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Loosening Religious Grip at Air Force Academy
Los Angeles Times ^ | April 24, 2005 | David Kelly

Posted on 04/24/2005 2:29:27 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

.............Cadets and employees are being told they can't proselytize on campus, use government e-mail to send religious messages, put up posters with religious themes or use positions of authority to endorse a particular faith. They must also attend one RSVP class.

About 90% of cadets here are Christian and many of them, as well as teachers and high-ranking officers, are evangelical.

Academy Commandant Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida is a self-described born-again Christian. Last year, football coach Fisher DeBerry hung a banner in the athletic complex that said, "I am a Christian first and last … I am a member of Team Jesus Christ." He later removed it and underwent sensitivity counseling.

When the film, "The Passion of the Christ" came out, some cadets hung posters and sent hundreds of e-mails on campus computers urging people to see it.

Lt. Col. Edie Disler, an English professor who helps run RSVP programs, said some Christians questioned the value of the classes. "They have said: We are in the majority, why do we have to do this?" ......

(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: airforceacademy; christians; christophobia; evangelicals; intolerance; militaryacademy; purge; religion; usaf; usafa
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1 posted on 04/24/2005 2:29:27 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Best way to hack a lib off, mention Christ.


2 posted on 04/24/2005 2:31:17 AM PDT by TXBSAFH (Never underestimate the power of human stupidity--Robert Heinlein)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

RSVP: "Respecting the Spiritual Values of all People"


3 posted on 04/24/2005 2:33:30 AM PDT by AntiGuv (™)
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To: AntiGuv
I belong to the largest non-Catholic denomination in the US (So. Baptist). We have been and are continually maligned, even on this site.
4 posted on 04/24/2005 2:44:39 AM PDT by Coldwater Creek ('We voted like we prayed")
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To: AntiGuv

F@ck sensitivity counseling!


5 posted on 04/24/2005 2:45:08 AM PDT by poobear
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Ravi Zacharias said in all of history, the crowning figure of Jesus rises above all. No one will be able to dislodge Him.

Also, there are many, many, many Evangelicals serving in our military. They will be guided by the Holy Spirit, and will remain true. The acadamy is still light years ahead of 99% of college campuses out there in regards to true religious liberty. Most other campuses are boot camps for Marxists.

6 posted on 04/24/2005 2:47:49 AM PDT by SkyPilot
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Cadets and employees are being told they can't proselytize on campus ...

1st Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Sounds like the "enlightened" at the Academy need a refresher course in civics. I hope this gets slammed down.
7 posted on 04/24/2005 2:52:04 AM PDT by GretchenM (Darwin's *theory* of evolution fanned Hitler's all-too-real eugenics.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
About 90% of cadets here are Christian ...

That must kill them. They now feel the need to attack the Air Force Academy to show how much they despise God.

8 posted on 04/24/2005 2:59:35 AM PDT by raybbr
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To: SkyPilot
Most other campuses are boot camps for Marxists.

Bump!

9 posted on 04/24/2005 3:03:08 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: AntiGuv

Then the question becomes, isn't this a two way street.


10 posted on 04/24/2005 3:11:10 AM PDT by cleo1939
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
re:

" As the class ended, one participant, Lt. Col. Marcia Meeks-Eure, paused before leaving.

'I think this sort of thing is very good because it underscores what we are supposed to be doing," she said. "I am Baptist but I won't talk about my faith unless someone asks.'"

She evidently sees this result as an appropriate goal for the "RSVP" political/atheist indoctrination training. Christians will remain silent unless spoken too. Obviously, Lt. Col. Marcia does not need to refrain from her political, philosophical, or pseudo-religious point of view. She has a government sponsored and paid for platform to do just that, i.e. the RSVP class.

Christian's are striped of their Constitutional 1st Amendment rights. The ACLU's anti-religious viewpoint is endorsed and sponsored by the USAF; it becomes the state-sponsored religion (atheism) in direct violation of the establishment clause. This is the only logical, honest conclusion.

Now, if these cadets held mandatory "church", and mandatory "Bible Study" as part of their curriculum, under color of authority, there'd be a 1st Amendment problem. That is not what's occurring here. Even the Coaches banner is a personal, Constitutionally guaranteed statement of faith.

Otherwise, the U.S. Armed Services had better do some major recruiting amongst the "anti-war" (i.e. anti U.S.A.) atheists among the political left, because Christians will not fight for a Constitution where the 1st Amendment applies to everyone but Christians.

