Air Force Academy Promotes Atheist Event One Week After Forced Removal of Bible Verse

( [email protected] ) Mar 24, 2014 12:11 PM EDT
Air Force Bible Verse
(Photo : Military Religious Freedom Foundation)

An Atheist event is being promoted by the Air Force Academy only a week after a cadet was forced to take down a Bible verse from his dorm room white board.

The verse in question was Galatians 2:20, which includes the text, "I have been crucified with Christ therefore I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." It was originally placed on the dorm room door's white board, which was seen as a problem to Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Freedom Foundation, who filed a formal complaint at the Colorado Springs, Colo. Air Force Academy. Weinstein said that 29 cadets and four faculty and staff members reached out to him to complain about the scripture, which was visible to any who walked by the room's closed door.

"It clearly elevated one religious faith over all others at an already virulently hyper-fundamentalist Christian institution," Weinstein said to's Todd Starnes. "It massively poured fundamentalist Christian gasoline on an already raging out-of-control conflagration of fundamentalist Christian tyranny, exceptionalism and supremacy at [the academy]."

The biggest problem, according to Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, is that this text was written in close proximity to the name of a commanding officer. "The scripture was below the cadet's name on a white board and could cause subordinates to doubt the leader's religious impartiality. With the mentorship of the active duty commanding officer as part of the discussion, the cadet squadron commander raised this potential perception and the cadet voluntarily elected to erase the scripture."

But a number of cadets are not happy with this decision and have formed what's described as a revolt against the move. Christian and Muslim cadets alike have been posting scripture from the Bible and the Koran as a show of solidarity against last week's decision.

Weinstein is calling these actions  a "toxic environment" and calls for "non-judicial punishment at the very least" for those continuing to write the religious exerpts. But academy spokesperson Lt. Col. Brus Vidal says that there was no misconduct and there will be no punishment.

But while the flames are still blazing over what Weinstein calls a revolt, the Academy has no issue promoting an event entitled "Ask An Athiest Day" on Academy grounds.

"There may be some circumstantial differences between the 'Ask an Atheist' event and Operation Christmas Child and I understand that," Michael Berry, an attorney with Liberty Institute described after the Air Force Academy backed out of the 2011 Operation Christmas Child toy program following pressure from Weinstein. "The perception is being created among the public and the parents and the cadets that the Academy is showing favoritism or in this case it's showing animosity and hostility toward anything religious. If the Air Force Academy is going to allow atheists to host a discussion, they need to be showing the same level of openness to non-atheists - specifically Christians."

Interestingly enough, even Mikey Weinstein agrees. ""They are proselytizing for atheism," Weinstein told the Gazette. "What if this was ask a Muslim day or ask an Evangelical Christian Day?"