In a dairy for the Daily Kos, Chris Rodda explains how, a couple years ago, she heard about how the American military was taking part in evangelical Christian events — a blatant violation of church/state separation.
The military was regularly providing flyovers at countless evangelical Christian events all over the country, not only violating the regulations prohibiting military participation in religious events, but spending millions of dollars of taxpayer money in the process.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation exposed what was happening and the participation in Christian events declined.
Most recently, MRFF got ahold of a response letter from the military to a request for further Air Force participation in a Christian ceremony:
Your Air Force aviation support request doesn’t fall into either approved category, as such, we are unable to approve it. Air Force and DoD policy prohibit support for events which appear to endorse, selectively benefit, or favor any special interest group, religious or ideological movement.
In other words, the Air Force said it would not participate in the “God and Country Festival” in Idaho last week. It’s a specifically Christian event and that violated the Constitution.
Organizers don’t deny the explicitly Christian nature of the annual patriotic rally.
“Yes, it’s about as Christian as you can get — we believe in promoting Christianity,” [Director Patti] Syme said. “And we have no plans to change that.”
Kudos to military personnel for fixing a 42-year-long error.
Now, cut to this morning…
Gretchen Carlson of Fox and Friends heard about what transpired. She invited Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition to discuss the event.
A partial transcript:
Carlson: So when I first read this story, I actually found it hard to believe. Because for 42 years, at this rally in Idaho, the Pentagon has authorized a flyover. Suddenly this year, a new president in office, and a new policy. What do you make of it?
Mahoney: Well, we’re stunned, actually, and it’s a reminder that our Constitution promises freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. I think the viewers need to understand, the flyovers that were held for 42 years were not to endorse or promote any religion, but to honor the military, who was there in force.
Mahoney: I think it causes one to pause and say, ‘What changed? After 42 years, what changed?’ And Gretchen, the only indicator we have is that we have a new commander in chief.
And I think that we are wondering, when we look at President Obama: Is there a culture of hostility toward expressions of faith in the public square — particularly Christian?
That pain you feel is the aching in your brain.
President Obama has nothing to do with this.
And the God and Country Festival is explicitly favoring one religion: Christianity.
You know if military planes were flying over a mosque because of an Islamic celebration, Mahoney and Carlson would be saying something entirely different.
(Thanks to Sean for the link!)