The United States Air Force apologized Thursday for claiming it would lend its support to Operation Christmas Child, after a cadet alerted The Military Religious Freedom Foundation of the endorsement.
The Operation Christmas Child program is set up with a vision to donate gifts to poor children from all over the world, and it plans to send more than 8 million presents to youngsters from 100 different countries.
The Air Force Academy first pledged its support for the organization, but after receiving a complaint by Academy personnel and Muslim-American parents, have retracted their endorsement.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation have said the U.S. Air Force should not promote Christianity or any other faith in particular, and Mikey Weinstein, a representative for the foundation, said he came to know about the situation when a cadet emailed him and complained that Christianity was promoted by the military.
Brig. Gen. Richard Clark, from the Academy’s commandant of cadets, said apologizing for the endorsement was a “victory for the Constitution” and “Lady Liberty is smiling tonight.”
The story has caused outraged from Christian circles, with Rep. Randy Forbes stating in front of Fox News: “This is beyond political correctness. This is an anti-faith mode that we see over and over again coming from this administration and the people serving in it.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said the blame falls on President Obama’s shoulders: “We see here the collateral damage – the fallout of religious freedom and the attack on Christian organizations that are simply reaching out to help those in need. This is a long pattern under this administration under a president who apologized for everything that is American.”
Weinstein denied that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is trying to stop the Operation Christmas Child Program and taking toys away from children, but he made clear the foundations’ main concern is with defending the Constitution, which speaks against proselytizing one faith over others.