The US Air Force Academy issued a press release detailing the results of its investigation into the hiring of Dr. Mike Rosebush. In short, his hiring and continued employment are justified [emphasis added]:
We have thoughtfully and carefully reviewed the conditions and circumstances surrounding Dr. Michael Rosebush’s hire…We have found that at no time did Dr Rosebush’s personal beliefs influence any professional decision or action taken in his position at the Academy…Therefore, there is no legal basis for either his removal or transfer and Dr. Rosebush will be retained in his current position.
USAFA experienced an awkward moment, though, when it released the statement on Facebook and commenters criticized an awkwardly timed omission. USAFA said:
It is critical that we have a safe, non-threatening environment for every Airman…regardless of sex, race, origin, orientation, ethnicity, language, culture or life experiences.
Quite obviously, “religion” is missing from the long list of unique characteristics around which USAFA wants to build a “non-threatening” environment, and religion was one of the key issues to the current “controversy.” They subsequently re-issued the statement correctly.
With the correction, it is commendable USAFA says they want to create a safe, non-threatening environment for everyone — including cadets and staff, regardless of even their religious views. For the time being, they’ve demonstrated that such a “safe” environment exists, because a staff member wasn’t fired because of his religious beliefs, despite calls for exactly that.
Creating a “non-threatening” environment will likely be an ongoing effort, as a perception of “threatening” can be created as much by outsiders as the military itself. Even in this case, a staff member was reportedly investigated only because of accusations about his religious beliefs, and the official press release didn’t say he had a right to his beliefs — it only said those beliefs hadn’t “influence[d] any professional decision or action.” While perhaps unintentional (like the omission of religion in the original release), the statement could leave the implication open that any “influence” would have, prima facie, been “bad.”
Despite this “positive” outcome, its worth remembering that a respected professional had his entire career investigated — to the point of having a government institution issue a press release on it — only because somebody didn’t like his religious beliefs. This in an environment of supposed “tolerance” in society. It seems that one is due tolerance only if one holds the right beliefs — as determined by a few outside critics.
Phil Robertson could probably weigh in on that.
Also at the Air Force Times.