Last month, right before his retirement, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Norton Schwartz issued new rules regarding proselytizing among the troops. The document instructs commanders to “avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.” 

Although the new order is backed up by military law, Mikey Weinstein, founder of and force behind the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), remains skeptical

It was a transparent and likely guilt-ridden concession by Schwartz, yet it was both too little and too late. With Schwartz’s butt-covering, last second, ‘midnight drive-by’ delivery of AFI 1-1, we have no alternative left but to look to the new USAF Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, to show the all-too-rare backbone once required of all top leaders within the U.S. Military.

 Weinstein, whose work with the MRFF was nominatedthis year for the Nobel Peace Prize, has been fighting for religious freedom within the military since 2005, when his son Curtis, an Air Force Academy cadet, confided to his father that he'd been struggling. As Weinstein recounts in his most recent book, Curtis told his father: “I’m going to beat the shit out of the next guy who calls me a ‘fucking Jew.’ I’m going to beat the shit out of the next guy who accuses me, or our people, of killing Christ.”

Weinstein knew the anguish of his son firsthand, having been threatened and harassed himself over his religion back in 1973 while he himself was a cadet at the Academy. 

He founded the MRFF to defend the religious liberty of every service member, fighting not only against anti-Semitism, but to protect who have felt pressured to accept a radical form of Christianity—and to find justice for those who have been assaulted or marginalized within the ranks for resisting the proselytizing.