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The Road Bless Traveled

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By Tony Perkins

Remember that story yesterday about the Air Force telling guards they couldn’t tell visitors to have a “blessed day,” the AF Times asked? Well, nevermind. Thanks to the common sense of base brass, the ban was lifted faster than you can say “military religious freedom.” According to our good friend Todd Starnes at Fox News, a handful of atheists had complained to Robins Air Force Base about the guards’ cordiality, fuming that “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…”

Furious that someone might wish them well, the airmen — with the help of the killjoys at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation — vented that he “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.”

Base officials caved to the pressure — temporarily. “Someone took offense at the statement,” said spokesman Roland Leach. “As a professional courtesy we had it changed to ‘have a great day.'” After Todd’s story made headlines, it didn’t take long for complaints to start rolling in. In less than 24 hours, the Air Force reconsidered. “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.”

And those instructions include a recent memo ordering branch commanders to respect the religious rights of Air Force personnel (if you can even claim “blessed” is religious in the first place!). As far as Robins’ leaders are concerned, the security team “portray a professional image that represents a base all of Middle Georgia can be proud of.” Thank goodness for a little Air Force pushback to this parade of P.C. Let’s hope there are more blessed days to come in this debate!

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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