The website for 'The Art of Marriage' video says'happier, healthier marriages start with God's flawless design.' Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., has dropped the series from its Winter Wingman Day after some airmen complained. (theartofmarriage.com)
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Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., has dropped an evangelical Christian video series on marriage from a day of self-help activities after its religious components drew objections from some airmen stationed there.
Little Rock’s Feb. 7 Winter Wingman Day will offer classes in four “pillars” — mental, social, physical and spiritual — according to a Jan. 23 release from the base. The spiritual pillar originally would have offered sessions from an evangelical Christian video series called “The Art of Marriage.”
Some airmen objected to the video’s inclusion, and felt it favored a particular version of one faith. Twenty-five airmen reached out to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an organization that advocates for the separation of church and state in the military, which raised their concerns to base leadership.
“My concern was that they weren’t being equal with everybody,” one of the airmen said in an interview with Air Force Times. “It sounded like they were saying, without a certain religion, your marriage is going to fail is what they’ll teach. That’s not fair to everybody.”
The spiritual pillar will now offer two nondenominational marriage classes on communication and intimacy, among other classes, Little Rock spokesman Arlo Taylor said in an email to Air Force Times.
“We’re glad to have found out about these concerns,” Taylor said. “Airmen are always free to bring any concerns to their supervisors and commanders, but no matter what path the feedback took, we did pause to review the course offerings and are making some adjustments based on those concerns.”
MRFF President Mikey Weinstein said the changes announced by the base addressed his clients’ concerns, but said it never should have reached this stage.
“It’s terrible these 25 people didn’t feel they could go internally” to raise their concerns, Weinstein said. “Why did no one else catch this? It would have been better if the Air Force had done this themselves.”