Saturday, June 4, 2005

Air Force Admits Intolerance

From the New York Times:

The superintendent of the Air Force Academy acknowledged to leaders of a national Jewish group on Friday that religious intolerance permeated the military school.

“As a commander, I know I have problems in my cadet wing,” the superintendent, Lt. Gen. John Rosa Jr., said at a meeting of the executive committee of the group, the Anti-Defamation League. “I have issues in my staff, and I have issues in my faculty – and that’s my whole organization.”

He said he had admonished the academy’s No. 2 commander, Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida, a born-again Christian, for sending an e-mail message promoting the National Day of Prayer. “We sat down and said, ‘This is not right,’ and he acknowledged that,” General Rosa said, adding that there had been other incidents that crossed the line. “Perception is reality. We don’t have respect.”

The academy has been under investigation because of complaints that evangelical Christians have harassed cadets who do not share their faith. Some cadets have complained of anti-Semitic slurs, and one of the top chaplains at the school claims she was fired because she criticized what she saw as proselytizing at the academy, near Colorado Springs.

Academy leaders deny the claim, saying the chaplain, Capt. MeLinda Morton, was simply reassigned to Japan. The Defense Department’s inspector general is investigating.

General Rosa said that he had spoken with critics of the school and that he agreed with many of their complaints. He said he did not learn of the Yale Divinity School’s report on religious intolerance at the academy, issued last year, until much later.

General Rosa said the problem is “something that keeps me awake at night,” adding, “If everything goes well, it’s probably going to take six years to fix it.”

Mikey Weinstein, a graduate of the academy who has become a leading critic of the school, said General Rosa’s acknowledgment “is too little and too late.”

“We need new leadership at the Air Force Academy,” said Mr. Weinstein, who has sent two sons to the academy.

Abe Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, said he was convinced that General Rosa wants to do the right thing.

“We walked away with the feeling that the man is committed to solving the problem,” Mr. Foxman said after meeting with General Rosa earlier on Friday. “The question is whether the system will let him.”

If you think this atmosphere of religious intolerance and Christian superiority doesn’t have an impact on the soldiers and on how they act in the field, take a look at the admissions of the Pentagon (below).

We’re spreading “freedom around the world,” and the rest of the world can just suck it up and like it, and we’ll kick the shit out of them if they don’t love Jesus.