SFS

11 posted on 04/24/2005 3:14:23 AM PDT by Steel and Fire and Stone
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To: Steel and Fire and Stone

It certainly stands things on end.


12 posted on 04/24/2005 3:18:51 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: mariabush

As a former Army chaplain, we could request a chart showing the percentage breakdown of faith groups of the battalions, brigades, or divisions to which we were assigned. While you are correct that the Southern Baptists are the largest protestant group, those of a baptistic type faith were consistently the largest faith group in our units. By baptistic type faith, I include all manner of baptists, organized or independent, and those other groups that practice and believe in much the same manner as baptists.

The Catholics were regularly about 25% of our reports. The baptistic groups were 33%+.

Just thought you'd like to know that you are a majority.

If you add on groups such as the Assemblies of God, Churches of God, etc., that also practice adult-only baptism, then that percentage goes even higher.


13 posted on 04/24/2005 3:36:24 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: xzins
A Majority that is constantly made fun of. Non Baptist like to call us fundilmentist, holy rollers, extremist and on and on. As a child in So. California, even the teachers made crude remarks about my Father, a So. Baptist minister. I was held to a higher standard than the other students and then ridiculed if I did not pass muster. I know a lot about discrimination from people who claim to be "Christian"
14 posted on 04/24/2005 3:50:27 AM PDT by Coldwater Creek ('We voted like we prayed")
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"Loosening Religious Grip at Air Academy"

Oh yeah...nothing biased in that title...no obvious agenda there...nooo sireee bub.

And another thing, did anyone else notice that it looked like all of the PC police mentioned were...female? Whats up with that?

15 posted on 04/24/2005 3:52:44 AM PDT by Khurkris (This tag-line is available on CD ROM. NRA.)
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To: mariabush

I don't know many who call baptists, "holy rollers." That is normally preserved for pentecostal groups.

Nonetheless, if the military is any indication of the larger nation, and I think it is, I'd say that the baptistic groups are our largest denomination.


16 posted on 04/24/2005 3:56:18 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: mariabush

So are the Catholics-So it is with every sect/denomination.
I first accepted Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade for Christ.Iwas a spiritual baby ,a hormonal Christian who came
to Christ because a girl actually paid some attention to me
I joined a Baptist Church affiliated with the SO Baptists and a Deacon told me I could "Never be anythig in that churchnor any other so long as I had the mark of the Beast on my forehead." I ran from that church and swore never to
return unless I had a whor eunder each arm and was loaded with whiskey and curses. (I have since repented and did
return to ask forgiveness.) My point is simply this my father was right any one who trusts in any church,or Pastor ,or Pope , will sooner or later find they trust in the wrong thing. We are to Trust God. And measure all by HIS Word (reflected in the Inspired Word of God,the Bible.)


17 posted on 04/24/2005 3:59:14 AM PDT by StonyBurk
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To: Khurkris
....no obvious agenda there...nooo sireee bub.

Can't get anything past a Freeper. LOL

18 posted on 04/24/2005 4:11:55 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: StonyBurk; All
............We are to Trust God. And measure all by HIS Word (reflected in the Inspired Word of God,the Bible.)

Yes.

And I'll point out to everyone, I'm sure the LA Times wrote this in a manner to highlight a minority and cause the most rift.

19 posted on 04/24/2005 4:15:06 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: SkyPilot

IMO most of the Founders ,and consequently most of the early
American educators understood true Religious Liberty comes
from "knowing God."/From the Christian Religion.Jefferson --
though Not an evangelical Christian studied the Bible more
than most who cite Jefferson today ever do (IMO) and believed the ethics and Morals of Jesus were the finest ever taught. And Jefferson encouraged Christian worship and
Bible reading in school. Journals of Congress,Oct.12,1778
"Whereas true religion and good morals are the only solid
foundation of public liberty and happiness :Resolved ,That it be and is hereby earnestly recommended to the several States to take the most effectual measures for the encouragement thereof."


20 posted on 04/24/2005 4:19:10 AM PDT by StonyBurk
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To: poobear

The decline and fall of the American Republic


21 posted on 04/24/2005 4:20:26 AM PDT by squirt-gun
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Its all the Christians' fault! Its all Bush's fault too!

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
22 posted on 04/24/2005 4:20:35 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I'm told many military individuals have found God in a foxhole, shelled ship, or falling aircraft. Practice and visits with God are a good idea before these type events occur.


