Hindu dentist was branded a ‘witch’
Whilst working as a contractor at a ‘devoutly Christian’ US Air Force dental clinic at Fort Meade, Maryland, Deborah Schoenfeld, above, was allegedly branded a ‘witch’ and subjected to harassment over her Hindu faith – and was then sacked after she complained.
According to Air Force Times, two of her former co-workers – speaking on condition of anonymity – confirmed Schoenfeld’s account and said that other employees at the clinic were devoutly Christian and deeply suspicious of Hinduism. One of them confirmed that she was referred to as a “Hindu witch”.
Schoenfeld said that one co-worker prayed for her to find Jesus, told her that meditation summons demons and that:
All the soldiers who are doing meditation and yoga to help their PTSD, they are getting infected also.
When her requests for help through the chain of command went nowhere, she filed a formal complaint on September 2. 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.
The letter from Michael L “Mikey” Weinstein, Founder and President of the MRFF was addressed to Clinical Dentistry Flight Commander Dennis Holt and begins:
Are you and your staff quite out of your Constitutionally derelict minds?
It has been brought to the attention of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), that an incredibly volatile, hostile and toxic evangelical Christian work environment under your direct command has resulted in the pernicious harassment, disenfranchisement, and firing of a once valued member of your team, Ms Deborah Schoenfeld.
We are writing you today in order to inform you that we will be immediately providing aggressive advocacy services for Ms Schoenfeld as a MRFF client pursuant to her resolute quest to obtain a just resolution to her shocking complaints which have now been officially filed through the appropriate military Equal Employment Opportunity (EO) channels.
For the record, Ms Schoenfeld practices the Hindu religion and has interest in Wiccan practices.
The Air Force District of Washington has received Weinstein’s letter and is looking into the allegations raised, said spokesman Major Joel Harper.
The Air Force thoroughly reviews all instances in which airmen report concerns regarding religious freedoms or accommodations. 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.