WASHINGTON POST & RNS – Debate reignites over religion at Air Force Academy

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, a conservative Christian organization representing evangelical chaplains, applauded the letter.“There’s nothing wrong with a commander attending, even publicizing and encouraging … a good and positive event for the morale and the welfare of military personnel,” said executive director and retired Col. Ron Crews, a former chaplain with 28 years of military experience.
  • But David Mullin, a former AFA economics professor, said military culture muddies the distinction between encouragement and orders, so only chaplains should speak on religious matters.“When a military commander says ‘you are encouraged to attend,’ whether it is to military officers or civilians, that is an effective order,” Mullin said. This constitutes improper proselytism, he added.A self-described evangelical, Mullin is one of the few to openly criticize what he calls an unhealthy religious climate in the AFA. He is represented in court by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a legal watchdog.
  • A 2010 survey found 41 percent of non-Christian cadets faced unwanted proselytizing, even as the religious majority felt that their freedom of speech was being infringed upon.This is bad for cadets and bad for the country, says Mikey Weinstein, a 1977 academy graduate and founder of MRFF.The congressional letter, he said, is part of a larger cultural battle to hold personal Christian rights over civil rights. “It’s just another example of the level of stupidity and unbridled fundamentalist Christian cancer,” he said.MRFF has 362 clients at the AFA, triple those at the Army and Navy academies, according to Weinstein.He claims 35 families from the incoming class have already contacted him, though no suits have been filed.Crews said Weinstein’s message is misguided, and that the Constitution protects the right to evangelize in ways that are not belligerent or coercive.“As I understand, Mikey Weinstein’s interpretation of the First Amendment is that we have freedom from religion instead of freedom of religion.” Crews said. “Just because someone puts on the uniform does not mean that they give up their God-given, constitutionally protected religious liberties.”

Click to read article at Washington Post “On Faith”

Click to read article at Religion News Service

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1 Comment

  1. Timothy Ilg

    Did you even read the survey? You dip stick. How often have you been subjected to unwanted proselytizing? The answer? Once a year or less. Once a year or less? I have Jehova’s Witness come by my house twice a month, Baptist’s once a month, and you think Once a year for a Cadet is a lot? You either need to grow up or get out more! Be thankful the Mormon’s are one state over, you might be getting hit up a little more often.

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