did they learn their obligations while in the “Law for Commanders” course all cadets must complete. Their behavior — disobeying a direct verbal order to be vaccinated — if extrapolated, leaves our military at the mercy of whatever whim may strike a service member, especially since their “religious exemption” request did not seem to apply to their numerous earlier vaccines, and the vaccines have been endorsed by every major Christian denomination. 

Do you have a fringe belief that you now want to exercise contrary to military regulations? Maybe you find it intolerable to get a haircut? Work on Tuesday? If that’s your belief, I’m all for it — but then you don’t belong in the military and you should resign and pay any debts owed. You are free to practice as you’d like in the civilian world and find a job that matches your proclivities. 

But this situation goes beyond merely resigning. These cadets are visibly defying a lawful order put in place by legitimate military authority. They should be prosecuted for this offense under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (“Failure to obey order or regulation”).

During my time in the Air Force, I faced mandatory flu shots every year, semi-annual dental checkups, etc. The military had a vested interest in protecting a national asset on whom they have already spent millions of dollars to train and educate. I was free to question these orders, but if they were legal, I complied.

About three months ago, I was contacted via back channels at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, where I serve as an active member of their advisory board and their designated USAFA rep, by a current cadet’s family who was concerned their cadet, under a friend’s influence, had avoided vaccination. I spoke to the cadet twice, respectful of their beliefs, emphasizing the importance of duty, obligation, and the consequences they might face (even after disenrollment) should they hold out, and their role as a model to younger cadets. Two days later, that cadet was vaccinated.

A military member doesn’t get to pick and choose their “method of training” or requirements to be deemed operational ready — the military makes those decisions independent of the member’s religious beliefs or background. The law-and-order conservative movement, which crows loudly about their love of the military, has supported this principle since their grandparents lined up for uniforms and shots at induction facilities in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and other conflicts since. Washington ordered smallpox inoculations for the Continental Army for the same reason — operational necessity.

The current USAFA situation would make Patton spin in his grave. Not only are cadets who were ordered to get shots eight months ago still unvaccinated, but their leadership tolerates their insubordination, allowing it to fester. Instead of making examples of them, the defiant cadets now become heroes of the rapidly expanding throngs of the radical right that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 (including one USAFA grad), and continue to spread wild conspiracy theories about vaccines. These leaders have failed to meet Patton’s exhortation to lead, as their subordinates have refused to follow — a recipe for disaster.

To compound this outrage, the Academy and Air Force decided on Saturday, May 21, that they will allow these cadets to graduate with their full BS degree, though they won’t be commissioned unless vaccinated. The public release said that “A decision to reimburse the United States for education costs in lieu of service will be made by the Secretary of the Air Force.” This is a travesty — essentially rewarding insubordination with a free college degree. The Air Force’s record of recouping “education costs” is near zero. They can’t serve enlisted time because they’re not vaccinated. They get the “golden parachute” while their vaccinated classmates serve five or more years. Moreover, past USAFA policy has always been “no commission, no degree” for cadets expelled, even after finishing all academic requirements (except medical discharge).

I wholeheartedly agree with MRFF’s response: “It is the position of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation that these three USAF Academy cadets should be immediately charged and prosecuted under UCMJ Article 92 for their wretched failure to obey the lawful Order of the Secretary of Defense to receive the FDA-approved COVID vaccines. They should be aggressively tried via a General Court Martial and, if convicted, be imprisoned.” 

The U.S. Air Force Academy has lost its way. Cynicism will only grow as more cadets see that the Academy publishes one set of rules, but lives by another. USAFA’s core values, in huge aluminum letters, are “Integrity First, Service Before Self, Excellence In All We Do.” In taking any other course but swift and severe action against the disobedient, the Academy fails profoundly. It’s as if those letters were really made of iron and are now dripping orange tears of rust onto the Terrazzo marble trodden by thousands before — who still know Patton’s quote like they were 18 years old again. 

France is a 1981 USAFA graduate with degrees from Stanford (MS) and Virginia Tech (Ph.D.). He served as the permanent professor and head of the USAFA Department of Astronautics from 2005 until retirement in 2018.
Previous MRFF Op-Ed on the Air Force Academy cadets refusing to get vaccinated for COVID
in defiance of a direct order
Previous MRFF Op-Eds regarding the
military's COVID vaccine mandate

MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein
on the military's COVID vaccine mandate
and Fox News's coverage of the anti-vaxxer
Navy SEALS suing the Department of Defense, claiming a religious objection to the vaccine

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

To Whom It May Concern , We read a quote by Mr. Weinstein in The Washington Times as follows: “These 3 USAF Academy cadets should be immediately charged and prosecuted under [the Uniform Code of Military Justice’s] Article 92 for their wretched failure to obey the lawful order of the Secretary of Defense to receive the FDA-approved COVID vaccines. They should be aggressively tried via a General Court Martial and, if convicted, be imprisoned as well as being compelled to pay back the hundreds of thousands of dollars per cadet which American taxpayers have forked over for their expensive education.” We are greatly disappointed with your organization which calls itself a protector of freedom. In our opinion, you couldn’t be more wrong. These three cadets should not be forced to take the gene therapy based on legal grounds since the EUA prohibits that. The FDA-approved shot is not even available in the US. These young cadets should be praised for standing true to their religious convictions before God. Christians should be free to worship God under the Constitution by protecting their bodies from compromised substances. The vaccine was manufactured using fetal tissue, and and it permanently alters the God-given immune system. They are legally entitled to a general or honorable discharge. They are wrongly being denied a religious exemption based on their genuine faith and threatened with huge financial penalties. The decision not to commission them should be immediately reversed, and they should rather be financially compensated for this disgrace. With all due respect, you do not appear to know what freedom the Constitution affords them and yourself in this great land of America. I urge you to contact the John Birch Society and Children’s Health Defense, and do your homework. God bless, (name withheld)

To see responses from MRFF Board Member
John Compere, and a MRFF supporter:

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