The political polarization becomes religious polarization and the constitution is tested in the US Air Force.
Bear with me.
66 Republican members of Congress have signed a letter to Leon Panetta the Secretary of Defense it contains these paragraphs;
66 members of Congress, all Republicans, coming down on the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force by signing a letter to his civilian boss.
If these 66 Republicans are right, there is a concerted attack on the free expression of religion in one of the branches.
What is going on here, where did this come from and where does it go?
The letter, drafted by Reps. Todd Akin (R-MO), Diane Black (R-TN) and Randy Forbes (R-VA), calls on Panetta to investigate a series of cases where the Air Force “succumbed” to pressure from outside groups, such as the removal of a paragraph from a Squadron Officer School training document saying, “if you attend chapel regularly, both officers and Airmen are likely to follow this example. If you are morally lax in your personal life, a general moral indifference within the command can be expected.”And Fox News agrees;
The document was taken out following a complaint by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation that the line “creates the inescapable impression that regular church attendance is a requirement for commissioned Air Force officers in order to demonstrate positive morals to subordinates.” The foundation said it violates the constitutional ban on religious tests for U.S. office holders.What is really happening is that the free ride the militant evangelicals enjoyed for years in the military is being challenged by groups of active and retired military who understand the principle of separation of church and state in an environment quite different than civilian society.
And the confrontation that started years ago is now reaching the highest levels of the Obama administration short of CIC Obama himself.
This is the forest, now let's take a look at some of the trees, also from the letter;
Now let's look at the trees from a different perspective;
The evangelical right wing has been on the move for years. They have become one of the wheels in the Republican party car. The War on Women, DOMA, the opposition to gays in the military, etc. all coming from the Republican party, and now this escalation to the SECDEF are all data points of the same process.
I have been involved with the fight 1st brought out by the MRFF in this site for years;
And others too;
The fight has been going on for years. And the religious right is playing their last cards.
It would make sense to have the Supreme Court decide the constitutionality of having commanders "recommend" their subordinates to attend mass. Then again this SCOTUS is unpredictable.
One day I'll diary about my exeprience at the Air Force Academy with "mandatory chapel formation" before the 1972 SCOTUS desicion. It is a bit funny but it is also why I am in the fight. And I believe that this SCOTUS decision set the stage for James Dobsons and Ted Haggards to begin the infiltration of the military starting at the Air Force Academy, that was finally checked by the MRFF and the US Air Force under Genaral Schwartz.
I happen to know Mikey Weinstein, founder of the MRFF and fellow USAFA graduate, and General Norton ("Norty") Schwartz, a fellow classmate. I am very proud of them, they have done great things for the military and freedom. Let's support them any way we can.