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Forced agnosticism at the Air Force Academy

"Forced agnosticism at the Air Force Academy" Continued...

But a Scripture on a dorm room door is not a church-state violation, Berry said. During a late Thursday meeting with academy officials, Berry said they told him the protection for religious expression does not extend to religious speech. Writing a Scripture on a whiteboard isn’t protected under the military’s policy because that’s not a central tenet of any faith group. Even so, cadets not in leadership roles are free to write what they want, and even share their faith. Leaders aren’t free to do either, Berry said.

While academy officials maintain the cadet involved in this week’s incident removed the verse voluntarily, they told Berry if he hadn’t, they would have forced him to.

The cadet leader will not be punished, academy officials say. The other cadets who wrote verses in protest also won’t be punished, as long as they aren’t in leadership positions. That’s not good enough for either Berry or Weinstein. For now, academy officials seem unconcerned about lawsuit threats from either group. If Weinstein wants to sue, Vidal said, he can sue.

“He’s a private citizen,” Vidal said. “He’s done it before.”

Editor’s note: The fourth paragraph of this article originally characterized Military Religious Freedom Foundation as an “anti-Christian” organization that seeks to “eradicate” religious expression in the military. After further review of Mikey Weinstein’s published writings and interviews, we’ve changed “eradicate” to “limit strictly” and “anti-Christian” to “anti-evangelical.” 

Andrew Branch
Andrew Branch

Andrew is a freelance writer living in Raleigh, N.C. He was homeschooled for 12 years and recently graduated from N.C. State University. He writes about sports and poverty for WORLD. Follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewABranch.

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