Roll Call: AF Religious Guidelines
The re-publication of the guidelines is interesting because the guidelines were ordered rescinded by act of Congress last year (see the Congressional Conference Committee report, which resulted in the passage of the Defense Authorization Act of 2007).
Addressing the confusion, one Chaplain reported that the Congressional direction was confused to begin with: it directed the rescinsion of the guidelines and the “reinstatement” of AFPD 52-1, which governed the Chaplaincy program. However, the guidelines had nothing to do with AFPD 52-1, and 52-1 had never been superseded or replaced. Finally, the religious guidelines were not a regulation, but a “statement” on the intended atmosphere of the Air Force. Thus, with this latest release, it appears the Air Force is continuing to operate under the revised guidelines, as published in 2006.
High points from the Roll Call (emphasis added):
The religious guidelines…protect the constitutional right of all Airmen to practice their beliefs while respecting the beliefs of others.
Leaders at every level enjoy the same freedom of expression as all Airmen, but must ensure their words and actions are not construed as official, nor endorsing or disapproving of a particular belief.
Airmen are entitled to practice and freely discuss their personal faith beliefs. There is no restriction on voluntary discussions of religion or the exercise of free speech where it is reasonably clear the discussions are personal, not official or coercive.