FOX NEWS – Lawmakers claim Air Force culture becoming ‘hostile towards religion’

Selected article excerpts:

  • Dozens of House lawmakers accused the U.S. Air Force this week of being “hostile towards religion,” citing a string of recent incidents they claim show the military is taking separation of church and state too far.
  • The letter from 66 Republican members of Congress referenced a series of cases where they claim the Air Force “succumbed” to demands from outside groups.

    Among the incidents:

    • A decision to remove a Latin reference to “God” from a logo/motto for the Rapid Capabilities Office
    • A decision to stop requiring staff to check for Bibles in Air Force Inn rooms
    • The removal of a document from a distance-learning course for Squadron Officer School that suggested chapel attendance is a sign of strong leadership
    • The suspension of an ethics course because the material included Bible passages
  • “Mr. Secretary, the combination of events mentioned above raises concerns that the Air Force is developing a culture that is hostile towards religion,” the lawmakers wrote. They urged Panetta to investigate all the incidents and issue “clear Department of Defense policy guidance.”
  • In the case of the Squadron Officer School course, the training document in question contained the following paragraph: “If you attend chapel regularly, both officers and Airmen are likely to follow this example. If you are morally lax in your personal life, a general moral indifference within the command can be expected.”

    The Military Religious Freedom Foundation complained to the Air Force in March that the line “creates the inescapable impression that regular church attendance is a requirement for commissioned Air Force officers in order to demonstrate positive morals to subordinates.” The group said the document violates the constitutional prohibition on religious tests for U.S. office holders.

    The Air Force subsequently scrapped the document.

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