23 posted on 04/24/2005 4:25:08 AM PDT by RAY (They that do right are all heroes!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I've heard the saying for years "There are no aethists in foxholes". This U.S. Air Force Airman wants his aircraft leaving the runway with crews that believe in God because they are taking the foxhole to altitude. God Bless America and all Airman.


24 posted on 04/24/2005 4:33:04 AM PDT by JOE43270 (JOE43270 America voted and said we are One Nation Under God with Liberty and Justice for All.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

To me it sounds like they are trying to stop mainly inter-christian fueding.. Where one sect is accusing another group of not being the true path.

It doesn't seem like a great way to have team unity


25 posted on 04/24/2005 4:48:50 AM PDT by ran15
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To: Khurkris
"And another thing, did anyone else notice that it looked like all of the PC police mentioned were...female? Whats up with that?"

Consider how far they have gotten in the AF because others were forced to shut up where such shutting up was and remains convenient to them: They hold jobs that others around them were more qualified for. They hold rank that others who were more qualified were denied. In doing so they accept salutes that they have not earned and they take pay that is not theirs. And they have no compunction about placing in danger the very lives of others to serve themselves. They are frauds. They have no sense of honor or fairness. Expect from them what they are.
26 posted on 04/24/2005 5:38:36 AM PDT by TalBlack
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

-He later removed it and underwent sensitivity counseling.-

Hope he survived.


27 posted on 04/24/2005 5:43:58 AM PDT by AmericanChef
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To: GretchenM
What the hell are these ostensible military leaders thinking? We, the officer corps, have absolutely no business in religious indoctrination or advocacy. Every individual is totally free to pursue his own personal religious program but to institutionalize or endorse anything of that nature from any level of command is abject stupidity. AF Hdqs. should put a stop to it at once and come down like a ton of bricks on any officer or NCO engaged in such inappropriate conduct. We arm and fight for our national interests, the mission, and primarily for the guy on our wing, unit or ship. We do not, as a nation, arm or fight for any or a specific Deity.

The Crusades ended 700 years ago and history has demonstrated that an armed force governed by religious zealots and purportedly conducting its action in the name of a Deity will suffer a well deserved defeat. International conflicts are driven by vital national interests and assessments of an adversary's strenghts relative to your own and your allies. When the concept of carrying out a Divine mission enters into the mix rationality and the art of applying military science disappears and, you lose. It's that simple.

I'm not prepared to place the lives of men and women under my command in jeopardy for what some civilian like the current day TV evangelists and religious fanactic consider to be a holy mission. I'll leave the "mission from God" to John Belushi and Dan Akroyd as in The Blues Brothers. I'll agree to stay out of Dr. Dobson's faith of money raising and tape sales business but he, and his colleagues, must stay out of the business of conducting military operations or the underlying decision to enage in conflict.

28 posted on 04/24/2005 5:55:22 AM PDT by middie
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To: poobear

Oh yes. I can't count how many times I've had to go to mandatory sensitivity training, sexual harrassment training, equal opportunity training, etc., in lieu of actual warfighter training. Yet another wonderful legacy Bill Clinton.


29 posted on 04/24/2005 5:56:18 AM PDT by frankiep
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To: ran15
I there is a Truth then we have a responsibility to seek "It."
"If you seek Me you WILL find Me." Duet. 4.29

The dilemma for Christians is that we have a message of salvation (from hell) and we have a commission from Christ to share that message. We are not trying to increase the size of our (denomination) for the sake of having the biggest religion. We want to respect the freedom of choice, but it's very frustrating (and sad) to watch millions reject Christ and go into eternity without Christ.
"If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Rev. 20.14
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6
30 posted on 04/24/2005 5:57:38 AM PDT by pajama pundit (TM)
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To: middie
Tend to agree.

but to institutionalize or endorse anything of that nature from any level of command is abject stupidity.

On a personal level, we should be free to discuss and advance our religious views. Doing so from a position of authority (ie, if I'm the CC and have a large religious poster on my office door) is another matter.

I'm more iffy on emails - I get emails daily that don't involve work per se - notes from friends and former co-workers (mostly jokes)...sometimes will send out something with religious implications to a handful I know will accept them as a note from a friend. I view this as a form of networking - I'm surprised at how often I'm working a problem and can go, "Wait a minute - Joe said something about that project..." and get some info to break the logjam. But when it comes to religion and politics, it pays to be careful - offense taken in these subjects carries a lot more potential for anger.

31 posted on 04/24/2005 6:11:28 AM PDT by Mr Rogers
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To: Steel and Fire and Stone

Sound typical of the PC USAF! What a PUKE org!


