Air Force general who spoke of God should be court-martialed, group says
An Air Force general who recently spoke about how God has guided his career should be court-martialed, a civil liberties group is saying.
In a speech at a National Day of Prayer Task Force event on May 7, Maj. Gen. Craig Olson credits God for his accomplishments in the military, and refers to himself as a “redeemed believer in Christ.”
The Air Force Times reports that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has taken issue with Olson’s remarks, is calling for the two-star general to be court-martialed and "aggressively and very visibly brought to justice for his unforgivable crimes and transgressions."
The group authored a letter to Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Walsh, arguing that Olson’s speech violates rules within the Air Force, which prohibits airmen from endorsing a particular faith or belief.
". . . disgusted and shocked by the brazenly illicit and wholly unconstitutional, fundamentalist Christian proselytizing . . ."
The letter, posted on the group’s website, begins, “This demand letter is sent to you on behalf of countless members of the United States Air Force who are utterly disgusted and shocked by the brazenly illicit and wholly unconstitutional, fundamentalist Christian proselytizing recently perpetrated, on international television (“GOD TV”), and streaming all over the Internet and in full military uniform, by USAF Major General Craig S. Olson on Thursday, May 7, 2015 during a VERY public speech for a private Christian organization (The “National Day of Prayer Task Force”: NDPTF) headed up by Focus on the Family founder, Dr. James Dobson’s, wife Shirley Dobson. “
The group, which believes that the American flag and the U.S. Constitution are the only religious symbol and scripture, respectively, for those who serve in the military, also wants other service members who helped Olson to be investigated and punished "to the full extent of military law."
During Olson’s 23-minute talk, the Air Force Times reports, Olson spoke of "flying complex aircraft; doing complex nuclear missions — I have no ability to do that. God enabled me to do that."
"He put me in charge of failing programs worth billions of dollars,” Olson said. “I have no ability to do that, no training to do that. God did that. He sent me to Iraq to negotiate foreign military sales deals through an Arabic interpreter. I have no ability to do that. I was not trained to do that. God did all of that."
At the end of his speech, Olson asked those in attendance to pray for Defense Department leaders and troops preparing to be deployed.
Olson is the program executive officer at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts, where he is responsible for more than 2,200 personnel, according to the U.S. Air Force website. He was commissioned in 1982 following graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy and has extensive operational, flight test and acquisition experience.