11/7/12 – MIKEY’S COLUMN (TRUTHOUT & ALTERNET): Air Force Academy’s Orwellian “Religious Respect Conference” Indicates Clear Bias Against the Non-Religious

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • Thus, it was with great skepticism and no small amount of disgust that we greeted the latest “Religious Respect Conference” at USAFA. Clearly this event was to be a proverbial “dog-and-pony show” foolishly meant to assuage those of us who have been blowing the whistle on the ongoing religious civil rights abuses at USAFA for many years now. Sadly, our expectations of the dubious nature of the “Conference” were fully realized even before it began.
  • The idea of USAFA blaring its triumphant horns at having “reformed” itself in the field of “Religious Respect” is an odd and uber-ignominious one – folly, indeed. The overtly theistic flavor of the “conference” was belied by the fact that the ever-expanding demographic of agnostic, atheist, humanist, and secular cadets on campus (collectively self-identified as “Freethinkers”) was initially and comprehensively written out of the proceedings of this “respect” conference. It was only through a combination of chance and MRFF’s loud advocacy in the local press that a literal 11th-hour invitation was callously extended to a cadet representative of the academy’s Freethinkers. This “invitation” was classic ass-covering by USAFA and nothing more.
  • I, along with many of MRFF’s clients at USAFA, were literally thunderstruck when we read that Retired Col. Frank Clawson, representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormon Church), actually noted his concern that USAFA would “become a secular university with no opportunities for religious respect, and those who wanted to exercise their faith would be so looked down on that there would be no religious discussion at all.” Huh? Come again, Colonel? Secular is now synonymous with “bad?” Exactly which Constitution and its construing case law have you been reading lately?
  • Anti-secular simpleton Clawson would do well to remember that the recently released Air Force Instruction 1-1 (AFI 1-1) firmly establishes complete religious neutrality throughout the U.S. Air Force (USAF). Violation of AFI 1-1 runs the grave risk of invoking the panoply of punitive measures available under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), including criminal trial by courts martial. USAFA is supposed to be an elite federal military academy devoted to training, among many armed forces specialties, America’s airborne war fighters, pilots, and commanders. USAFA is most certainly not an exception to the ironclad rules set forth in these brand new USAF instructions. USAFA isn’t a sectarian monastery and it’s not a divinity college.

 

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