Saturday, April 20, 2019
TOXIC SHROUD OF RELIGIOUS BIAS
ENGULFS U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY

MRFF's CONSTITUTIONAL FIGHT FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
AT USAFA CONTINUES

( Excerpt from CSIndy Article Below)
"The command climate is so toxic there, they have to come to us...It’s the utter hypocrisy from a school that prides itself on honor code, character and leadership, honesty, integrity — all of these great things, but viciously violating the Constitution,
its case law and directions and instructions."

-Mikey Weinstein, MRFF Founder and President
Photo Credit: Colorado Springs Independent

COLORADO SPRINGS INDEPENDENT
COVERS MRFF
Air Force Academy hosts talk of
Shroud of Turin's alleged authenticity

By:  Pam Zubeck

Thursday, April 18, 2019

( Excerpts from Colorado Springs Independent/Emphasis added by MRFF)

The Air Force Academy allowed former physics professor Rolf Enger to present a talk espousing the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, the discredited "burial cloth" of Jesus Christ. The lecture happened this week, during the school day, in an academic classroom during a "special Easter presentation."

Some say the talk, which took place four days before Easter, violated the military's prohibition against favoring one religion over another. That's especially bothersome, they say, given the history of allegations that the Academy promotes fundamental Christianity as a ticket to promotions and favored treatment.

[…]

Military Religious Freedom Foundation founder Mikey Weinstein says that 23 people — cadets, faculty and staff — complained to him about the lecture. A vocal critic of what he views as the Academy's religious bias, Weinstein, a 1977 Academy grad, started his foundation in 2004.

[…]

"The command climate is so toxic there, they have to come to us," Weinstein says. "It’s the utter hypocrisy from a school that prides itself on honor code, character and leadership, honesty, integrity — all of these great things, but viciously violating the Constitution, its case law and directions and instructions."

Retired Brig Gen. Marty France, a former permanent professor and department head of the astronautics department who now serves on MRFF's advisory board, wrote to Vice Superintendent Houston Cantwell and Superintendent Jay Silveria expressing concern over the lecture.

"My colleagues were shocked that this sort of briefing, not even hiding its relationship to a specific religious belief (but proclaiming it) would be held during the duty day," France wrote in the letter, obtained by the Indy.

[…]

As Weinstein tells the Indy, "It would be one thing to do it from a religious perspective, but it’s an embarrassing lack of science at a technically science school."

[…]
MRFF Advisory Board Member Marty France,
USAF Brig. Gen. (Ret.), Sends Complaint
to USAFA’s Vice Superintendent
Col. Houstin R. Cantwell, and USAFA’s Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria

From : Martin France [email address withheld] 
Sent : Thursday, April 18, 2019 8:42 AM
To : Cantwell, Houston R Col USAF USAFA\CV <email address withheld>
Cc : Silveria, Jay B Lt Gen USAF USAFA USAFA/CC <email address withheld>; Mikey Weinstein <mikey@militaryreligiousfreedom.org>
Subject: AFI1-1 Violation
 
Houston,

I've now heard independently from two of my former colleagues (and Mikey's heard from several others) about a widely advertised talk given at USAFA yesterday during duty hours, in Fairchild Hall--in fact a "Special Easter Presentation." Please see the attached photo.
As I'm sure you're by now aware, AFI1-1 states: 2.12. Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause. Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief. 

My colleagues were shocked that this sort of briefing, not even hiding its relationship to a specific religious belief (but proclaiming it) would be held during the duty day. Sure, it's voluntary, but when many of the attendees are in uniform, wearing rank, and in supervisory roles, we know that judgments are made. Moreover, just posting these flyers requires DF approval, so it's fair to assume that this is the endorsed position of the Dean.

Houston, it's all about time and place. Dr Enger is free to present his "research" based on some legend that the Academy has endorsed since the Frank J Seiler Research Lab misused taxpayer money back in the 70s and 80s in an attempt to prove the authenticity of this found piece of cloth (spoiler alert--it didn't really come from the presumed era or region of Jesus). I'm old enough to have been subjected to some of these briefings as a cadet and junior officer. It was wrong for the government to do it then, and it's wrong to provide a platform during the duty day to present it now.

