Air Force Academy Cadets Forced to Fight for Freedoms They Don’t Have

When soldiers fought in Afghanistan, they were told to keep their religious views hidden so as not to offend Muslims. Consider this incident from 2009 that got very little media attention compared to the treatment of a Koran by soldiers:

“Military personnel threw away, and ultimately burned, confiscated Bibles that were printed in the two most common Afghan languages amid concern they would be used to try to convert Afghans, a Defense Department spokesman said. The unsolicited Bibles sent by a church in the United States were confiscated . . . at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan because military rules forbid troops of any religion from proselytizing while deployed there, Lt. Col. Mark Wright said. . . .

‘The decision was made that it was a “force protection” measure to throw them away, because, if they did get out, it could be perceived by Afghans that the U.S. government or the U.S. military was trying to convert Muslims,’ Wright told CNN on Tuesday.

“Troops at posts in war zones are required to burn their trash, Wright said.”

According to the military, the Bibles were considered to be “trash.” Now try that with a Koran.

Now we’re learning that Air Force cadets are being denied their God-given religious rights and the constitutional rights to express their faith even in the most minimalist way. This is from Breitbart:

This latest incident occurred when a cadet (whose identity we are not disclosing) posted Galatians 2:20 on his personal whiteboard, posted outside his living quarters in a residential dormitory. That verse reads, ‘I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

It’s OK to display a rainbow flag celebrating homosexuality or for soldiers to dress up like women to raise funds for their cause, but if a soldier writes a Bible verse on his personal whiteboad, he will be disciplined.

The anti-Christian bigot Mikey Weinstein is behind the intimidation. “Weinstein claimed that he called the Air Force Academy to complain about the Bible verse and further claims that two hours and nine minutes later, the verse was gone.”

Contrary to Weinstein’s bravado, “Academy personnel did not erase the Bible verse or order the cadet to remove it.”

Even so, what Col. Paul Barzler, the Air Force Academy Staff Judge Advocate, told Mike Berry, an attorney who is director of military affairs with Liberty Institute, was even more constitutionally frightening:

“It turns out that, contrary to Mikey Weinstein’s claims, the cadet may have voluntarily removed the Bible verse from his white board. But I was stunned to find out that, had the cadet not removed the verse, Academy officials would have ordered him to do so. I asked why, and Col. Barzler explained that, because the cadet held a leadership position, it could create the perception that he was forcing his religious beliefs on subordinates. I pointed out that under the Constitution, federal law, and military regulations, cadets have the right to religious exercise. I was shocked when he responded that Air Force policy, from the Pentagon, is that the term ‘religious exercise’ does not include written or verbal speech.”

So what incentive does a soldier have, who takes an oath to uphold the Constitutions granting him certain freedoms, to fight for the protection of a governmental system that does not apply to him?

The First Amendment to the Constitution is clear that Congress, and that would include the governmental surrogates at the Pentagon, can’t make a prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

Just above George Washington’s signature to the original draft of the Constitution, the following is found:

“Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent of the States present, the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven.”

The use of “Lord” is a reference to Jesus Christ the same person referenced in Galatians 2:20. The 1797 date tells us as much. In an address given on October 6, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt said:

“We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic. Its teaching, as has been wisely suggested, is ploughed into the very heart of the race. Where we have been truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity; where it has been to us as the words of a book that is sealed, we have faltered in our way, lost our range finders and found our progress checked.”1

While running for his third time, Roosevelt said the following in November 1, 1940 in Brooklyn:

“[W]e must remember what the collaborative understanding between Communism and Nazism has done to the processes of democracy abroad…

“Those forces hate democracy and Christianity as two phases of the same civilization. They oppose democracy because it is Christian. They oppose Christianity because it preaches democracy. Their objective is to prevent democracy from becoming strong.”

In his September 1, 1942 Labor Day Address, FDR said the following:

“PRESERVATION OF THESE rights is vitally important now, not only to us who enjoy them, but to the whole future of Christian civilization.”

As World War II broke out in Europe, FDR warned:

“Those forces hate Democracy and Christianity as two phases of the same civilization.”

The following year, on May 27, 1941, FDR stated in one of his radio addresses:

“The Nazis are as ruthless as the Communists in the denial of God.”

It seems that Mikey Weinstein, the Pentagon, and the Air Force Academy have sided with the two greatest evils of the 20th century that millions of men and women sacrificed their lives to defeat.

Here’s some additional history that the Obama-Hagel Pentagon seems to have forgotten:

“In his second inaugural address, FDR pledged to do his utmost by ‘seeking Divine guidance.’ He took that mission further on January 25, 1941, when he wrote a personal prologue to a special edition of the New Testament, which was distributed to millions of U.S. soldiers. ‘As Commander-in-Chief,’ Roosevelt wrote, ‘I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States.’ He believed that all American soldiers should have the opportunity to read the words of Christ in preparing for battle. Once, when joining those soldiers aboard a warship with Winston Churchill, FDR asked the crew and prime minister to join him in singing the hymn ‘Onward Christian Soldiers.’ In his final inaugural address, FDR affirmed, ‘So we pray to Him for the vision to see our way clearly … to achievement of His will.’”2

When American soldiers were landing on the beaches of Normandy, Roosevelt led the nation in prayer during a radio broadcast.3

Here’s just one more action by our government to demoralize our nation’ defensive fighting force. Is anything worth defending given the way this administration is rewriting our history and Constitution?

  1. Statement on the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Printing of the English Bible.” []
  2. Paul Kengor, God and George W. Bush: A Spiritual Life (New York: Regan Books, 2004), 176. []
  3. Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Franklin Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer, June 6, 1944. []
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