Armed Forces of "The One and Only"

It seems that the armed forces may be changing their motto slightly. The cry may be changing from, "An Army of One" to "Soldiers in the Army of the One and Only".

Those who have forgotten about the evangelical splash made on the military world by Lt. Gen. Boykin may want to read an excellent primer on the role of evangelicals in our armed forces as they try to understand how the following story, as reported by the LA Times on April 29, 2005 and entitled "Group Details Air Force Academy Religious Bias", affects the U.S. in a much more fundamental way than the conservative Christian movement to take-over any or all of the three branches of government.

The Times reports that Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has found what it calls a "religious intolerance" that is both "systemic and pervasive at the U.S. Air Force Academy". Spokespeople for the Academy declined to comment on the allegations.

While not commenting, the Academy has acknowledged some instances in which certain individuals have gone "too far in pushing their faith". Apparently that recognition was in response to 55 complaints over the last 4 years filed by cadets who felt that evangelical Christians dominated the Academy. Some minor directives were also handed out to teachers and cadets by the Academy about respecting religious diversity.

However, Americans United found that the problems "stretched to the very highest levels of the Academy". Their report found that cadets who refused to attend chapel after dinner were "marched back to their dorms in a ritual called 'heathen flight'"; an instructor was found to have ordered students to pray before a final exam; and a Christmas greeting in the base newspaper held Jesus as the only hope for the world. This greeting was signed by 300 people including 16 heads or department heads of academic departments, 9 professors, the dean of faculty and the football coach.

The report by Americans United also found that Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida, commander of cadets and self-described "born-again Christian", shared a code with which he spoke to other evangelicals including one that was a masked reference to a parable about one's faith.

Even Yale Divinity Students were surprised at the proselytizing going on at the Academy. They reported that cadets were encouraged to preach to others and to remind those that weren't part of the "born again" group that they risked being burned "in the fires of hell" because of their particular belief or lack of a "born again" belief.

The department of the Air Force in Washington only said that their commanders encourage self-improvement "in all areas" and included "religious accomodation" as one of those areas.

One would think that a much more serious investigation into the Colorado Springs Air Force Academy would take place.

Perhaps the investigators of that facility are a bit tired. They just finished a series of rape and sexual assault scandals that first emerged 2 years ago at the very same facility.

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