Mr. Michael Weinstein has said his “fight is far from over” in his self-described war against evangelical Christianity in the military, despite the recent dismissal of his lawsuit against the Air Force Academy. According to his blog, Weinstein believes that the suit was dismissed on a “technicality;” once that technicality is overcome, the suit will be renewed. Judge James Parker dismissed the suit because it contained only “vague allegations” and no evidence of harm from people who lacked standing—because they weren’t cadets. Weinstein was unfazed and said:
“Religious bias and the outrageous violations of the separation of church and state continue to spread rampantly throughout our military” and that the “military is full of evangelizing fundamentalists.”
LtCol Jonathan C. Dowty is an Air Force veteran and highly experienced fighter pilot, test pilot, and flight instructor. Dowty is a distinguished graduate of the US Air Force Academy and flew the F-16 in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, including night combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Dowty was subsequently selected to attend the US Air Force Test Pilot School where he graduated as the second ranked pilot in academics. He then flew flight test and test support missions for various Air Force, contract, and international test programs covering all aspects of developmental test, including structures, stability and control, avionics and systems integration, weapons, and other areas.
Among other acquisition program management and leadership positions, Dowty has served as the Chief F-16 instructor pilot and stability and control subject matter expert at the USAF Test Pilot School, where he also helped develop the school’s first-ever graduate-level accredited curriculum. He was later chosen to lead Flight Test Safety operations for the Air Force’s largest test range, overseeing the safe and efficient execution of nearly 100,000 air operations a year.
Dowty is an experienced instructor and author, having taught graduate level education and been published in both technical and non-technical fields. He holds a Masters of Science in Flight Test Engineering and a Master of Military Operational Art and Science.
LtCol Dowty is a command pilot with more than 2,000 flight hours in more than 35 different aircraft.
The views presented are those of the speaker or author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its Components.
As ChristianFighterPilot.com has noted before, the fight for Christian religious freedom will sometimes have consequences that not all Christians have fully considered. In the previous article on Wiccans, we noted that if Christians (and Buddhists, and Eckankarians, and others) can have symbols on their VA-funded plaques, then Wiccans probably should, too. This may create an uncomfortable position for some Christians, particularly those who sincerely believe that the US should ultimately be a Christian nation. Feelings notwithstanding, when Constitutional protections are won for a Christian, they are also won for those with whom Christians may disagree.
In a recent article on this subject, the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State gleefully pointed out some apparent Christian hypocrisy. Read more
Congress has passed the 2007 Defense Authorization Act and forwarded it to the President, who signed it on 17 October 2006. Generally only controversial as the battleground for district military pet-projects, the 2007 Act has become the unlikely forum for the continuation of the debate of religion in the military. In response to the recent changes in military policy regarding religion, the Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee included language in the bill specific to the prayers of chaplains. From H.R. 1522 section 590, Read more
Christian fighter pilots face a unique challenge in their roles as “government officials” and religious individuals. The struggle is ongoing in large part because the American public is confused or misinformed about the correct relationship between religion and society. Weak Christian responses to these public misperceptions have failed to reverse the resulting rise of secularism in America.
Misunderstandings of the proper role of religion in American society have 200 years of history behind them and center on a few simple words in the US Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
The Military Christian’s Response
Updated April 2007. See bottom of page for most recent updates to this story.
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU) is now representing Mrs. Roberta Stewart, the widow of fallen soldier SGT Patrick Stewart, in her dealings with the Veterans’ Administration (VA). Mrs. Stewart is a Wiccan and desires to have a Wiccan symbol (a “pentacle,” an encircled five pointed star) placed on a VA-funded memorial plaque. (Her efforts have also been reported in the Washington Post.) To be clear, Mrs. Stewart is not seeking a headstone to place on an unmarked grave, as she has scattered her husband’s ashes elsewhere. The plaque she seeks would be placed on a “Wall of Heroes” memorial at a veterans’ cemetery near Fernley, Nevada. When notified that her pentacle was not authorized, the VA offered to produce a plaque with no emblem, but Mrs. Stewart declined. The request for a pentacle was made in January of this year. In June, the AU corresponded with the Veterans’ Administration on her behalf and demanded a response within 30 days to “avoid litigation.” Read more
Daily spiritual struggles, constant challenges to a Christian’s faith, the potential for persecution: with so many negatives, why would any Christian even want to be a fighter pilot?
Many of the articles on this website deal with the pessimistic aspects of trying to be an authentic Christian in a sometimes immoral fighter pilot world. This was primarily a somewhat zealous attempt to “set straight” any “starry-eyed” would-be fighter pilots, and it failed to consider those who honestly know very little (good or bad) about the fighter pilot world. A dearth of positive articles may lead some to believe that there isn’t any good in being a fighter pilot and that there’s no respectable reason for a Christian to be a fighter pilot. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There are awesome and positive things about being a fighter pilot, and the fighter pilot world even has aspects that make it desirable as a Christian career. Read more
As noted in an Air Force article, on June 23 Rabbi Resnicoff finished his year of service as special assistant to the Air Force secretary and chief of staff for values and vision. In a Washington Jewish Week article, Resnicoff noted that “for some Christians sharing one’s faith with others is an essential part of their religion” and “the guidelines do not prohibit such free exercise.” Notably, Mikey Weinstein is quoted as calling Resnicoff an “unmitigated disaster.”