32 posted on 04/24/2005 6:12:45 AM PDT by zzen01
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Everyone....

It is much worse at USAFA than the article represents....

My daughter is a cadet there and leads a prayer group...

She is also a Freeper (since 2000) Proud_to_be_an_American

I'll try to get her to logon later and explain exactly what is going on there. We talk to her daily....

Yesterday was Pinnacle (used to be called Recognition) so the Cadets scurried off base after the ceremonies....BTW, it's now called Pinnacle because Recognition (the tradition) was too exclusionary by the new Officer Staff.....

NeverGore :^)


33 posted on 04/24/2005 6:30:53 AM PDT by nevergore (“It could be that the purpose of my life is simply to serve as a warning to others.”)
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Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

To: Cincinatus' Wife
Considering the source of this article--the Marxist L.A. Times--and the feminist, liberal tone, one has to recognize it for what it is: an attack on Christianity, pure and simple.

The RSVP class may be a good thing to curb youthful zeal that sometimes oversteps the bounds of propriety. However, the other restrictions are overreactions and an infringement on anyone's religious freedom.

Christianity and Christian organizations at USAFA have played a vital role in the good character development of cadets. As our society has experienced considerable moral decline in recent years, the caliber of new cadets has also declined. The traditional mores valued by the military--honesty, perseverance, self-sacrifice, courage, etc.--are increasingly difficult to find in the average new cadet. Therefore, character training at the the Academy has received a lot more attention in order to make up for what parents and public schools have failed to teach these youngsters as they were growing up. Many Christian organizations and local churches have stepped into the gap and been welcomed by the Academy as vital helpers in this character training effort. Similar efforts are in place at the USMA, the USNA, and the USCGA.

The battle success of the United States military has been positively affected by the presence of thousands of Christian officers and enlisted personnel who are the direct and indirect products of these Christian based character programs.

And, of course, the Marxist L.A. Times does not like this and so we see this article and other similar attacks in progress.
35 posted on 04/24/2005 7:21:20 AM PDT by Orca
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To: mariabush
I think that this is just a smoke screen for change to be forced down the institutions mouth. What do you mean that you cant put up religious posters??? When I was at the Naval Academy I had religious inspirational posters up in my room and I never heard anything flack about it... The Brigade was pissed when we found out that the ACLU was trying to stop the chaplains prayer before noon meal.
As another Southern Baptist Im willing to let everyone believe what they will even if I think that they are wrong. Im in the military to protect our country and constitutional rights. However when somepeople try to force me to change my religious beliefs b.c they dont disagree with yours your discrimination of me is wrong. I think that our country has become too politicaly correct in focususing on cultural and relegious minorities. The politicians and the courts forget that we are "One Nation Under God."
They should start the draft up again... Libs would make good cannon fodder...
36 posted on 04/24/2005 8:06:39 AM PDT by Little_shoe ("For Sailor MEN in Battle fair since fighting days of old have earned the right.to the blue and gold)
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To: nevergore
It is much worse at USAFA than the article represents....

Quite unfair to drop this on us without explanation AT ALL. What is the "much worse" part? Too much religious pressure? Or (as I suspect) too much mandatory "sensitivity training"?

37 posted on 04/24/2005 8:12:24 AM PDT by madprof98
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To: raybbr

The complaints came from people within the Air Force Academy--cadets who were committed to serving their country--who had some overzealous evangelicals try to convert them at random times and who were then called "filthy Jew" when they refused to join their churches.

Discipline and respect for your fellow cadets are cornerstones of the Air Force Academy. I don't think that evangelicals should get special rights because they feel strongly about their religion--there are right ways and wrong ways to try to spread the news, and a lot of 19 year olds aren't experienced enough to know when they're crossing a line.


38 posted on 04/24/2005 8:19:47 AM PDT by HostileTerritory
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To: JOE43270

Do you believe there are no Jews in foxholes, too?


39 posted on 04/24/2005 8:21:24 AM PDT by HostileTerritory
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To: HostileTerritory

Yes I do and I'm in there with them. I would be HONORED to be in a foxhole with a Jewish person. They believe and so do I in God. This is not about saying how you can worship. This argument on religion comes from when America won WW2. The Communists, Nazi's and the Japanese vowed to beat us from within. This is where this arguement comes from an no one gets it. I really don't know where you stand on this. If you understand what I mean now that's great. If you don't like my thoughts then understand this. I would be HONORED to be in a foxhole with a Jewish person. If you happen to be on the other side and don't want the Jewish person and I to believe and worship then you are our ENEMY and we will both be fighting you and watching eachothers back. You choose, I'm in the foxhole now and my Jewish Buddy and I have you in our sights. I would hope you understand and that you aren't our enemy. GOD BLESS AMERICA and all who have defended HER and DON'T leave the JEWISH PEOPLE out because they have defended America along with the Gentiles.


