Onward, Christian Cadets

This is the story that has lots of people talking:
Less than two years after it was plunged into a rape scandal, the Air Force Academy is scrambling to address complaints that evangelical Christians wield so much influence at the school that anti-Semitism and other forms of religious harassment have become pervasive.

There have been 55 complaints of religious discrimination at the academy in the past four years, including cases in which a Jewish cadet was told the Holocaust was revenge for the death of Jesus and another was called a Christ killer by a fellow cadet.


More than 90 percent of the cadets identify themselves as Christian. A cadet survey in 2003 found that half had heard religious slurs and jokes, and that many non-Christians believed Christians get special treatment.
As I noted earlier today, I don’t have an intrinsic hatred for religion. What I have is a pretty stringent policy of intolerance once people start using religion (or anything else) as a justification for restricting the rights of others, which includes the right to be free from harassment and prejudice, and a shield against criticism. We’ve come to a point in this country where if someone can be described as “religious,” it is automatically presumed to mean “ethical.” This story is indicative of why such uncritical associations are fallacious.
Critics of the academy say the sometimes-public endorsement of Christianity by high-ranking staff has contributed to a climate of fear and violates the constitutional separation of church and state at a taxpayer-supported school whose mission is to produce Air Force leaders.

They also say academy leaders are desperate to avoid the sort of uproar that came with the 2003 scandal in which dozens of women said their complaints of sexual assault were ignored.

"They are deliberately trivializing the problem so that we don't have another situation the magnitude of the sex assault scandal. It is inextricably intertwined in every aspect of the academy," said Mikey Weinstein of Albuquerque, N.M., a 1977 graduate who has sent two sons to the school. He said the younger, Curtis, has been called a "filthy Jew" many times.
A filthy Jew?! Fucking hell. Like that “filthy Jew” Jesus Christ?

How is such behavior remotely defensible? There is nothing, nothing, in Christian doctrine that advocates such behavior.
[Lt. Gen. John Rosa] himself intervened when Christian cadets began promoting "The Passion," Mel Gibson's movie about the crucifixion of Christ. He told cadets they should not use government e-mail or other facilities to promote their personal agendas.

Two of the nation's most influential evangelical Christian groups, Focus on the Family and New Life Church, are headquartered in nearby Colorado Springs. Tom Minnery, an official at Focus on the Family, disputed claims that evangelical Christians are pushing an agenda at the academy, and complained that "there is an anti-Christian bigotry developing" at the school.
Incorrect. People would have to be acting like Christians for that to happen.

Those who refuse to excuse behavior that’s taking place at the Air Force Academy are not bigoted against Christians, or Christianity, or religion. They’re rightfully angry at the inappropriate actions of a select group of pricks who use a disfigured notion of Christianity as means to rationalize regular, old-fashioned hatred. That such repulsive behavior is associated with Christianity is their doing, not their critics’.

Indeed, those who seek to denounce these incidents for what they are—the shameful conduct of bigots using religion as a shield—without indicting the religion itself, are greater protectors of the true nature of the religion than men like Minnery, who would defend the actions of any adherent, no matter how repugnant.

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