There appears to be a double-standard at the Air Force Academy.
The Academy is defending its promotion of an atheist event just a week after a Christian cadet was pressured into removing a Bible verse from his personal white board because it allegedly offended non-Christian cadets.
“Ask An Atheist Day” was sponsored by The Freethinkers Club, an Academy approved cadet club. The event was advertised all week on Academy bulletin screens and an official email sent to the Cadet Wing. An invitation was also issued by a cadet to the entire Cadet Wing assembly on Tuesday.
As I reported last week, a cadet “voluntarily” removed a Bible verse he had written on a white board hanging outside his dorm room. “I have been crucified with Christ therefore I no longer live, but Christ lives in me,” the verse from Galatians 2:20 read.
That verse led to a formal complaint from Mikey Weinstein, of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Exactly two hours and nine minutes after the complaint was filed, the Bible verse was erased.
Academy Superintendent Michelle Johnson said in a written statement about the incident that the verse was removed because there was a “potential perception” problem.
“The scripture was below the cadet’s name on a white board and could cause subordinates to doubt the leader’s religious impartiality,” she said.
And in 2011 Air Force Academy cadet commanders apologized and backed away from an Operation Christmas Child toy program after Weinstein complained of religious intolerance.
Operation Christmas Child is a program sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse, a ministry run by Evangelical Christian Franklin Graham.
Weinstein was specifically upset about an announcement about the toy program that was made to the entire cadet wing as well as an email that was sent to all cadets.
The academy sided with Weinstein and Brig. Gen. Richard Clark, who was then the Commandant of Cadets at the Academy, apologized to Weinstein.
The Academy also sent an email to cadets retracting an earlier email promoting Operation Christmas Child.
“We agree that it was inappropriate,” Academy Spokesman Lt. Col. John Bryan told the Colorado Gazette in 2011.
So let’s review. The Air Force Academy bends over backwards to promote an atheist event, but they drop the hammer on Christian-themed activities. A double-standard appears to be flying high at the Academy.
“Clearly, it is Johnson’s leadership which raises questions about religious impartiality,” wrote Mark Alexander, of Patriot Post, a conservative website.
“There may be some circumstantial differences between the ‘Ask an Atheist’ event and Operation Christmas Child and I understand that,” said Michael Berry, an attorney with Liberty Institute, a legal firm specializing in religious liberty cases. “The perception is being created among the public and the parents and the cadets that the Academy is showing favoritism or in this case it’s showing animosity and hostility toward anything religious.”
“If the Air Force Academy is going to allow atheists to host a discussion, they need to be showing the same level of openness to non-atheists – specifically Christians,” he said.
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SOURCE: Charisma News