According to a recent article in the Air Force Times, the Air Combat Command headquarters at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia has refused to remove sexist, offensive posters from their facility. Read NOW’s letter to commander General Carlisle condemning this decision, below.
Dear General Carlisle,
I write you today to express the National Organization for Women’s (NOW’s) support for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) regarding MRFF’s demands that the Air Combat Command (ACC), immediately and permanently remove the two terribly offensive, sexist/faith-based posters currently on display in Building Number 602 of the ACC Headquarters complex.
The posters, which were the subject of a February 7, 2017 Air Force Times article, contain sexist, male supremacist language from a 1955 Air Force Manual, written at the height of the Red Scare hysteria when being non-religious was seen as a trait of Communism and a threat to the American way of life.
Even worse, the passages glorify the military’s reliance on male dominance, stating without equivocation that “It is only a man of deep convictions, a man of deep faith, who will make the sacrifices needed to save his manhood…”
What message does that send to young women who currently serve, or want to serve, in the military? What do you say to the women in your command who make the same sacrifices to protect their country as do men? Is the purpose of the U.S. armed forces really to assist “only” men to make sacrifices necessary to save their “manhood?”
This offensive propaganda must NOT be allowed to continue on display at ACC Headquarters. MRFF has demanded their immediate removal on behalf of its 16 USAF member clients currently under your command (9 of whom are female) and NOW joins MRFF in this demand.
Sexism and the pernicious sexual assault it breeds are still a matter of grave concern throughout the Department of Defense and the United States Air Force. Military women, especially military women of color and LGBTQ military women, often disproportionately suffer from these incidents, particularly when it comes to retaliation and reprisal for reporting and seeking help.
General, there is simply no compromise when it comes to fighting the bigotry of sexism nor the prejudice of religious triumphalism. Women are just as patriotic, just as dedicated and just as worthy of our nation’s trust as their male counterparts. You should honor them, not disrespect them, with the watchwords you choose to display.
Terry O’Neill, President
National Organization for Women