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Austin Cline

Christians Complain when Air Force Doesn't Promote Christianity

By June 29, 2012

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Christian Military, Militarized Christianity
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The U.S. Air Force has a long and sordid history of advancing, promoting, and encouraging Christianity -- not just Christianity in general, but conservative, evangelical Christianity in particular. Now that the Air Force is trying to be more neutral on religious matters, conservative Christians are whining.

Most recently, 66 conservative Christians in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to the Air Force complaining that the policies of religious neutrality are really a transition to being "hostile towards religion." Of course, by "religion" they only have in mind their own brand of Christianity and by "hostile" they mean "not privileging my religion."

Here are some of the incidents the conservative Christian lawmakers complained about:

A decision to remove a Latin reference to "God" from a logo/motto for the Rapid Capabilities Office

A decision to stop requiring staff to check for Bibles in Air Force Inn rooms

The removal of a document from a distance-learning course for Squadron Officer School that suggested chapel attendance is a sign of strong leadership

The suspension of an ethics course because the material included Bible passages

Source: Fox News

To its credit, Fox News chose not to promote the Christians' misrepresentations of events and instead showed how, in reality, the Air Force has been acting to stop illegal, inappropriate promotions of evangelical Christianity:

In the case of the Rapid Capabilities Office, the reference to God was removed following a complaint from an atheist group. The original logo, according to Fox News Radio, said in Latin: "Doing God's Work with Other People's Money." It was changed to say, "Doing Miracles with Other People's Money." ...

In the case of the Squadron Officer School course, the training document in question contained the following paragraph: "If you attend chapel regularly, both officers and Airmen are likely to follow this example. If you are morally lax in your personal life, a general moral indifference within the command can be expected."

The Air Force made it clear in their reply to the Republicans that everyone in the Air Force is "free to exercise their constitutional right to practice their religion -- in a manner that is respectful of other individuals' rights to follow their own belief systems." This is exactly the extent to which the Air Force should protect religious liberty.

The Air Force does not, however, have any obligation to advance anyone's religious beliefs or religious ideology -- like for example telling people that attending chapel regularly is equivalent to being morally upright, promoting the idea of doing "God's Work," or ensuring that people have Bibles in hotels.

These conservative Christians in the American government have no respect for or understanding of the separation of church and state. This is why they are a danger to Americans' religious liberty -- although they frequently use the rhetoric of liberty, they only really care about the "liberty" to abuse government power to promote their own religious ideology.

June 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm
(1) Dean J. Smith says:

I am truly gratified that the USAF is finally getting its act together on this matter.

July 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm
(2) Larian LeQuella says:

I can say that the overt evangelism is one of the factors that drove me to retire at 20 years in the Air Force. I got tired of seeing how christianity got a free pass on everything, and I had to actively defend myself as an atheist against misconceptions and prejudice. The Air Force still has a lot to answer for and they need to make up for their incredibly shoddy handling of all matters religious.

Same could be said of the Army, Navy, Marines, and pretty much all of government…

July 12, 2012 at 9:04 pm
(3) Ivy Kenner says:

Religion isnt the only thing that the air forces falls short on…Did you know that if a woman decides to divorce her husband, the air force basically drop kicks the wife and kids and refuse to move them home.? It does not matter if they are in the USA or Japan, they are on their own to find their own way home. They also do not acknowlwdge domestic violence, so there for it does not happen, and the families are in no danger???? The air Force needs to be ashamed of themselves .

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