The academy superintendent, Lt. Gen. John Rosa, speaking to reporters in Colorado Springs, compared the struggles over religion at the institution with an airplane crash.
“When you go back, everything becomes very obvious,” General Rosa said. “But while you are flying the airplane, the kind of things that lead up to the accident are not very obvious.”
—New York Times, June 23, 2005
So what is it about the following incident that “isn’t very obvious” as an opporessive use of religion?
The commandant of cadets, Brig. Gen. Johnny A. Weida, came in for particular scrutiny by the panel. He sent an academywide e-mail message to announce the National Day of Prayer, instructed cadets that they were “accountable to their God” and invented a call-and-response chant with the cadets that went, “Jesus … Rocks.”
The Air Force conducted a study (Religious Climate at U.S. Air Force Academy) which found that lamentable things had happened, but that there was no “overt religious discrimination” – only “insensitivity.” Now isn’t that convenient. A bunch of Air Force senior officers investigate a bunch of their peer officers–and they can’t find it in them to call the following incident “overt discrimination”:
The report said a chaplain who reportedly exhorted cadets in a worship service to tell their classmates to accept Christ or “burn in hell” was merely using language “not uncommon” for his Pentecostal denomination.
Does anyone wonder why only 1.5% of the Air Force student body is Jewish? Why would any self-respecting Jew want to submit themself to such outrageous, intimidating and oppressive behavior? I know I’m not within the cohort that the Air Force is recruiting from–but I’d sure argue hard against any of my three children attending. Wouldn’t you?
For more on the legislative battle Democrats are waging to keep proselytizing out of our military academies, see this update from the National Jewish Democratic Council and sign their petition to protest the Republican refusal to act.