Retired USAFA Chaplain Details Decades Old Incident Regarding “He is risen” Flyers

By: Rabbi Joel R. Schwartzman, Chaplain (Colonel) (Ret.) USAF
Date: March 29, 2018

When I was a Jewish chaplain stationed at the United States Air Force Academy, Jewish cadets came to me with a flyer that had been shoved under their doors which in essence read, “He is risen.” The flyer was distributed on Easter morning; and every cadet woke to find one of these under the doors of their rooms. I went to the Southern Baptist chaplain who I believed encouraged this breach of military regulations and protocol and I complained to him that this was not the United States Air Force’s Christian Academy but that it was the United States Air Force Academy. He responded that he could not control the actions of the cadets of his denomination and, in so many words, told me to just “bite the bullet.”

Exhortations to a particular religious denomination or belief are not appropriate if one’s goal is unit cohesion. They are contrary to the military’s accomplishing its missions; they divide people along religious lines and disrupt the unity necessary for survival on the battlefield.

Given the New Testament’s animus toward the Jews of Jesus’ day, some of the most hateful of which occur at this time of year, Easter often became a particularly sensitive time for Jewish personnel. The MRFF (Military Religious Freedom Foundation), addresses particularistic religious compulsions and challenges them. There is no place for these acts and coercive pronouncements. Superiors, commanders, and others in authority need to beware of what is appropriate, Constitutional, and allowable by military regulations. It is for this reason that the advice and counsel of the MRFF is not only effective for those suffering discrimination and religious harassment, but also to guide and teach those who are in authority to be better leaders.

Springtime presents the opportunity for people of different religious persuasions to observe and celebrate their holidays. One of the great blessings of America is that we have the freedoms to do so. I, personally, am grateful to the MRFF for its work to protect and defend our religious freedoms, and also those who choose not to observe or celebrate any religion.

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2 Comments

  1. fuckuchaim

    bite the bullet, chaim!

  2. G

    No fuckuchaim, you need to bite the bullet

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