COLORADO SPRINGS, March 14, 2014— Reaction to Religious freedom issues at the US Air Force Academy, Colorado, is coming in swift and strongly in support of cadets quietly but firmly protesting restrictions on their freedom of religion.
According to the Family Research Council, the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition comprised of 24 groups led by the Family Research Council and including legal groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Counsel, The Liberty Institute, and Thomas More Law Center, announced that they stand ready to offer assistance to any Air Force Academy cadet who faces repercussions for writing a Bible verse on a hallway whiteboard that has been designated by the Academy for both official and personal use.
Reports Wednesday said that in response to Academy officials demanding that a Bible verse be removed from a cadet’s personal whiteboard space, verses from the Bible and the Koran have popped up all over the cadet dorms.
Meanwhile, Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-5) released a letter he sent to Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson. The letter begins:
I am deeply concerned and outraged by recent news reports indicating that an Air Force Cadet was forced to remove a Bible verse from the whiteboard posted outside his room. I was further troubled to learn that the apparent reason the Cadet in question had to remove this verse was due to the fact that he is in a position of leadership.
He goes on to note that “Religious freedom and religious tolerance go hand in hand.” Religious freedom is built into our Constitution, he notes, and those who defend our freedom should not have their own religious freedom curtailed.
He closed his letter by requesting “a full accounting of this incident.”
It may be that the officer who censored the Cadet should be the one who should be punished. I would also like an explanation of the apparent distinction drawn between those in leadership and other Cadet’s regarding religious freedom. I would also appreciate an explanation of the apparent influence the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has at the Air Force Academy in legal and media issues relating to decisions on Cadets’ religious practices over the past 5 years. The MRFF is an organization that seems to detest religious expression of any faith, and has become so outlandish in its claims that it should simply be ignored.
Family Research Council’s Executive Vice President Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin agrees:
This reflects that the cadets understand the Constitution and have a greater faith in the Constitution than their leaders. They are freely exercising their constitutional rights that they will be defending upon graduation.
Gary McCaleb, Chief Solicitor and Executive Vice President for Strategy Implementation at Alliance Defending Freedom said:
Suppressing religion is wrong whether it is done behind an Iron Curtain or in a dorm hallway. Certainly such raw anti-religious discrimination has no place in America’s Air Force.
Mikey Weinstein, director of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation told Fox News reporter Todd Starnes that his group had been contacted by other cadets, faculty and staff members complaining about the Christian message saying:
“It clearly elevated one religious faith (fundamentalist Christianity) over all others at an already virulently hyper-fundamentalist Christian institution,” he said. “It massively poured fundamentalist Christian gasoline on an already raging out-of-control conflagration of fundamentalist Christian tyranny, exceptionalism and supremacy at USAFA.”
Word of the incident is spreading like a Colorado wildfire among the graduate community, which is highly supportive of the cadets.