From the Yellow Star to the “Coincidence Detector”

If it makes anyone feel better, the favored Christian religion is Protestant.  Catholics, Jews, Buddhists are downstairs religions so is Islam the chapel sign neglects to mention them.
To be entirely accurate one would need to correct your bulletin board from Christian to Protestant.
All Christian religions may look alike to your organization but the USAFS doesn’t see it that way, only Protestant religions may use the iconic main chapel for religious services.
Let me know when you correct this because I would like to donate to your mission but as it is, YOU discriminate against Catholics by lumping them with the highly favored Protestant sects of Christianity.
Crack the main chapel into integrating non-Protestant services  on a rotating schedule then you will have a better chance at cracking all religious discrimination at the United States Air Force Academy.
The main chapel is the heartbeat of religious favoritism.
(name withheld),
A grandchild of sorrowful bleeding Ireland

Good Afternoon, (name withheld) –

Thanks for your note to the MRFF.  Mikey Weinstein has read your email, as he does all correspondence to our organization, and asked me to respond. I undertake quite a few of these email responses, but I have to say that I am particularly excited to address your comments because they strike right at the heart of my own legacy and past experiences.  I’m a lifelong, committed, and active Christian — Roman Catholic, in fact — as well as a USAF Academy graduate (’85) and veteran USAF officer.  Given my personal experience as a Catholic cadet as USAFA, as well as a staunch supporter of the MRFF, I feel uniquely qualified to offer a great perspective on both aspects of your note.
First, regarding your concerns that the MRFF “discriminate[s] against Catholics by lumping them with the highly favored Protestant sects of Christianity”, that is absolutely not the case. For starters, the MRFF does not specifically oppose any particular religious belief or sect. Rather, our focus is consistently and reliably upon the conduct of military leaders. In other words, we oppose actions that we believe to be un-Constitutional, not the particular beliefs of the actor.
I will certainly concede that there is a particular subset of Christianity which gets the lion’s share of our attention, but that is only because of the frequency of inappropriate actions by members of this segment. Specifically, we are often contacted by military members who have concerns about the actions of military leaders who appear to subscribe to the doctrine of Christian Dominionism.  These individuals are most often aligned with the more conservative, Evangelical Christian corner of Christendom. Not all Evangelical Christians are Dominionists, of course, but nearly all Christian Dominionists whom we encounter are Evangelical Christians. Still, as I said, when we raise objections it is specifically about actions and never about doctrine.
So you see, we are not lumping anyone in with anyone, and if you take a few minutes to read the information that is available at the MRFF website you will quickly see that Mikey Weinstein and the rest of the organization are very clear that we are not opposed to Christianity itself, nor any other religious belief or non-belief.
Now, as to the issue of Chapel locations at the USAF Academy. I don’t know what the demographic makeup is of today’s Cadet Wing, but I know that when I was a cadet 30+ years ago there were a lot more cadets who identified as Protestant than there were who identified with any of the ‘downstairs’ faith traditions… so it made perfect sense to us that the largest group would use the largest space.  I can also say with absolute pride that all of us who attended Catholic Mass in our ‘downstairs’ location have a strong emotional attachment to our Chapel, and I never encountered a fellow Catholic cadet who wanted to abandon it and move ‘upstairs’.  Not saying there could not have been some who felt that way, but I didn’t know them.
I’ll like to let you in on little secret that we Catholics cadets and graduates have long suspected to be the REAL reason we were downstairs — we figured it was so that we could give our Protestant brethren an extra boost toward heaven.  🙂
In all seriousness, those of us who actively support the efforts of the MRFF understand that there are some very real problems at USAFA that need to be addressed.  I don’t happen to think that the Chapel configuration is one of those issues. The most egregious violations of Constitutional principles occur in the squadrons, in the classrooms, and in the offices of USAFA. Those are the places where we find the greatest need for our support and intervention, and those are the venues where we will continue to fight inappropriate conduct until all aspects of the problem have been sufficiently and appropriately corrected.
You mention that you would be willing to donate to our mission if you felt that we were treating Catholics fairly and also focusing on the right issues at USAFA. I hope that the information I’ve shared here helps you to know that we are on the same side as you with regard to both of these issues, and I sincerely hope that we can count on your support. If I’ve not answered your questions to your satisfaction, or if you’d like to chat further about any aspect of this topic, I’m more than happy to continue this dialogue.
Thanks again for your interest and support.
Mike Challman
Christian, USAF veteran, MRFF supporter

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