Religious freedom is uniquely valued and protected by the US military. The US Air Force Academy has done a generally admirable, if sometimes imperfect, job of defending religious freedom from those who would demand the government restrict it, like perennial USAFA critic Michael Weinstein. Though there’s been a quiet interlude with regard to Weinstein and the Academy for a little while, Weinstein has indicated he isn’t done with USAFA yet.
But it looks like USAFA is done with him.
Michael Weinstein apparently filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the US Air Force Academy in November of last year, which was finally completed in July of this year. He then provided the information to his apparent ally-reporter at the Colorado Springs Independent, Pam Zubeck, who started her article in the CSIndy this way:
Leaders at the Air Force Academy seem to think that dealing with some complaints about religious bias isn’t worth their time.
That’s the most obvious takeaway from several of the 2,516 pages of documents, mostly e-mails, the academy recently turned over to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation…
The first sentence out of the chute is a mischaracterization of USAFA’s Read more
The Air Force Times reports that the recent team led by General (ret) Patrick Gamble to assess the religious climate at the Air Force Academy found cadets were actually more fed up with bad press than they were at issue with their religious freedoms:
Air Force Academy cadets are happy overall with their level of religious freedom there but are distressed by the “constant negative press” the academy receives…
The AFTimes cited the MRFF as the source of the report, as it has not been publicly released; however, the AFTimes appears to have come to quite a different conclusion Read more
The prior article on the upcoming religious climate review at USAFA noted most major news repeats of the CSIndy story missed some of the more interesting details.
The Associated Press article closed with a single sentence on a related topic:
The Independent reported that the Air Force also plans to review questions raised by an academy faculty member about the qualifications of some of the faculty.
While the statement may seem unrelated to religion at USAFA, it’s actually an integral piece to the puzzle. Here’s what the Independent said:
A second inquiry…involves alleged accreditation violations, religious discrimination and cronyism in hiring civilian faculty.
“I am very concerned that [USAFA] may have committed persistent, gross violations of allowing inadequate academic credentials of many military instructors,” R. David Mullin, associate professor of economics, writes in his complaint to the Higher Learning Commission, Chicago, which accredits the academy.
“Also there have been violations of First Amendment rights and academic freedom by Brigadier General Dana Born, Read more
The Air Force Times notes the push by the US Air Force Academy to inspire cadets about a career field most still dread: UAVs.
Flying a drone isn’t sexy — and the cadets at the Air Force Academy here don’t pretend that it is… Read more