There are obviously many non-Christians who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. Air Force (USAF), but there is growing evidence that the USAF is, despite claims to the contrary, institutionally Christian. According to a recent article in USA Today, an Air Force recruiter has filed suit against the USAF because of consistent proselytizing by superior officers. (Thanks to Eddie Tabash for pointing this out to me.) The article states:
The 12-page court filing says guest speakers at conventions of Air Force recruiters in 2003 and 2005 told Burleigh and other recruiters that “they needed to accept Jesus Christ in order to perform their job duties” and “to use faith in Jesus Christ while recruiting.”
When the plaintiff resisted his superiors’ efforts at proselytizing, he became the target of lower performance ratings than peers who attended religious activities such as prayer groups and church.
I don’t have much to say, except the obvious. If the allegations are true, then what the superior officers in the Air Force Recruiting Service are doing is not only conduct unbecoming a United States Airman, but illegal and indeed unconstitutional behavior. It would constitute an abuse of power by zealous Christian airmen trying to coerce a lower-ranking airman into becoming a Christian. (On a philosophical note, one wonders if the same individuals who are trying to coerce lower-ranking airmen into becoming Christians also use the “Free Will Defense” against arguments from evil for God’s nonexistence, but I guess bullies don’t have to be philosophically consistent.)
What I’d like to know is if any of the Christians who read this blog believe that such behavior is wrong and are willing to condemn it. I’m especially interested in whether the Christian bloggers who read this blog are willing to condemn the behavior on their own blogs.
A New Non-Profit Devoted to Military Religious Freedom
On a related subject, Jim Lippard just made me aware of a new non-profit organization devoted to military religious freedom: the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. They have a very polished website and also a brand new blog. The fact that non-Christians with ties to the U.S. Armed Forces even feel it necessary to create such a foundation is a sad commentary on the state of religious freedom within the U.S. Armed Forces. In any case, check out their organization.