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Army Officer Under Fire for Blog Post Promoting Prayer: 'He Has No Business Conflating Position With Evangelical Christian Faith'

( [email protected] ) Jan 13, 2016 12:26 PM EST
A military fitness expert is experiencing severe backlash after publishing a blog post suggesting that members of the armed forces can improve their "spiritual fitness through increased prayer."
(AFP Photo/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

A military fitness expert is experiencing severe backlash after publishing a blog post suggesting that members of the armed forces can improve their "spiritual fitness through increased prayer."

In his Jan. 4 blog post titled, "Monday Motivational Message: A Little Something to Work With," Col. Thomas Hundley recounted a conversation in which his 82-year-old grandfather told him, "'You don't need a whole lot to make it in this world. You just gotta give God a little something to work with. The Bible says that Jesus took two little fish and five loaves of bread and fed thousands. You know how He did that? He just gave God a little something to work with.'

Hudley continued, "I challenge you to join the Operation Live Well team on the journey to attain a 'new you' in 2016. All we have to do is give God and ourselves a little something to work with. Happy New Year!"

Despite the seemingly innocuous nature of the blog post, the Blaze notes that the military officer quickly came under fire, as his sentiments were published on the Defense Health Agency website, which is owned and run by the government.

A screenshot of the blog post in question. (Photo: health.mil.com) 

Mikey Weinstein, president of the activist group the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, subsequently filed a complaint with the Army Regional Health Command in Virginia, noting, in particular, the blog post's inclusion of Christian themes, according to Military.com.

"Apparently, Col. Thomas Hundley can't figure out whether he's an active duty senior Army officer or an evangelical Christian missionary," Weinstein said. "Col. Hundley has absolutely no business or authority under American law to be conflating his Army officer rank, title and position with his professed evangelical Christian faith."

The Times notes that Hundley has been writing the "Monday Motivational Message" at Health.mil since at least early last year, often discussing diet and exercise. The posts that include religion often share wisdom offered by another individual, a family member or a character in a story.

A June 2015 piece related a story from Hundley's great-grandfather compared people's mindsets to tomatoes: "I think God wants us to be more like this green tomato here," the story goes. "You see, as long as you are a green tomato, you still got room to grow."

Weinstein's complaint has since been forwarded to another agency, according to a memo from the command provided by Weinstein to Army Times.

This is not the first time Weinstein has gone after Christian military personnel who he believes are violating Air Force regulation 1-1 and the United States Constitution.

In 2014, the Air Force Academy was forced to remove a Bible verse posted on a cadet's whiteboard after 29 cadets and four faculty and staff members contacted Weinstein's organization to complain about the Christian passage.

"Had it been in his room - not a problem," Weinstein told Fox News' Todd Starnes. "It's not about the belief. It's about the time, the place and the manner."

He said the Bible verse on the cadet's personal whiteboard created a hostile environment at the academy.

"It clearly elevated one religious faith (fundamentalist Christianity) over all others at an already virulently hyper-fundamentalist Christian institution," he said. "It massively poured fundamentalist Christian gasoline on an already raging out-of-control conflagration of fundamentalist Christian tyranny, exceptionalism and supremacy at USAFA."

He also called for Col. Hundley to be punished: "It's not a gray area, this is absolute misconduct," he said. "Not only should the cadet be punished but (also) his/her responsible USAFA cadet and officer chain of command who ignored this blatant and egregious violation of Air Force Regulation 1-1 and the United States Constitution."