FAIRFIELD, CA - Travis Air Force Base officials said they will not move a nativity scene or menorah after a battle over its placement.
Michael Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) wrote a letter to the base commander demanding that the nativity scene and menorah be moved. Weinstein said some Travis personnel contacted the civil rights group and lodged complaints after squadrons erected several holiday displays on base.
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A statement released Saturday by a spokesperson for Travis AFB said: "While we appreciate the concerns raised by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the Office of the Air Force Judge Advocate General, upon review, concluded the inclusion of a Wing Chaplain sponsored Nativity Scene and Menorah as part of a broader, secular holiday seasonal display does not violate the establishment clause of the United States Constitution."
In response, MRFF spokesman Mikey Weinstein said, "There is no mystery that the air force would not remove the unconstitutional display but we are just surprised it took so long. MRFF finds it disingenuous that this information was released on a Saturday before a holiday." He implied that the timing would work to the advantage of the AFB - as it wouldn't bring as much media attention.
Weinstein added, "We believe they have come to the wrong conclusion based on constitutional law. Rather than telling media through a press release we rather suggest five words: tell it to the judge."
According the MRFF, a Travis airman filed a complaint with the civil rights group that represents 26,000 U.S military personnel.
By Natalie Sentz, firstname.lastname@example.org