Religious Freedom Day passed quietly, with virtually no mainstream media press coverage, even though struggles continue over the proper role of religion in government, the military, and public society. The President’s proclamation is here, and a private organization has started a website to better publicize the day.
In the latest bid to bring closure to the 17-year old suit demanding the removal of the Mount Soledad Cross, the US Court of Appeals has declared the suit moot.
The Navy Times reports that a judge has refused to prevent the Navy from discharging Chaplain (Lt) Klingenschmitt at the end of January. The Chaplain’s suit against the Navy is still outstanding.
The ACLJ has updated their call for petition signatures (see 01/05 post below) here, framing themselves as the legal opposition to the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
The Colorado Springs Gazette has reported [link broken] that cadets feel the Academy is ‘more tolerant.’ According to the Academy surveys, 95% of Christians and 85% of non-Christians said the Academy supports religious freedom.
The ACLJ, the Christian counter to the ACLU, is “gearing up to assist in [the] battle…[over] free speech rights of military chaplains,” which it expects will get renewed interest from the newly elected Democratic congressional leadership. The ACLJ’s current emphasis is on a petition drive to obtain a Presidential Executive Order explicitly directing the military to allow its chaplains to pray in accordance with the dictates of their faith.
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.