40 posted on 04/24/2005 9:26:28 AM PDT by JOE43270 (JOE43270 America voted and said we are One Nation Under God with Liberty and Justice for All.)
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To: JOE43270

Thank you for your reply. My point is that the complaints within the U.S. Air Force Academy aren't coming from atheists--because there are very few atheists there--but from people with different traditions and approaches to evangelizing. Some cadets are trying to share their faith with other people in a way that has gotten somewhat too aggressive and disrespectful of other people's traditions, and with the support of certain members of the faculty.

It's not just people wanting to share their faith in Christ--that's understandable. It's repeatedly approaching Catholics and Jews who don't want to talk about the issue and then getting angry when they aren't won over. I know that few people intend to be disrespectful, but that 18 and 19 year olds can get excited about stuff that is really important to them and not recognize when they are crossing a certain line. The Air Force Academy is the first place that many of them have been in a huge environment that is strongly supportive of evangelical and pentacostal churches, often because officers are personally involved in the churches and because they'rein Colorado Springs, so they may feel like it's a sanctioned approach. That's what this issue is all about. It's not about atheists taking over the USAFA, and it's not about taking away people's freedom of religion, it's about Air Force Cadets not feeling like they have to convert to certain evangelical sects to be considered a full and respected member of the community, and for officers to treat all cadets with equal respect even if they are of different faiths.


41 posted on 04/24/2005 9:44:09 AM PDT by HostileTerritory
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To: HostileTerritory

If they can't take being witnessed to then they are too soft to be a combatant in the US Military.


42 posted on 04/24/2005 9:57:03 AM PDT by Ahban
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To: Ahban

If they can't take not witnessing to everyone they are too soft to be a combatant in the US Military.


43 posted on 04/24/2005 10:13:21 AM PDT by HostileTerritory
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To: Ahban

By the way, single-liners aside, do you think it's a good policy when officers at the Air Force Academy favor cadets who belong to their particular church and see to their advancement? Do you think that Catholics should have to listen to an officer in their class tell them that the Pope is probably an agent of the anti-Christ--and what conclusion should they draw if their officer nods in agreement when one of their fellow classmates tries to share the good news with them about the wickedness of the Marian cult?

Does this sound like any way to build a military for the United States? Or is only ok because you feel like you'd never personally be mistreated by the government for your Catholic or Jewish or Episcopalian faith?


44 posted on 04/24/2005 10:16:55 AM PDT by HostileTerritory
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
I knew that govt. employees don't have full first amendment rights qua federal employees. I just never thought they'd include soldiers and cadets under the category of federal employees.

Does this rule also apply to chaplains?

45 posted on 04/24/2005 2:48:53 PM PDT by Dumb_Ox (Be not Afraid. "Perfect love drives out fear.")
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Does the rule even define what proselytizing is? It was never well-defined to begin with, and it has come to mean saying anything connected with religion


46 posted on 04/24/2005 2:50:26 PM PDT by Dumb_Ox (Be not Afraid. "Perfect love drives out fear.")
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To: HostileTerritory
By the way, single-liners aside, do you think it's a good policy when officers at the Air Force Academy favor cadets who belong to their particular church and see to their advancement?

I'd bet that such action is already prohibited by military law, just as if one were to show any other kind of favoritism. And there's always that "conduct unbecoming of an officer" catch-all to snare the higher-ups.

47 posted on 04/24/2005 2:53:13 PM PDT by Dumb_Ox (Be not Afraid. "Perfect love drives out fear.")
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To: Dumb_Ox

It probably is. The issue here is that such laws haven't been enforced recently.


48 posted on 04/24/2005 3:03:21 PM PDT by HostileTerritory
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To: Cincinatus' Wife; GatorGirl; maryz; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; livius; ...

Ping.


49 posted on 04/24/2005 3:05:20 PM PDT by narses (St James the Moor-slayer, Pray for us! +)
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To: Little_shoe

Thanks for your service to our country!!!!!!!

Are you still at Pensacola? One of our boys is an officer there and my Husband flew excort for Gary Powers and the U2.


50 posted on 04/24/2005 3:20:19 PM PDT by Coldwater Creek ('We voted like we prayed")
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