ICC Note: A prayer breakfast scheduled as part of “Victory Week” at Fort Riley has been cancelled following complaints from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) regarding the speaker. Retired Lt. Gen. William Boykin was set to speak at the event, but drew complaints from the MRFF for speaking out against Islam in the past. Although the event was reportedly called off due to scheduling conflicts, it was cancelled only one day after complaints from the MRFF arose.
By Kevin Lilley
06/01/2016 United States (Army Times) – A prayer breakfast at Fort Riley set for Monday as part of 1st Infantry Division’s “Victory Week” celebration has been rescheduled, and the retired three-star general who’d been invited to speak — and whose invitation to a similar event at West Point in 2012 met with fierce opposition — won’t be asked back.
Retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, a 36-year Army veteran and longtime member of the special operations community, was to address the morning gathering at the Kansas base, but “due to a number of scheduling conflicts … the breakfast will be rescheduled for a later date,” 1st ID spokesman Master Sgt. Mike Lavigne said in a Wednesday email.
The day before, Military Religious Freedom Foundation founder Mikey Weinstein sent multiple emails to 1st ID commander Maj. Gen. Wayne Grigsby on behalf of his advocacy group, demanding the leader “immediately withdraw” Boykin’s invitation. Weinstein’s email included a report from another MRFF staffer on Boykin that brought up, among other issues:
• The general’s statements while in uniform comparing the global war on terrorism to a holy war against Satan.
• Widely reported remarks, also during his time in service, that he had confidence in an engagement with enemy forces led by a Somali warlord because “I knew my God was bigger than his.”
• Statements made after his retirement claiming Islam is “not just a religion, it’s a totalitarian way of life” and should not receive protection under the First Amendment.