MRFF Forces Air Force to Pull Christian Document


I had the pleasure of hanging out with Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation in North Carolina over the Rock Beyond Belief weekend (and his massive bodyguard, who makes me look petite and is a really great guy). Now MRFF has chalked up another victory, forcing the Air Force to withdraw a clearly out-of-bounds document from an officer training program:

The Air Force has pulled a seven-page mandatory reading that equated chapel attendance with good leadership from its distance learning Squadron Officer School course as of March 28.

The decision came after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation demanded in a March 27 letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz that the service stop using the document on the grounds that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

The document, entitled “Three Important Documents,” was written by the Squadron Officer College staff almost eight years ago. Under a subsection of the document, entitled “Spiritual and Ethical Responsibilities,” officers are directed to “possess the qualities of character that we think of as truly American.”

“If you attend chapel regularly, both officers and Airmen are likely to follow this example,” according to the paper. “If you are morally lax in your personal life, a general moral indifference within the command can be expected.”

An Air Force captain currently taking the course found the statements in the document alarming and provided a copy of it to Air Force Times. He asked not to be named out of fear of reprisal. He also is a client of MRFF.

These are the kinds of cases MRFF handles all the time on behalf of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.

Comments

  1. Michael Heath says

    “If you attend chapel regularly, both officers and Airmen are likely to follow this example,” according to the paper. “If you are morally lax in your personal life, a general moral indifference within the command can be expected.”

    I think the evidence would show that those who attend chapel regularly and believe what the Air Force Christianists want you to believe tracks to a strong negative correlation when it comes to moral behavior – particularly when it comes to how they treat other humans and in regards to honesty.

    JD is an illustrative example of both moral failings, where his religious-derived bigotry has him seeking to deny some military personnel the exercise of their constitutionally protected rights, e.g., gays and non-Christianists – even if they’re fellow Christians, and continually lies to promote that agenda. And this behavior is observed in spite of his taking an oath to act in the opposite manner by defending the Constitution rather than subverting. JD also demonstrably opposes the self-directed demand within the military they act with honor rather than the dishonor JD acts out and promotes others do as well.

  2. typecaster says

    You just have to love a non-sequitur asserted as self-evidently good logic – that if you don’t attend Christian chapel regularly, then you’re morally lax in your personal life. The really sad thing is that the person who wrote that document undoubtedly thinks that this is the case.

    And the chain of command that approved it….

  3. typecaster says

    *Chuckle*. The excellent Mr. Heath got his comment in while I was typing, and pointed out, in much greater precision (as expected) the point I attempted in a flippant manner.

    But JD, and those other Christianists who think like him,would quite sincerely disagree that they were acting dishonorably, or that they were trying to deny just rights to anyone. (Although I agree completely that they are doing both.) It’s yet another example of how words don’t mean the same thing anymore at opposite ends of the spectrum, There’s no common ground anymore for people to start a discussion from, since the starting point requires negotiating virtually the entire vocabulary to be used. It’s as infuriating as trying to argue with a pre-suppositionalist.

    Which, of course, some of these guys are.

  4. MikeMa says

    I wonder (not really) if JD will stop by and apologize for his very unchristian remarks about the Rock Beyond Belief concert.

  5. eric says

    @2:

    You just have to love a non-sequitur asserted as self-evidently good logic – that if you don’t attend Christian chapel regularly, then you’re morally lax in your personal life. The really sad thing is that the person who wrote that document undoubtedly thinks that this is the case.

    I’m guessing the person who wrote it has had an extremely narrow life experience, i.e., never met any non-WASPs, and largely doesn’t even think about non-Christians. A Jew is probably a hypothetical entity that only exists in Hollywood and New York. And atheists? Perish the thought!

    The author probably assumes every upstanding military officer is Christian, and someone who talks about their faith, prays before meals, and in other ways makes it obvious to their unit that they are Christian. I.e., like 99% of the people the author has ever known. The message is: when such a person skips Church services to watch football, they look like a hypocritical, morally lax, cafeteria Christian. People watching you will think its okay to skip doing your orders, since you obviously think its okay to skip God’s orders. So you’d better attend Church service regularly.

    There is a pinch of an okay lesson in there: people tend to lose respect quickly for “do as I say, not as I do” bosses. If you want to be a good leader of people, don’t do that: strive to live the principles you tell others to live by. However, that good lesson is completely swamped out by the idiocy.

  6. peterh says

    “An Air Force captain currently taking the course found the statements in the document alarming and provided a copy of it to Air Force Times. He asked not to be named out of fear of reprisal.” (emphasis added)

    This is as alarming as anything the offending document might contain. And I do realize the captain’s request is based on the (disgusting) reality of the situation.

  7. slc1 says

    Re eric @ #5

    I’m guessing the person who wrote it has had an extremely narrow life experience, i.e., never met any non-WASPs, and largely doesn’t even think about non-Christians. A Jew is probably a hypothetical entity that only exists in Hollywood and New York

    How about the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Norton Schwartz?

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