Air Force Academy message remains unchanged: Cadets, give up religious liberties
March 20, 2014
The Air Force Academy is digging itself a deeper hole, by trying to deflect the backlash it is receiving after coercing a cadet into erasing his whiteboard containing a scripture verse. The whiteboards are for personal use and hang outside the cadet’s dorm room.
Academy officials say it didn’t order the cadet to remove God’s word from public view, but that the cadet made the decision himself after being “talked to” by his superiors.
Now Mike Berry of Liberty Institute reports that according to the school’s attorney, the cadet’s voluntary action would not have mattered.
“I asked what would have happened if the cadet had decided that he didn’t want to remove the verse; that for whatever reason he felt very strongly about keeping the verse on his whiteboard,” the attorney told OneNewsNow. “And the response was that they likely would have ordered him or directed him to remove the verse – or they would have removed it for him.”
See our earlier AFA Action Alert here.
Taking the Academy to task
Last week, Air Force leaders were grilled during a House Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington, DC.
Congressmen Randy Forbes (R-VA), Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Michael Turner (R-OH) demanded Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Walsh come clean about the incident and “make every effort to promote and preserve religious liberty for our service members.”
Following the academy’s anti-religious intimidation, at least a dozen other cadets protested by posting scripture verses on their whiteboards.
The Air Force Academy has backed down some and says it is not a violation of rules for cadets to post scripture, but that doing so may create a hostile and divisive environment, especially for atheists.
Avowed atheist and director of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Mikey Weinstein, is taking credit for the uproar and claims his personal phone call is responsible for the academy’s intolerance toward cadets who openly express their religious faith.
What the Academy is not doing
To date, the academy has not publicly clarified that cadets are fully entitled to their First Amendment right to express their faith in public. To the contrary, the academy is only saying it provides six hours of “Religious Respect” training during a cadet’s four-year stay and emphasizes “being respectful of other people’s wishes.”
Join your voice with others in urging Air Force Academy Commandant Brig. Gen. Gregory Lengyel to admit a violation of religious freedom against this cadet occurred and ensure the full restoration of rights of all cadets to express their faith.
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