USAFA Religious Training Gets Positive Reviews, could go AF-Wide

The Colorado Springs Gazette, local to the US Air Force Academy, carried a variety of positive comments from participants in USAFA’s second Religious Respect Conference. In fact, USAFA chaplains are advocating for their programs to be implemented Air Force-wide.  In “AFA religious respect program could soon go service-wide,” reporter Erin Prater noted

Chaplains hope to transition the Religious Respect Training Program throughout the Air Force as soon as possible, chaplain Maj. Shawn Menchion said…

David Oringderff, a local Wiccan leader, had high praise for USAFA’s efforts: 

“I was not prepared for the extent of the positive outcome. It’s just incredible.  I do a lot of interfaith work, and this program should be a model for interfaith programs all over the country.”

Another news report covered similar comments from USAFA’s Islamic chaplain and the Anti-Defamation League:

Academy Muslim Chaplain Mohammed Jodeh…points to the accommodations given to Muslim cadets such as special dietary needs, and the ability to leave formation for Friday services as being more free than in Turkey.
“From first hand experience, what I saw during the last year, (Muslim cadets are) very much accepted and respected also.”
Scott Levin, the Rocky Mountain Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League added, “I believe that the Air Force Academy is working in a very purposeful manner to make it so that there is a culture of respect for all cadets no matter what their religious beliefs.”

Despite Michael Weinstein’s opposition to USAFA’s efforts in support of religious freedom and respect, it seems the Air Force Academy has developed a religious respect training program that is receiving positive reviews from across the spectrum of beliefs.

More importantly, the detailed article by USAFA PA Don Branum highlighted the extensive and well thought out objectives of the program, from teaching a basic “ethic of respect” to teaching these future officers how they will deal with religion in other cultures and areas of the world (that understand religion very differently from Americans).

It seems USAFA has a winner on its hands, but don’t expect Michael Weinstein to agree — despite his claim he supports religious freedom in the military.  His bat-signal has been silent for years, and when USAFA acts without his approval, he get offended.  And his ego is more important to him than USAFA’s mission of developing future officers.

Repeated at the Stars and Stripes.


  • Those comments *are* encouraging. If it went that well, I’m surprised there isn’t an evangelical backlash against it. Evangelical support for actual respect of pluralism would be another positive sign, if that is actually how it pans out.

  • @MESkeptic
    No need to gratuitously bag on “evangelicals.” If you’d like to provide actual examples of “evangelicals” in the US military being against respect and religious education, please do so.

    Over the past few years, it seems a few atheists and critics of religious liberty are the ones who have been the loudest voices claiming the US military should have nothing to do with religion. As the chaplains (correctly) noted in the linked article, that’s precisely the wrong view to take.

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