AIR FORCE PRESS RELEASE: Christians’ Religious Speech is No Longer a Legally Protected Right
It is scary to hear these stories where individuals get to decide to take away the freedoms of others without anyone putting it to a vote. Recently, the Air Force Academy in Colorado has come out with a public statement saying that cadets do not have the freedom of speech in regards to religion.
Christians in the U.S. military are being told they must forfeit their First Amendment rights. Bible verses are being erased from cadets’ personal dorm-room white boards, and military lawyers claim that legal protections for religion only pertain to matters such as clothing and growing beards but do not extend to any religious expression such as talking about one’s faith or posting a Bible verse.
Breitbart News spoke with Mike Berry, an attorney who is director of military affairs with Liberty Institute. Berry traveled to the Academy last week and met with cadets of different religions. These cadets say these personal messages are traditionally allowed on cadets’ whiteboards. A message might ask to meet for a basketball game or root for a favorite sports team. They claim it is a meaningful exercise in which many cadets include spiritual or inspirational quotes, whether Bible verses, a verse from the Quran, or from football legend Vince Lombardi.
Berry exclusively tells Breitbart News:
We met with Col. Paul Barzler, the Air Force Academy Staff Judge Advocate, to find out what really happened and to ask about the Academy’s policy on religious exercise. It turns out that, contrary to Mikey Weinstein’s claims, the cadet may have voluntarily removed the Bible verse from his white board. But I was stunned to find out that, had the cadet not removed the verse, Academy officials would have ordered him to do so. I asked why, and Col. Barzler explained that, because the cadet held a leadership position, it could create the perception that he was forcing his religious beliefs on subordinates. I pointed out that under the Constitution, federal law, and military regulations, cadets have the right to religious exercise. I was shocked when he responded that Air Force policy, from the Pentagon, is that the term “religious exercise” does not include written or verbal speech. [emphasis added]
Last week, on Mar. 14, 2014, the Air Force Academy issued a press release regarding this situation. It says, “While we swear an oath to Support and Defend the Constitution of the United States, Airmen are also bound by [military policy].” It references Air Force Instruction 1-1, which was adopted several years ago once President Obama took office and is frequently used to suppress religious speech, especially by Christians. The press release then adds that “sometimes we must put the good of the entire unit before the good of any single individual.”
As Berry summarized, “This is a stunning development because it is now clear that the Air Force is interpreting federal law and military regulations in an unlawful way. And it is absolutely shameful because the brave men and women of the U.S. Air Force who make huge sacrifices for our religious freedom are having theirs stripped away.” Hinting at legal action that could be forthcoming, Berry concluded, “This is not only morally wrong, it’s illegal.”
I would like to reiterate 1 line from the Air Force Academy official press release “sometimes we must put the good of the entire unit before the good of any single individual.” This sounds eerily similar to the popular Nazi slogan of the 1920’s ‘Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz’ meaning the common good comes before individual good. Just to be very clear our Nation was founded on the opposite principles, that a person is sovereign in their Liberty. The principle is that individual freedom promotes the general welfare and the entire Constitution is based on securing the blessings of Liberty for the individual. Phrases like the “common good” sound nice but they are far from benign because that is where freedom for all begins to crumble.
Also, here’s another article about how programs for the “common good” actually destroy the individual:
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