While many people may have opinions, the fact is there is no Air Force policy or regulation at all that addresses Bible verses or other public displays of religion — even in an official office setting, even by Air Force “leaders.”
Based on actual military policy, Air Force cadets — and enlisted, and officers — remain free to have verses on their whiteboards and Bibles on their desks, even if some people don’t agree or like it. The mere association of an Air Force leader with a religious belief cannot reasonably be interpreted to be improper — or else far more censorship and restriction on conduct needs to occur. After all, if a cadet can’t handle seeing a Bible verse on a whiteboard, how will he react when he sees his commander wearing a yarmulke?
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Overnight, Scriptures from Philippians 4 to Psalm 28 started appearing up and down dorm hallways on whiteboards — a stealth operation to counter the growing culture of religious oppression.
The FRC notes Michael “Mikey” Weinstein “went into panic mode” when he fired off an email to Academy Superintendent LtGen Michelle Johnson: Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, a self-described religious liberty advocate, is threatening to sue the US Air Force Academy if it fails to punish cadets who exercised their religious liberty.
As previously noted in the original discussion, a large group of cadets responded to the original story of Weinstein successfully getting a Bible verse erased from a cadet whiteboard by posting verses of their own — from the Bible, Qur’an, movies, the Helix, and even the Flying Spaghetti Monster. (One said “go atheists!”)
Update 2: This story is now updated here.
Update: Many USAFA cadets are now openly taunting Mikey Weinstein by posting verses (and commentary) to their message boards:
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently erupted when he found out a cadet wrote a Bible verse on his message board in a USAFA hallway:
The text is Galatians 2:20:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
The labels indicate the room belongs to a 2° (junior) in Cadet Squadron 21.
The Liberty Institute, which has represented SMSgt Philip Monk in his allegation of religious discrimination against the US Air Force, announced that SMSgt Monk had been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for the time period covering his last assignment:
Monk’s attorney, Mike Berry of Liberty Institute, says the Air Force has recognized the outstanding job Monk did as first sergeant…
Berry sees the award as a testament to Monk’s courage and conviction…
“For a long time his future and even his military retirement and pension were kind of up in the air and we weren’t really sure what was going to happen to him,” Berry continues. “And yet now we have the Air Force coming out and awarding him this prestigious Read more
Update: J.B. Wells wonders aloud if the DoD intentionally produced the policy to change the religious freedom focus to turbans and beards while keeping “liberal constituencies” like Michael Weinstein “at bay.”
There have been a wide variety of responses to the US military’s update to DODI 1300.17 (accommodating religious freedom), with language that seems to imply a more open attitude toward outward display and expression of religious belief.
The Pentagon reportedly decided to change its policy on religious wear after Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, a Sikh, spoke at a Congressional briefing about the challenges American Sikhs face in the military earlier in January. Kalsi told members of Congress that he believes he can effectively serve his country while still maintaining his religious appearance, including an uncut beard and a turban.
While that may or may not have been a factor, the DoDI clearly includes language from both the 2013 and 2014 National Defense Authorization Acts — that is, requirements levied by Congress, not just reconsideration based on serving Soldiers.
The US Navy appeared to try to quell Read more
Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Philip Monk, who had filed a complaint of religious discrimination, had apparently inspired an Air Force investigation into his claims. Now it seems he is being investigated for making a “false official statement.”
The Air Force has taken the first steps to criminally investigate Monk for talking to the media about his situation…
On Aug. 27, an Air Force investigator met with Monk and his attorney, Mike Berry from Liberty Institute. Berry expected it to be a routine meeting to take a statement from his client, but during the meeting the investigator said that he would read Monk his Miranda rights.
Monk was advised that he is being investigated Read more