Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Air Force Academy Evangelical Crisis - The Report is in!

Regular visitors to this site know that this the religion scandal at the Air Force Academy has become a pet project of mine. With the Academy literally only a short bicycle ride from my house, this is one of those hometown issues that has national importance. 

First lets lay out the timeline:

ACADEMY TIMELINE

2003
April: Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida issues advisories to staff, faculty and cadets urging observance of National Day of Prayer.

June: Weida issues a commander’s guidance telling cadets their first duty is to God.
2004

February: A faculty and staff survey shows half of non-Christians feel people at the academy respect individuals whose religious views and faiths are different from their own.

March: Fliers promoting Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ” are placed at every cadet’s place in the cafeteria.

July: Yale University Divinity School observes a week of basic training. It advises that “stridently evangelical themes” encourage religious divisions. The report isn’t made public until April.

August: More than half the cadets responding to a survey report hearing religious jokes, comments and slurs. One-third of non-Christian cadets say they believe Christian cadets get preferential treatment.

November: The academy says it received 55 complaints of religious intolerance dating to 2000.

Nov. 17: Football coach Fisher De-Berry hangs a banner in the athletic department stating, “I am a Christian first and last . . . I am a member of Team Jesus Christ.”
2005

February: DeBerry says religion is “what we’re all about” at the academy.

March 29: The academy launches Respecting the Spiritual Values of all People, RSVP, a training program of 50-minute sessions for small groups of cadets, faculty and staff.

April 28: Americans United for Separation of Church and State says its investigation finds cadets frequently are pressured to attend chapel and receive religious instruction. Report is sent to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

May 3: The Pentagon announces a task force review of the academy’s religious climate.

May 9: Weida is nominated for promotion to major general.

May 12: Academy chaplain, Capt. Melinda Morton, says she is fired for speaking out about claims of religious intolerance. Air Force officials say her duties changed as part of a planned reassignment. The Anti-Defamation League calls for the Air Force to put Weida’s promotion on hold.

May 24:
Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper sends a message to all major commands reminding them to be sensitive to all religions and for commanders to not use their office to promote a specific belief.

June 3: Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. John Rosa Jr. tells a meeting of the Anti-Defamation League in Denver the academy has religious bias problems that could take up to six years to fix.

June 8: The Air Force reveals Weida is under investigation by the Air Force inspector general for “specific allegations of improper conduct.” The academy confirms the retirement of Morton’s boss, Col. Michael Whittington, has been put on hold pending a Pentagon inspector general’s investigation of Morton’s dismissal as executive officer.

June 19:Rosa accepts a position as president of The Citadel but will remain at the academy for several months.

June 21: Captain Morton resigns her commision. 

Thanks to the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph for this timeline.

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Posted by Christopher on 06/23 at 05:44 AM
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Hit the Civil War Battle Fields

I am not a big fan of Marvin Olasky in general.  I have had more than a few exchanges with his magazine, Word Magazine, over it coverag of the gender neutral Bible translation put out by The International Bible Society (buy a TNIV and see if Jesus is still a man and he is the Saviour - he is).  But I like to give kudos where they belong:

As you may or many not know, I am a huge Civl War buff.  I have read almost as much on the period from 1860 to 1865 as I have theology (which is saying something).  Unfortunately I have never actually been to a battlefield. I get asked from time to time to recommend a site for people going on vacation.  I can tell them what I have read, but here is a great little article from someone who has been there and knows.  Read Marvin Olasky’s article on Townhall and follow his recommendations!

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/marvinolasky/mo20050623.shtml

Shelby Foote recommends that you visit the battlefields at the time of year when the battle happened.  That way you get a feel for the weather, the foliage, the lenght of day, etc.  Do that for these sites, and you will have a thrill of a lifetime!

Posted by Christopher on 06/23 at 05:39 AM
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Christopher’s Manchester Weblog - Summer 2005 - Tuesday June 21 - Day 1 - Man without a Country

Promise to the reader - I am not making this up!

Greetings from Manchester,

I am alive and well in beautiful sunny Manchester.  Would have written Day 1 and 2 on Tuesday, but jet lag won out and I basically slept from 1pm Tuesday Manchester time til 4 this morning, and again from 830 to 1030.

I am sure that you are all waiting with baited breath for the story of my travel.  You know, one of these times, I will have to make up a story, so that you have something interesting to read…but not this time.

The trip began Monday with Tanya and I riding up to Denver.  Great time to visit for the last time for a month. She dropped me off at the Park-N-Ride on Parker/I-225, where I caught the bus to the airport.  Good deal - $6 for the trip and they even put your luggage on the bus for you (the driver looked at me like I was transporting my twin in my suitcase). 

The perfect time to check in at United!  9:10am and I went straight up to the check-in desk.  Nice woman, told me I could probably catch any of the three early flight to Chicago if I wanted.  I did.  So, through security and to Concourse B. Caught the 10:35 flight to Chicago, with no problems, no snafus, not even a hiccup. 

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Posted by Christopher on 06/22 at 09:15 AM
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Monday, June 06, 2005

Social Security’s Real Problem

As the House and Senate return back to “work” this week, the talk of Social Security reform will once again return to the forefront of media coverage.  Whether you are in
favour of Private Accounts or think the government provided defined benefit route is the best, there is one underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

There is a great little column today from Michael Barone, one of America’s leading watchers of politcs. Barone is right of center, but is well respected by everyone.  In this article:

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/michaelbarone/mb20050606.shtml

he talks about the benefit increases that came around in 1972, thus propelling retirees out of poverty and the SS trust in the direction of insolvency.  But even Barone misses the point of what came shortly after the 1972 change in benefits. 

In January of 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in Rowe Vs. Wade that there was a constitutional right to abortion.  Some states had already passed abortion laws, legalizing the practice, while placing some restrictions on timing and access. 

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Posted by Christopher on 06/06 at 11:37 AM
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