The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is representing a former Air Force contractor who says she was fired from a dental clinic at Fort Meade, Maryland, after complaining that her co-workers discriminated against her because she was Hindu. She claims they then accused her of being a witch.
The alleged harassment violates a "vast sea" of Defense Department and Air Force directives as well as the U.S. Constitution, Weinstein writes.
"The No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of our nation's Constitution absolutely forbids the exact same type of practices which are so commonplace under your command in the brazen establishment of evangelical Christianity as the only approved solution for religious belief in the 579th D[ental] S[quadron] of the Epes Dental Clinic at Fort Meade," the letter says.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, two of her former co-workers confirmed Schoenfeld's account to Air Force Times and said that other employees at the dental clinic are devoutly Christian and deeply suspicious of Hinduism. One of them confirmed that she was referred to as a "Hindu witch."
When her requests for help through the chain of command went nowhere, she filed a formal complaint on Sept. 2, Schoenfeld said. That day, she was fired for allegedly using profanity against a co-worker, although she was not allowed to know who had accused her of doing so, she said.
"I even asked, 'Who said it?'" she said. "They wouldn't tell me who said it because the woman I supposedly called the b-word in the office had been working at [another] office for a month-and-a-half," Schoenfeld said.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, two of her former co-workers confirmed Schoenfeld's account to Air Force Times and said that other employees at the dental clinic are devoutly Christian and deeply suspicious of Hinduism.
"The Air Force thoroughly reviews all instances in which airmen report concerns regarding religious freedoms or accommodations," Harper wrote in an email Monday to Air Force Times. "Mutual respect is an essential part of the Air Force culture. Supporting the right of free exercise of religion relates directly to the Air Force core values and the ability to maintain an effective team."