More than once in the past few years Athens Now has “rung the bell” when someone has gone messing with the rights of the brave men and women who routinely put themselves in harm’s way on our behalf. And we must do it again. Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado have recently had their 1st Amendment rights squashed by an organization with the unfortunate name of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. What the MRFF is really about is to see to it that the military is kept from all things religious, not protect the free expression of religion. Here is the “tone of tolerance” contained in a memo from the MRFF’s spokesman, Mikey Weinstein.
"[The message] massively poured fundamentalist Christian gasoline on an already raging out-of-control conflagration of fundamentalist Christian tyranny, exceptionalism, and supremacy at USAFA."
And the offending item(s)? Wait for it…..whiteboards! Cadets actually had the audacity to put scriptures from the Bible on the individual whiteboards that are near the entrances to their rooms at the Academy, which the MRFF found so offensive that they called for the whiteboards to be scrubbed of scripture. The scripture was Galatians 2:20-“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Weinstein called for charges of “misconduct” for anyone who put a Bible verse on their whiteboard, because they were creating a “hostile environment.” Boy howdy, talking about being loved is hostile, don’t you think?
The cadets have fought back, and various scriptures, even ones from the Koran, showed up on whiteboard after whiteboard. They figured that as long as political correctness was going to rule the day, they’d demonstrate diversity by including scriptures other than those from the Bible. The “God graffiti” showed up overnight, a true “night strike,” and the Foundation countered with choice emails to Lt. General Michelle Johnson, Superintendant of the Academy, demanding that they be removed. In truly professional parlance, Mikey said the following: "Congratulations, Michelle!! Now you have a revolt on your hands... What are you going to do about this? Will you enforce the [Air Force Code] and the United States Constitution ...or will you merely give your usual spineless lip service to it and conveniently look the other way? ...Hmmm... let me guess... see you in court."
Hmmmmmm….no, let ME guess, fella. If you are going to interfere with the Constitution while you say you are protecting the Constitution, what you will be facing is some push back, which thankfully has come with both force and prudence. Lt Gen (Ret) Jerry Boykin said the following: "Once the academy allowed cadets to use these whiteboards for their personal use, censorship of religious commentary is unacceptable. Either the Air Force is very confused about the Constitution of the United States or they don't really believe in the liberties that are provided by that document." Boykin, who has faced down Weinstein before, is literally “rallying the troops,” (in this case both military and civilian) by starting a petition on the behalf of the cadets. His first “target” is General Williams herself, and I am quite confident he won’t stop there, nor should he. If you are interested in keeping the expression of the spiritual convictions of Air Force cadets from being crushed, you can go to www.frc.org and sign the petition.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner