The U.S. Air Force directed a military base to remove a video tribute to First Sergeants because it mentioned the word ‘God’ and might be offensive to atheists or Muslims, Fox News has learned.
The tribute was created by a chaplain at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The chaplain wrote a poem titled, “God Created A First Sergeant.” It was later adapted into a video with a narration.
The video was modeled after the Dodge Ram Super Bowl commercial titled, “God Created A Farmer.”
“On the eighth day, God looked down on His creation and said, ‘I need someone who will take care of the Airmen,’” the tribute read. “So God created a First Sergeant.”
Chaplain leadership at the base signed off on the project as well as other base officials and earlier this week the video was posted on YouTube. But it was soon taken down after other officers objected.
“Proliferation of religion is not allowed in the Air Force or military,” wrote the chief of the Air Force News Service Division in an email obtained by Fox News. “How would an Agnostic, Atheist or Muslim serving in the military take this video?”
“I would not recommend using this at all,” the chief wrote.
He also took issue with the wording of the video, according to the emails.
“The choice of ‘On the Eighth day’ verbiage to begin this video is highly suggestive from the book of Genesis in the Bible and has Christian overtones,” he wrote.
An Air Force spokesperson told Fox News the video was removed for a legal review.
“The Air Force removed the ‘God Created a First Sergeant’ video from the official Joint Base McGuire Dix YouTube site to evaluate whether it is consistent with official Air Force guidance, to include whether it meets official guidance governing religious neutrality in the Air Force as prescribed in Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Culture,” spokesperson Ann Stefanek said in a statement.
A source with knowledge of the incident told Fox News that the video was made to simply honor First Sergeants. The chaplain had written the poem several months ago and it was recently turned into a multimedia presentation.
The decision to censor the video comes less than a week after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation ordered the Air Force to remove an inspirational painting from Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.
The painting included a reference to a Bible verse in the Gospel of Matthew, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
The Air Force complied with those demands and less than one hour after MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein filed the complaint, the painting was removed.
An Airman who reached out to Fox News said Air Force leadership is “hypersensitive to anyone who says they feel like their rights are being violated.”
“It’s extremely frustrating,” the Airman said. “The Air Force is living in fear of Mikey Weinstein.”
The Airman, who asked not to be identified because he feared being disciplined, said many people are furious over the censorship of the chaplain’s video.
“If our chaplains cannot speak the name of God, let alone Christ, why have them?” he asked. “I’ve towed the company line for years but this has pushed me too far to sit quietly while personal liberties are trampled upon.”
The Airman said in recent months they have been reminded that they cannot proselytize and they cannot share their faith on the installation.
“We are strongly discouraged from having any kind of Christian items on our desks or in our offices,” he said.