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Air Force Squadron Officer School's Required Curriculum Decrees Officers' "Spiritual Responsibility" to Attend Chapel

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

MRFF Sends Letter Demanding
Immediate Removal of Content At Issue

See below for an article by,
a link to MRFF's demand letter, and the
original plea for help sent to MRFF by an
anonymous US Air Force officer


Watchdog Group Fights
AF Policy Promoting
Chapel Attendance

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • An Air Force captain attending Squadron Officer School says the school has incorporated a religious litmus test into its curriculum, urging company-grade officers to attend chapel to demonstrate "moral integrity."
  • Under a section titled "Spiritual and Ethical Responsibilities of the Leader," the document argues that being an officer carries with it moral responsibility, that officers must be aware of "the moral and spiritual forces at work in our nation's life," and that the government expects officers' conduct to "reflect the ideals and values that our nation cherishes."
  • "If you're asked to give an example of how you can show yourself to be morally upright to your airmen, the only answer you can give is go to chapel, because that's the only example they give," he said. "This is not something somebody left in the break room [to read] -- this is official Air Force policy."
  • The officer said he recently contacted the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group that has been waging legal battles with the Air Force over instances of religious proselytizing for about eight years. Mikey Weinstein, founder of the group, said he began hearing about the "Three Important Documents" reading in December. Since then, he has been contacted by 61 officers at SOS who have asked MRFF to get the Air Force to pull the reading.

  • The captain interviewed by identified himself as an evangelical Christian, but that he does not approve of Air Force leaders promoting their own faith to everyone. In a four-page statement he provided to, he detailed a number of occasions when superior officers advised him to be conspicuous in showing his faith.

Click here to read this article


Capt.: Squadron coursework
has chapel reference

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • An Air Force captain who is taking a squadron officer correspondence course said he found it alarming that some of the course’s reading material suggests students should attend chapel regularly.
  • The captain, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, provided Air Force Times with a copy of the seven-page paper, entitled “Three Important Documents” with a date of November 2004 at the top. The paper, which also notes that it is written by Squadron Officer College staff at the top, is mandatory and testable reading material for the course, he said.
  • The captain took his concerns outside his chain of command, to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, because he believed he would face reprisal and nothing would be done to change the course material, he said in a statement.
  • Eight months ago, Air Force officials said they were reviewing all training materials related to ethics, core values and character development after training materials for nuclear missile officers and ROTC students were shown to have Christian themes. The status of that review is unknown.

Click here to read this article

MRFF, Via International Law Firm
Jones Day, Demands Immediate Removal
of Unconstitutional Content from SOS
Document, Immediate Review of All
Other SOS Materials

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Click here to read demand letter


Letter Received by MRFF
Regarding SOS Materials:
"Seeking Help From The MRFF"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Selected Letter Excerpts:

  • I am a United States Air Force Officer, a CGO ("Company Grade Officer"; meaning 2Lt, 1Lt. or Captain ) born and raised in an evangelical household. I am writing this statement because I feel compelled to tell people about this. I am horrified and shocked at the blatant violation of the Constitution, and what I feel is a direct attack towards me and officers like me.
  • Often, in one's career, you hear that it is an unwritten rule you need to be the right type of Christian to be a good officer. But it turns out it IS written! Not in some obscure corner of the Air Force library but front-and-center in the Squadron Officer School (SOS) curriculum. Unit 1, Module 1, the required reading assignment called "Three Important Documents."
  • The real problem, the one that chills me to the core and gave me flashbacks to my 2nd LT days and being pressured by my superiors, came a few sentences later. In order to be a good ethical officer, according to the example in the text, you should attend chapel regularly and make sure your subordinates know you attend chapel. Otherwise, your command would be seen as ethically lax, and the morality of the unit will deteriorate. There, in black and white, what I always heard being said with winks and nods, and read between the lines, there clear and crisp, as the ink printed on the paper, is the enshrined Air Force Policy – Attend chapel, or be a deviant officer with questionable ethics. There, in my required reading, I read I would be considered not up to the standards of an officer unless I went to church.
  • Evangelicals, as a whole, are not the problem. It is those who are deliberately plotting to convert the Air Force to their Version of Christianity; by planting proselytizing material in the textbooks of AETC, pamphlets in break rooms, and plan mandatory chapel events in units across the DoD. They violate our Constitution, marginalize Air Force members, and if left unchecked, could usher in a time where being their type of Christian will determine whether or not you may serve your country.

  • I have felt this way before, many times. Perhaps not this intensely, because its' never been so blatant. The instruction to go to chapel was just the last straw that broke the camel's back. I've wanted to tell someone about these abuses. Someone who would care. I think I've found that person now in Mikey Weinstein. So here goes [...] I personally have been told by a Major, two Lt Colonels and numerous CGOs, that it would be good for my career to be obviously Christian. One Lt Col. recommended I should play Christian Contemporary music in my office loud enough for people to hear – as he was doing at that very moment – when I arrived at my first duty location as a young impressionable 2nd LT.

  • When my fellow Company Grade Officers (CGOs) and our even higher-ranking leaders begin proselytizing, it creates an uneasy pressure for me; a seasoned CGO. I can't imagine the pressure a young Airman, straight out of high school, might feel upon being exposed to such fervency.

Click here to read the entire letter


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