The 180th Fighter Wing Commander has reportedly censored an article written by his Medical Group Commander, Col Florencio Marquinez, because of a complaint by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein. (The article can be read here.)
According to the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), [a civilian] complained about Marquinez’ article, claiming that it was “odious” and “offending.” In response to the complaint, Commander Col. Craig R. Baker ordered the newsletter to be republished without Marquinez’ piece.
Weinstein claimed full credit, praising the commander. The “odious” and “offending” words were his [emphasis added]: Read more
The US Army War College published a monograph on the core topic of the US military’s “evolving culture of hostility toward religious presence and expression.” The authors were Don Snider, a Senior Fellow in the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic (CAPE) at West Point and an Adjunct Research Professor in the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College, and retired US Army Col Alex Shine of the War College.
The paper, entitled “A Soldier’s Morality, Religion, and Our Professional Ethic: Does the Army’s Culture Facilitate Integration, Character Development, and Trust in the Profession?“, is clearly meant to be academic, but at 30 pages makes for a fairly easy – and worthwhile – read.
The authors focus on the influence of changing social values on ethics within the US military, as demonstrated in the increasing secularism in American society that is essentially hostile to religion: Read more
In an interesting comparison on perspective, the Washington Times noted near the end of May that some were making an effort to “push [the] military for more religious liberty,” including members of Congress:
Rep. John Fleming, Louisiana Republican, criticized the military for appearing “zealous to shut down expressions of faith.”
“This is our military telling service members to raise their hands and ask permission before they dare to utter an expression of faith,” Mr. Fleming said during a speech at the Family Research Council.
Daniel Blomberg of the Becket Fund noted that Congress had twice passed laws requiring the US military to “be more accommodating to religious beliefs and practices,” laws Read more
Mikey Weinstein’s confused take on the Air Force’s policy: It’s like an umbrella in a tsunami…
McClatchy asked the question no other media outlet has in the past few weeks: What ever became of the “offsite” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said she was convening?
Late last month, James and Welsh convened a “Religious Freedom Focus Day” conference of senior chaplains and legal and manpower officials to discuss the policy. An Air Force spokeswoman, Rose Richeson, declined to make the results of the April 28 meeting public, saying it would be “too premature to provide an interview.”
It would seem, though, someone may have heard what occurred:
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council…said that based on what he’d heard from people at the meeting he expected the Air Force to “make a policy change shortly.”
The article says Perkins’ statement “alarms supporters of the policy,” and cites exactly one person: Michael “Mikey” Weinstein. The policy Read more
Retired USAF MajGen Bentley Rayburn, potential competition for sitting US Rep Doug Lamborn, recently said Congressman Lamborn wasn’t doing enough for religious freedom in the Air Force. He wrote a guest column in the Colorado Springs Gazette, local to USAFA, giving his take on recent controversies:
Nobody can state with a straight face that the act of posting a Bible verse on a white board infringes or damages anyone else’s constitutionally protected individual rights…
Air Force Instruction 1-1 para 2-12 is without equivocation in stating that Airmen “should confidently practice [their] own beliefs while respecting others whose viewpoints differ from your own…”
To walk away from creating a culture at the Air Force Academy where ideas are expressed, debated, defended and strengthened is to make it a third-rate school, hardly deserving to be called a real university.
And what kind of men and women Read more
Update: Congressman Lamborn’s potential political rivals reacted, with Republican Bentley Rayburn, a retired Major General and 1975 USAFA graduate, saying Lamborn hasn’t done enough to support religious freedom at USAFA, while Democrat Irv Halter, also a retired Major General and 1977 USAFA graduate, says Lamborn has gone too far.
A few weeks ago congressmen asked the Secretary of the Air Force to document and explain the Air Force religious policy and its application at the US Air Force Academy, following USAFA’s command decision to pull down a Bible verse on a cadet’s whiteboard. As noted then and in a subsequent congressional hearing, the Air Force has relied heavily on AFI 1-1, a Chief of Staff level AFI published in the final days of General Norton Schwartz’s tenure in 2012.
Now, Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado (home to the US Air Force Academy) has written a letter signed by 22 other congressmen asking Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James to revise the policy at issue:
The August 2012 Air Force regulations which govern religious freedom and expression (AFI 1-1) are inconsistent with Congressional intent and current law…
The first issue Lamborn cites is the “undefinable” standard the Air Force uses [emphasis added]: Read more
View the video from approximately 4:10.
How’d you like to be the cadet who posted Galatians 2:20? You are personally responsible for influencing religious liberty policy in the US Air Force. Nicely done.
A few weeks ago the US Air Force Academy made the news when a Bible verse was stripped from a USAFA cadet’s dry erase board. The incident led Congressmen to question the Air Force leadership about the incident when they appeared for a budget meeting. Secretary James and Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh were initially defensive, citing AFI 1-1 as the justification for the command action against the cadet, though they did agree to provide a written explanation for the action. General Welsh famously expressed his “single biggest frustration” over what he called the untrue “perception [of] religious persecution” in the Air Force.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, Secretary James seemed to have tweaked the Air Force reaction.
In response Read more
A series of locally produced public affairs articles by the DoD have tried to encourage troops to use ‘better judgment’ when it comes to social media — following a spate of ‘scandals’ in which US troops have brought less than positive attention to the military. One was an old photo of an Airman ‘kissing’ a POW/MIA painting; another, an Airman who flaunted avoiding saluting during retreat. Others have included irreverent photos of training for Honor Guard details — which included the sensitive images of flag-draped caskets.
The articles have taken the same general, and generally unhelpful, tone: ‘Please be careful’ — but offering little else in terms of specific guidance. In fact, the authors — generally young military Public Affairs officers — often venture into the untenable. Quoting a local Med Group First Sergeant, one said:
Before posting something, think, ‘Would my base commander approve of this post if it made it onto [a television channel]?’
The brackets probably originally said “CNN,” as a First Sergeant Read more