Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had some strong words after the United States Air Force removed the Bible from a display table for prisoners of war (POW) and soldiers missing in action (MIA) and replaced it with a generic “book of faith.”
“It's embarrassing to the nation,” Huckabee told “Fox & Friends” on Saturday. “We're supposed to be a nation that has freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.”
The Air Force's decision came amid pressure from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), which contends that “no religion or religious philosophy may be advanced by the United States Armed Forces over any other religion or religious philosophy.”
“No member of the United States Armed Forces may be compelled in any way to witness or engage in any religious exercise,” the organization's website also read.
Mikey Weinstein, MRFF's founder and president, credited his organization for removing the Bible from the display at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming:
— Mikey Weinstein (@MikeyWeinstein) July 18, 2018
Huckabee, who suggested the move was ridiculous, called on President Donald Trump to intervene.
“It’s embarrassing to the nation. We’re supposed to be a nation that has freedom of religion, not freedom from religion” -@GovMikeHuckabee on Air Force replacing Bible with “book of faith” pic.twitter.com/UHmKc8eN9D
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) July 21, 2018
“This is an issue I'd love to see the president interject himself into. I'd love to see him say, as commander in chief of the military, 'Put the Bible back on the table. Let's not be stupid about this,'” Huckabee said.
The Navy's official blog explained that the Bible represented “faith in a higher power and the pledge to our country, founded as one nation under God.”
The MRFF published a long email thread in which Weinstein complained to the Air Force about the display. In one of the emails, Col. Stacy Jo Huser said chaplains would purchase a generic “book of faith” and indicated they started rotating different books, like the Book of Mormon, on the table.
But that apparently wasn't good enough for Weinstein, who said:
Naturally, some of our USAF clients concerns on even having a “book of faith” on that table is that it would likely still alienate those who provide excellent service to the United States Air Force, the Department of Defense and our country but claim NO “faith” whatsoever... Atheists, agnostics, humanists, secularists...I have never heard of a generic book of faith and I'm concerned that it might still be slanted towards the majority faith in this country; Christianity?! You know... that being the case, would it be possible to have that “generic book the faith” simply have blank pages in it as some of the other installations have done?
Huser confirmed that the book was just that, something resembling a journal with blank pages.