The Robins Air Force Base in Georgia has had a quick change of heart. After banning the use of the greeting “have a blessed day” Thursday, the base received such backlash that Air Force leaders reversed the decision almost immediately.
Earlier in the week, the Air Force put a stop to the greeting. Apparently, while on base for training, an airman wrote that he had been greeted with ‘have a blessed day’ exactly 15 times over a two-week period — by at least 10 different airman, Air Force Times reports. “I found the greeting to be a notion that I, as a non-religious member of the military community should believe a high rower has an influence on how my day should go,” the anonymous airman said.
Out of the 22,000 civilian and military personnel on the basis, a total of 12 joined the airman in complaining. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), an organization dedicated to routing sectarianism from the military, contacted base officials and was soon assured that the greeting would be banned, to be replaced with “have a nice day.”
Roland Leach, an Air Force spokesman, confirmed with The Associated Press that the new greeting was in effect, and the old greeting would no longer be permitted on base.
The backlash was instantaneous. Social media exploded with criticism of the Air Force’s decision. In less than 24 hours, a Facebook page called ‘Blessed Day at Robins AFB’ grew to 5,467 likes.
The Air Force almost immediately issued a statement saying that it takes religious freedom seriously, and so ruled that personnel may return to their original greeting, as it does not violate any existing standards. Personnel are instructed to say “welcome to Team Robins,” but are permitted to add additional greetings afterwards, like “have a blessed day.”
Faye Banks-Anderson, from the Robins public affairs office, told a local CBS affiliate that the decision to reverse the ban had been made by Air Force officials from outside the Robins base.
However, MRFF is now considering a lawsuit against the Air Force in federal court, claiming that the greeting “have a blessed day” is a “vicious savaging’ of the constitution.”
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