Jun 07 2013

Has the Air Force Finally Cracked Down on the Gay-Bashing Christian Fighter Pilot?

dowty2Those who have been reading my blog here for a while are probably quite familiar with Air Force Major Jonathan C. Dowty, a.k.a. the “Christian Fighter Pilot.” I’ve written fairly often about this fine officer — about his cyber bullying of enlisted service members who can’t respond to defend themselves because he is an officer, about his disturbing obsession with Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), and most recently about his numerous posts on the subject of “homosexuals” serving in the military.

A few days ago, I noticed that the links in some of my posts to posts on Maj. Dowty’s “Christian Fighter Pilot” blog were broken, so I went to his blog to see why these links weren’t working. I noticed immediately that the look of Maj. Dowty’s blog had changed, and at first thought that the broken links might just have something to do with him reformatting his blog, and that the URLs to the posts I had linked to might have changed.

Since a number of the broken links were to Maj. Dowty’s posts about the “homosexuals,” I figured the easiest way to find these posts would be to use the search function on his blog and do a search on the word “homosexuals.” But when I did the search, I got a message saying, “Sorry, but nothing matched your search criteria. Please try again with some different keywords.” Knowing that Maj. Dowty had written a plethora of posts containing the word “homosexuals,” I thought that maybe the search function on his blog wasn’t working, so I tried a few searches on other words that frequently appear in his posts, and all of those other searches worked just fine, returning the expected hits. I then did a search on the terms “don’t ask don’t tell” and “DADT,” which returned a handful of hits, but nowhere even close to the number of posts that I know he has written about the repeal of DADT. That’s because almost all of the posts he’s written about DADT, most of which were homophobic rants, naturally contained the word “homosexuals.”

Doing a little more checking, I found that something else was also gone. On Maj. Dowty’s homepage, there is a “Features” section that has featured the same five posts for years. One of the five is a post from 2010, titled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: The Christian Military Perspective.” The link to that post is still listed on the homepage, but clicking on it now leads to a page with the message: “This is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it? It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching can help.” The links to the other four posts still lead to those posts.

Clearly, every post on Maj. Dowty’s blog containing the word “homosexuals” has been deleted.

Did Maj. Dowty have a change of heart and suddenly realize that these posts were not only extremely offensive but completely inappropriate for an active duty U.S. military officer to be posting? Yeah, sure. And a pig just flew past my window, too.

The deletion by Maj. Dowty of his offensive anti-gay posts is much more likely the result of the pressure kept up on Air Force leadership by MRFF’s Director for LGBT Affairs, Edie Disler. As I wrote back in December, a letter from Disler to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh resulted in the first action ever taken by the Air Force to restrain the virulently homophobic Maj. Dowty, who had to edit one of his posts in which he had blamed an incident of bestiality by a Marine on the repeal of DADT.

The editing of only one of Maj. Dowty’s countless homophobic rants, however, was absolutely not enough, and MRFF has kept up the pressure on Air Force leadership to do much more than that. With the sudden removal by Maj. Dowty of all of his posts about the “homosexuals,” it appears that we’ve finally succeeded.

But the story doesn’t end there. You see, Maj. Dowty has a friend and ally over at FOX News named Todd Starnes, who seems to have become as obsessed with MRFF as Maj. Dowty himself. Starnes, a long time antagonist of MRFF, is one of the “journalists” who has jumped on the recent lies about Mikey Weinstein and MRFF that are being spread by breitbart.com, the Family Research Council, and certain members of Congress.

Most recently, Starnes penned an article titled “Congressman: Troops Being Punished For Expressing Religious Faith,” in which he listed a bunch of examples of alleged Christian “persecution” by the military. Topping Starnes’s list was this:

“A service member received a ‘severe and possibly career-ending reprimand’ for expressing his faith’s religious position about homosexuality in a personal religious blog.”

Now, Starnes did not mention Maj. Dowty or his “Christian Fighter Pilot” blog by name, so I can’t proclaim with a hundred percent certainty that Maj. Dowty is the service member to whom Starnes was referring, but what other blogger who Starnes would even know about just removed all of his posts about “homosexuals” from his blog? I report, you decide.


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  1. 1
    Blake Page

    This is brilliant! I would love to see more info come forward on this, but with all the evidence together it looks fairly clear…

  2. 2

    I don’t have the time, but the Internet Archive Wayback Machine probably has various stages of his site.

