Atheists in Foxholes
A couple of organizations I'd like to encourage people to support. Take particular note of the M*A*A*F's mission and issues , and that chaplains are service members' only official source of the services they provide (or not). This would have been a major issue for me when I was a medic in the GA National Guard but for the fact that I never came into a need for any of the chaplain's services. The guy made no secret of the fact that he thought ill of me, in that particularly ugly findamentalist kind of way, even though (or maybe precisely because) his assistants and I got along quite well.
Thank you for the links. Did you see the following story, it was on the AP this morning, and I think it is outragous!
Air Force cadets claiming harassment by Christians
By Robert Weller
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, COLO. - Less than two years after it was plunged into a rape scandal, the Air Force Academy is scrambling to address complaints that evangelical Christians wield so much influence at the school that anti-Semitism and other forms of religious harassment have become pervasive.
There have been 55 complaints of religious discrimination at the academy in the past four years, including cases in which a Jewish cadet was told the Holocaust was revenge for the death of Jesus and another was called a Christ killer by a fellow cadet.
The 4,300-student school recently started requiring staff members and cadets to take a religious-tolerance class.
“There are things that have happened that have been inappropriate. And they have been addressed and resolved,” said Col. Michael Whittington, the academy’s chief chaplain.
More than 90 percent of the cadets identify themselves as Christian. A cadet survey in 2003 found that half had heard religious slurs and jokes, and that many non-Christians believed Christians get special treatment.
“There were people walking up to someone and basically they would get in a conversation and it would end with, ‘If you don’t believe what I believe you are going to hell,’ ” Vice Commandant Col. Debra Gray said.
Critics of the academy say the sometimes-public endorsement of Christianity by high-ranking staff has contributed to a climate of fear and violates the constitutional separation of church and state at a taxpayer-supported school whose mission is to produce Air Force leaders.
They also say academy leaders are desperate to avoid the sort of uproar that came with the 2003 scandal in which dozens of women said their complaints of sexual assault were ignored.
“They are deliberately trivializing the problem so that we don’t have another situation the magnitude of the sex assault scandal. It is inextricably intertwined in every aspect of the academy,” said Mikey Weinstein, of Albuquerque, N.M., a 1977 graduate who has sent two sons to the school. He said the younger, Curtis, has been called a “filthy Jew” many times.
The superintendent, Lt. Gen. John Rosa, conceded there was a problem during a recent meeting of the Board of Visitors, the civilian group that oversees the academy.
“The problem is people have been across the line for so many years when you try and come back in bounds, people get offended,” he said.
The board chairman, former Virginia Gov. James Gilmore, warned Lt. Gen. Rosa that changing things could prove complicated. He said evangelical Christians “do not check their religion at the door.”
Thanks again, for the links, these Are the types of organizations I like to support.