TUPELO, Miss.—On Wednesday, the Air Force Academy was the recipient of thousands of petitions calling for Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson to protect the religious expression of cadets in light of recent acts of discrimination against them.
The Family Research Council and the American Family Association gathered more than 105,000 signatures in the petition drives, which came in the wake of an incident earlier this year in which a cadet was pressured to remove a Bible verse he had written on his personal white-board outside his dorm room, after an anti-Christian group claimed offense. The verse was Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me….”
“The very thought that one of our nation’s prestigious service academies would seek to stifle the religious expression of cadets is beyond comprehension,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “Our nation was built on liberty, particularly religious liberty; our Constitution enshrines liberty, and our flag symbolizes liberty. The men and women of our military dedicate themselves to defending our nation, upholding our Constitution, and honoring our flag. It’s time for our military to stop surrendering to anti-faith voices by denying cadets the rights and liberties they are willing to fight and die to protect. We urge Lt. Gen. Johnson to take a strong stand for the Constitutional rights and God-given liberties of our armed forces, and particularly of the cadets she leads.”
In March, the anti-Christian Military Religious Freedom Foundation complained to the Air Force Academy that the cadet’s Scripture posting was an offense to other cadets and some faculty members and created a ‘hostile environment,’ with the Foundation’s director, Mikey Weinstein, claiming the verse “massively poured fundamentalist Christian gasoline on an already raging out-of-control conflagration of fundamentalist Christian tyranny, exceptionalism and supremacy at USAFA.”
As Sandy Rios, AFA’s Director of Government Affairs, pointed out, however, it’s amazing that a Scripture that speaks of self-sacrifice and dying to self could be construed as “tyranny.”
“A better example of tyranny is the effort to squelch free speech simply because you disagree with it,” Rios said. “If the Military Religious Freedom Foundation wants to see tyranny, perhaps it should look in the mirror.”
Wildmon added that the thousands of signatures on the petitions are evidence that Americans across the country firmly believe that freedom of religious expression remains a mainstay of American liberty, and he is hopeful the Air Force Academy will respond with a reaffirmation of its commitment to protecting the religious liberties of America’s future military leaders.
American Family Association offers its friends and supporters several mobile apps through http://action.afa.net/mobile. The AFA Action Alerts app, with breaking news and action alerts, is available for the iPhone and iPad on the Apple App Store, on Google Play and on the Amazon Appstore for Android. The AFR (American Family Radio) app is available for Apple and Android products, and the AFA Action app with, for example, voter information at election time, is available on Apple and Android platforms.
For more information on American Family Association, visit www.afa.net.