  3. 3
    Raging Bee

    I don’t know squat about military regs or the UCMJ, but I find it hard to believe that no one could stop Dowty from bullying lower-ranking personnel because he was an officer. Isn’t there something in those regs about mucking about outside of your own designated chain of command? Of course a major can bully people directly under him in his own unit — but if he stepped on someone else’s turf, wouldn’t some other major, or higher-ranking officer, have something to say about it?

    Is it really against the rules to stand up to an officer outside your own chain of command, on an issue that has nothing to do with any legitimate military duty of yours? Is it against the rules for you to tell your ACTUAL superiors about this problem? And is it against the rules for other officers to question the legitimacy of the offending officer’s actions? Or is all this just something everyone’s pretending they can’t do because no one wants to stand up to Christian bullies?

  4. 4

    The question is if it’s literally a “letter of reprimand”. Those can indeed be career ending. But there are also letters of “admonishment” and letters of “counseling”, which are two lower levels. If it’s even true, it’s more likely that he received one of the other two.

  5. 5
    Ace of Sevens

    And this issue wasn’t the blog. The issue was him flaunting his rank and position and putting all the lower ranked people who work with him in an awkward position. Officers can hate gays all they want. They just can’t use the military to give credibility to their positions or discriminate on the job.

  6. 6
    Chris Rodda

    No, this is not something they’re pretending, Raging Bee. These enlisted service members are genuinely afraid that standing up to a field grade officer to defend themselves could be considered insubordination.

  7. 7

    Chris, I think you’re misinterpreting Raging Bee’s question. If I understood Raging Bee correctly, they (and I) wondered whether the higher-ups in the bullied servicemembers’ chains of command or in Doherty’s own chain of command couldn’t have stopped the Christian Fighter Pilot much earlier. I’m not a lawyer and don’t have any military experience, but in my opinion pulling rank on someone outside your chain of command on a non-military matter should be squashed, maybe as “conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline” or, if that fails, “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman”. If it isn’t squashed and officers are allowed to bully servicemembers in this way, I’d call that a severe failure of leadership.

    Besides, if I were an Air Force Major, I’d be seriously pissed if some other Major tried to bully my subordinates, if only because he’s stepping on my turf.

  8. 8
    Chris Rodda

    Oh … we’ve been trying to get the Air Force to take action to stop Dowty for several years and have had minor successes here and there, but I can’t go into details about any of that here.

  9. 9

    Even if Dowty has gone silent on the web he is still a deranged individual flying a multimillion dollar, well armed aircraft that could do a lot of damage.

  10. 10

    Even if there are specific laws and regulations that could be used in this case; it’s incredibly hard to get them to apply those laws if you happen to be lower ranking or enlisted (and if you are a lower ranking enlisted, you have almost no protections/safeguards whatsoever). The situation gets even worse if it’s a situation involving some sort of priveliged class vs. a less privileged group member (male vs female, white vs. black, straight vs. gay, christian vs. atheist, etc.)

    The military is pretty good at ‘unofficially’ doing things it’s not supposed to.

  11. 11

    The best news of the day.

  12. 12

    That is some great snooping on your part. I hope it’s true. You know, I have to come here to find out what’s going on. You never see this stuff reported in the regular news. Great work! And of course, Mikey’s a hero. Always was.

  13. 13

    I should have thought that his convictions would have been stronger. After all it wasn’t even physical punishment he was threatened with, simply a severe reprimand.

  14. 14
    Argle Bargle

    I’m a retired Navy Senior Chief Legalman (E8). Essentially I was a military paralegal. My last job was Legal Officer for a large (1400 person) shore command. So I think I’m qualified to talk about who can be charged for insubordination.

    Article 89 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice – Disrespect toward Superior Commissioned Officer says in its entirety:

    Any person subject to this chapter who behaves with disrespect toward his superior commissioned officer shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

    There is nothing about chain of command or even branch of service in the article. “Any person” refers to a member of the U.S. military (see Article 2 for a complete description of who “any person” includes. The superior commissioned officer is anyone who holds a commission in the U.S. military and has a senior rank to the “any person”. This means a junior officer can be tried under Article 89 as well as any enlisted or warrant person. If Major Dowty wanted to charge a Marine Corps lieutenant under Article 89 he could.

  15. 15
    Phillip IV

    If just been to the site, and it seems the blog (“news”) portion of it is now completely gone. if you click on it, you get the following message:

    “The God and Country blog has been temporarily disabled.

    Please return on 15 July for an update.”

    So, Dowty is either backing down or setting himself up to go down in a blaze of infamy – but I’d say it’s definite progress, in either case, so congratulations on that.

  16. 16
    Chris Rodda

    @ Phillip IV … Yes, I saw that yesterday, and am planning on writing an “update” post about it tomorrow.

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