AIR FORCE TIMES – By Robert Dorr – Column: Keep religious extremism out of reunion

Robert F. Dorr

Author of books, magazine articles and newspaper columns. Published about 75 books, 10,000 magazine articles, 5,000 newspaper columns.

Dorr served in the United States Air Force in Korea (1957–60) and spent 24 years as a Foreign Service Officer (1964–89) with the U.S. State Department. He held senior positions in Washington after tours of duty in Tananarive, Madagascar; Seoul, Korea; Fukuoka, Japan; Monrovia, Liberia; Stockholm, Sweden; and London, England.

Began writing opinion columns in Air Force Times newspaper in about 1992, and now writes the weekly “Back Talk” opinion column. Married, two grown sons and a Labrador retriever.

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • A military reunion is supposed to be a joyous event.It’s a time to reconnect, celebrate friendships and savor camaraderie.But Mikey Weinstein fears a different experience when the Air Force Academy Class of 1977 holds its 35th reunion in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Oct. 24. “To some in the room, I’ll be as welcome as a tarantula on a wedding cake,” Weinstein told me in an Oct. 15 telephone interview.
  • Weinstein and his wife, Bonnie, have received hate mail calling on them to stay away from the reunion. “You shame our class and our alma mater,” reads an email from a self-described classmate who tells Weinstein, “You have the hell-spirit of the devil within you.”
  • The email contains some threatening language that is too vile for this newspaper. The person who wrote it was too cowardly to sign his name. It reflects an extreme religious view — underline the word “extreme” — that Weinstein said is too influential in the Air Force. He believes people ought to hold any religious belief they want but should avoid inflicting it on others.
  • Weinstein’s fiery indignation can be a turnoff to even his strongest supporters. Some believe he is exaggerating the threat of religious zealotry. Still, Weinstein is right to want religion and preaching kept out of the military workplace.He deserves support from classmates and from all of us.

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