Yes, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and its leader Mikey Weinstein are going after the Air Force Academy again.
This morning, MRFF was contacted by seven people at the Academy (four cadets, two faculty members, and one staff member; six of whom Christians) about an announcement made to all cadets in the Mitchell Hall dining facility that today and tomorrow were going to be "Ask an Atheist Days," and that a table would be set up on the third floor of Fairchild Hall, an academic building.
According to a member of the U.S. Air Force Academy Cadets Freethinkers Club, these "Ask an Atheist Days" are being held in protest of the Academy's refusal to allow their group to participate in S.P.I.R.E. (Special Programs in Religious Education). S.P.I.R.E. is a long-running program at the Academy, where one night per week is set aside for various religious groups and outside parachurch organizations to hold religious meetings for the cadets.
The Cadets Freethinkers Club has been denied recognition as a S.P.I.R.E. group by the Academy on the grounds that freethinkers are not a religion, and has only been allowed to operate as a club.
A MRFF client who is a member of the Freethinkers Club explained the motivation behind the "Ask an Atheist Days" to Weinstein, saying that since the Academy does not consider them a religious group for the purposes of participating in S.P.I.R.E., then they feel they are are within their rights, as a non-religious club, to set up a table and have their event announced on the same basis as other non-religious clubs would be permitted to do.
MRFF agrees with the Freethinkers Club that their group should be able to participate in S.P.I.R.E., but does not condone the manner in which these cadets chose to protest the Academy's refusal to recognize them as a S.P.I.R.E. group.
According to Weinstein, allowing an "Ask an Atheist Day" to be announced to a captive audience of cadets in the dining hall and allowing the Freethinkers Club to set up a table in an academic building is no different that allowing an ask a Muslim Day or an ask an Evangelical Christian Day. "They are proselytizing for atheism," Weinstein said.
No, pigs aren't flying. Contrary to the constant and deliberate stream of misinformation being spewed by those who claim that MRFF is an atheist organization that only goes after Christians, the reality is that MRFF will take exactly the same steps to stop a violation of the Constitution or military regulations when that violation is being committed by a freethinkers group or by any other group or individual. You just won't hear about it on Fox News.
Maj. Lonzo Wallace, Executive Officer to Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, has told MRFF that the Academy is allowing the "Ask an Atheist Days" to proceed, despite of the clear violation of regulations in allowing a particular ideology -- one that many would say is in fact a religious belief -- to be promoted in a completely inappropriate time, place, and manner.
"Religious neutrality means religious neutrality," said Weinstein. "Whether it's saying that Jesus is your lord and savior or saying that there is no god makes no difference. Neither is a neutral position, and neither can be promoted by the United States Air Force Academy."
More:Military Religious Freedom Foundation Church-state Separation Atheism Religion In The Military Air Force Academy
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