The Air Force is Pagan-Friendly? Who Knew?

Cara Schulz of PNC-Minnesota has published the second part of her report on Pagans and the US Air Force, and some of the quotes are quite surprising:

“You don’t have to be scared about sharing your religion or think you need to stay in the broom closet about it,” Cadet Johnson says. “People are very understanding. We have officers in charge of us who are very understanding, the Chaplains are very understanding so it’s very easy to be a Pagan at the Air Force Academy.”

Major Ihme wants Pagans considering applying to the Air Force Academy to feel reassured, You don’t have to be nervous or afraid because every belief system is OK at the Academy. We will back you up.

In a message to the San Antonio Military Open Circle Yahoo group, Rev. Oringderff said he was impressed by the emphasis on ways to promote respect, not merely religious tolerance. He quoted Chaplain Brantingham remarks during the opening of the conference, I don’t want to be tolerated; I want to be respected—and everyone else is entitled to that same right.

Read the whole fantastic post at PNC-Minnesota, and if you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you can find it here.

About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • Cara Schulz

    When  was conducting the interviews I knew the Air Force Academy must have made some changes from about 5 years ago when they were taking hits for being both a hotbed of coercive religious conversion and sexual assault.  What I was unprepared for was the series of meaningful, deep changes the AFA had made.  They didn’t just post a new policy, pay some lip service to minority religions, and cal it good.  No.  The conferences they hosted and the new initiatives, reporting, and monitoring measures they’ve put in place promote profound and lasting changes in the Academy.

    More importantly, they influence how future officers will act when they leave the Academy.  That, in turn, will impact the entire climate of the Air Force.

  • Cara Schulz

    When  was conducting the interviews I knew the Air Force Academy must have made some changes from about 5 years ago when they were taking hits for being both a hotbed of coercive religious conversion and sexual assault.  What I was unprepared for was the series of meaningful, deep changes the AFA had made.  They didn’t just post a new policy, pay some lip service to minority religions, and cal it good.  No.  The conferences they hosted and the new initiatives, reporting, and monitoring measures they’ve put in place promote profound and lasting changes in the Academy.

    More importantly, they influence how future officers will act when they leave the Academy.  That, in turn, will impact the entire climate of the Air Force.

  • Zevenster

    I love the quote: I don’t want to be tolerated – I want to be respected…
    it is a huge difference in mindset! and it says exactly what the whole thing is about – not mere tolerance but respect, indeed!
    thanks you Pantheon, for another eye opening thought on paganism, beliefs, and ways to live it!

  • Zevenster

    I love the quote: I don’t want to be tolerated – I want to be respected…
    it is a huge difference in mindset! and it says exactly what the whole thing is about – not mere tolerance but respect, indeed!
    thanks you Pantheon, for another eye opening thought on paganism, beliefs, and ways to live it!

  • Tressie2006

    My husband is in the military and we not only have our religious beliefs known to the Air Force but it is also on his dog tags.  That was a huge hurdle of the military community.  Wicca is considered a religion in the U.S. military now.  The only thing that happens when we talk to chaplains is that they are curious about it and want to know more so they can keep from stepping on other Pagans toes during a prayer or consultation.  I am happy to help fight ignorance any way that I can.  I have never felt just tolerated by the Chaplains, I felt respected.

  • Tressie2006

    My husband is in the military and we not only have our religious beliefs known to the Air Force but it is also on his dog tags.  That was a huge hurdle of the military community.  Wicca is considered a religion in the U.S. military now.  The only thing that happens when we talk to chaplains is that they are curious about it and want to know more so they can keep from stepping on other Pagans toes during a prayer or consultation.  I am happy to help fight ignorance any way that I can.  I have never felt just tolerated by the Chaplains, I felt respected.


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