If the chaplains and Dr Pocock (long a problem on the faculty for openly espousing his views in the classroom to cadets) want a "special Easter presentation", then they should use the chaplains' facilities (Cadet Chapel, Oases, Community Center Chapel) and hold it outside of duty time for those that are interested, wearing civilian clothes. Had that been the case, I wouldn't be writing you and my former colleagues wouldn't be so concerned.

It appears to many that the fundamentalists at USAFA haved bided their time and are now exerting their influence again, emboldened by developments in our government. This frightens my colleagues, Christian and non, so much that they are unwilling to use the chain of command to voice their complaints--the same chain that endorsed this event. It's long been open season on the messenger at USAFA and they now think that the bag limits have just been increased.

I'm copying Mikey Weinstein on this, as you can see. I'm doing this in my role as an Advisory Board Member of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on this matter.

Cheers,
Marty

Weak Response from
USAFA’s Col. Houston

From : "Cantwell, Houston R Col USAF USAFA\\CV"
<email address withheld>
Subject : RE: AFI1-1 Violation
Date : April 18, 2019 at 10:49:30 PM MDT
To : 'Martin France' <email address withheld>
Cc : Mikey Weinstein <mikey@militaryreligiousfreedom.org>

Sir,

Thanks for bringing this to our attention and your continued service to our community. We welcome the feedback. As you’re aware, we take AFI 1-1 seriously, and opinion pieces like this keep the issue fresh in our minds.
 
VR
Houston
 
HOUSTON R. CANTWELL, Colonel, USAF
Vice Superintendent
United States Air Force Academy CO
2012 USAFA Graduate Who is Active Military Expresses Appreciation to MRFF for
Bringing USAFA Shroud Issue to the Forefront

From : MRFF Client’s E-Mail Address Withheld
Subject : Dr. Rolf Enger
Date : April 20, 2019 at 7:48:09 AM MDT
To : info@militaryreligiousfreedom.org

Mr. Weinstein,

I have been deployed to a combat zone for the last two months and somehow the most disgusted I've felt (besides minor food poisoning last week) is finding out that our alma mater's Director of Education is preaching to cadets about supposed relics. It is (read: it should be) mindblowing that USAFA thought this was appropriate, but the core issue is much more insidious. Dr. Enger has an obligation as a professor and especially as the Director of Education to uphold the highest standards of a military academy, let alone a university. Instead, even without knowing the exact content of his bizarre Arthurian revelations, it is clear he has made a profound misjudgment in violation of the intellectual honesty and restraint required of someone in his position. At any other institution across the US, people would be demanding his resignation on these principles alone. 

What is to be done? Do I write an open letter and form a petition for his resignation? 

I was aware of your work as a cadet and I appreciate what you and the MRFF do for the military and USAFA. You can count on my donation from now on.

(MRFF Client’s name and rank withheld)

[MRFF editor’s note: Dr. Enger is no longer on the USAFA faculty and is retired.]
USAFA DOES NOT GET CHICK-fil-A's
ANTI-LGBTQ STANCE!!!

CLEARLY, OTHERS DO!


MRFF Opposed USAFA's Imbecilic Decision
to Have Rodney Bullard,
VP of Social Responsibility at Chick-fil-A, 
to Speak at USAFA's
National Character & Leadership Symposium, ( NCLS), February 21 & 22, 2019


MRFF GETS CHICK-fil-A's
ANTI-LGBTQ STANCE!


A PRIVATE UNIVERSITY
GETS CHICK-fil-A's
ANTI-LGBTQ STANCE!


THE SAN ANTONIO CITY COUNCIL
GETS CHICK-fil-A's
ANTI-LGBTQ STANCE!

USAFA DOESN'T GET
CHICK-fil-A's
ANTI-LGBTQ STANCE!!!
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