MILITARY.COM – Air Force Academy Sanctions ‘Ask an Atheist’ Days

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The atheist group behind “Ask an Atheist” days at the Air Force Academy is not violating any rules and will be allowed to maintain display tables and offer information to whoever wants it, academy officials announced Wednesday.

The group sponsoring “Ask an Atheist” is the Freethinkers Club, an authorized cadet club; the event is the club’s annual information fair.

Academy officials said service policies do not limit events such as the one held by the Freethinkers Club because the Air Force does not limit the substance of voluntary discussions or the exercise of free expression.

The school’s announcement came after seven academy cadets, faculty, and staff members contacted the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to complain about the Freethinkers Club “Ask an Atheist” days. Mikey Weinstein, founder of the MRFF, said the seven — six of whom are practicing Christians — said the complaint is valid.

“Replace ‘Ask an Atheist’ with ‘Ask a Christian,’ ‘Ask a Jew,” or “Ask a Muslim’ and the problem is obvious,” Weinstein said on Wednesday.

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    1 Comment

    1. aamoef02

      Good Evening,
      I just read the article on Foxnews about the Academy supporting “Ask an Atheist” day. It reminded of an incident that I had thought about reporting to my chain of command but wasn’t sure if it constituted a violation of church and state separation.
      Several weeks ago I was working out in the gym at Scott AFB, IL. While in the gym, I noticed that they were piping in music from a local rock radio station. One of the songs that played was by a band called “Switchfoot.” I thought this was concerning because I know that this band has had songs played on local Christian radio stations. The members of this band have never publically identified themselves as such, but they have had their concerts mentioned within local church groups. For example, I attended a church in Baltimore that had advertised this bad was playing at First Mariner Arena.

      I am really concerned by this because it seems to me that the base gym playing this song by a possible Christian band could be interpreted by others as an Air Force endorsement of Christianity.

      Another thing that concerns me is that local military members may be getting exposed to the music played by a local Christian radio station. Some of the artists whose music is played on the station play songs that could be offensive to some. Some of the songs talk about wanting to set the world on fire. A reasonable person would assume that in the context of the song, the artist is talking about how passionate they are to spread the gospel to the lost. However, an Air Force member randomly selecting this station may possibly be offended by hearing such extreme language. I’m also concerned that since the radio station can be heard on base, then it too would be considered another violation of church and state.

      I know that people were offended by the cadet who posted a Bible verse outside his dormitory room door, and by a Nativity scene display. I’m grateful that MRFF intervened so quickly in these events.

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