COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is once again creating controversy over religious liberty in its ongoing efforts to quash religious expression rights for cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Following reports that cadets initiated and led a voluntary prayer at two recent football games, MRFF sent a threatening letter to the Air Force Academy command to demand that it put an end to this exercise of First Amendment freedoms. Activist Mikey Weinstein, who writes under the name of MRFF, frequently sends such letters.
“Air Force cadets do not surrender their right to pray when they enter the Academy or the end zone,” said Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. “No evidence exists that these prayers are anything but voluntary. We sincerely hope that the Academy will stand firm and allow these cadets to pray according to their conscience, as the Constitution they are training to defend gives them the right to do.”
Cadets knelt in the end zone following a loss to New Mexico on Nov. 28. In his letter, Weinstein called what the cadets did “a putrid example of fundamentalist Christian supremacy, triumphalism and exceptionalism” and a “disgrace” that could be used as propaganda for ISIS recruiting.
As the religious liberty law firm Alliance Defending Freedom indicated in a letter to the Academy responding to MRFF’s demands, “Military members do not forfeit their constitutional freedoms by virtue of their service to our country. Even at the Academy, cadets still enjoy the right to free speech and free exercise of religion.”
“Americans who wear the uniform should never be denied the basic freedoms they volunteer to defend and are willing to die for,” continued Crews. “The Air Force Academy should ignore the demands of people who don’t properly understand the First Amendment.”
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty is an organization of chaplain endorsers, the faith groups that provide chaplains for the U.S. military and other agencies needing chaplains. The endorsers in the Chaplain Alliance speak for more than 2,600 chaplains serving the armed forces.