Friday, May 27, 2005
Religious Intolerance at the Air Force Academy
Captain Morton has said she was fired for exposing the pervasive influence of evangelical Christians at the academy, systematic proselytizing, and harassment of cadets of other faiths by evangelical Protestants.
Reported incidents include:
- Yale theology professor Kristen Leslie reported that an academy chaplain told cadets last year to tell fellow cadets who are not born again that they will burn in hell.
- Jewish cadets have been called "Christ killers" by evangelical Christian cadets.
- Cadets are pressured to attend religious services.
- Public prayers are held before official events.
- Flyers for the movie "The Passion of the Christ" were placed on all the chairs in the dining hall which said, "This is an officially sponsored USAFA event."
Last year, football coach Fisher DeBerry hung a banner in the team locker room that read, "I am a Christian first and last. I am a member of Team Jesus Christ."
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has produced a report on "Religious Coercion and Endorsement of Religion at the United States Air Force Academy."
The Air Force announced May 3 that it would create a "cross-functional task force on the religious climate at the United States Air Force Academy" in response to the complaint from Americans United.
However, Jennifer Stephens, the Air Force spokeswoman on the task force, said the task force did not meet with Capt. Melinda Morton, the Air Force chaplain who first called attention to the problem.
Red State Rabble is curious. Where do the real loyalties of these officers -- and future officers -- lie? With the country, or with their religion?
Here in Kansas, we thought we were ahead of the curve, but it seems we're only experiencing the tip of the wedge. The Air Force Academy is where they've shoved it in a little deeper. When our country resembles Iran, we'll know it's all the way in.