Wednesday, May 11, 2005

apparently evangelism was happening at the air force academy -- shame!

A chaplain at the Air Force Academy described a "systemic and pervasive" problem of religious proselytizing at the academy and said a religious tolerance program she helped create to deal with the problem was watered down after it was shown to officers, including the major general who is the Air Force's chief chaplain.

The academy chaplain, Capt. MeLinda Morton, spoke publicly for the first time as an Air Force task force arrived at the academy in Colorado Springs on Tuesday to investigate accusations that officers, staff members and senior cadets inappropriately used their positions to push their evangelical Christian beliefs on Air Force cadets.

Read the whole thing here. I think one of my professors was involved in blowing the whistle, as it were.


Alan said...

To quote a section of the article:
She said the R.S.V.P. program was significantly altered after it was screened last fall for 300 academy staff members and officers. Military officials confirmed that the program had been altered but said changes were routine in the development of such training programs.

Maj. Gen. Charles C. Baldwin, the chief of chaplains for the entire Air Force, screened the R.S.V.P. program in October, Captain Morton said, and afterward asked her, "Why is it that the Christians never win?" in response to some of the program's dramatizations of interactions between cadets of different religions.

She said: "It was obvious to us that he had missed the point of the entire presentation here. It wasn't about winning or losing, some kind of cosmic battle, it was about helping our folks at the Air Force Academy understand the wonders of the whole range of religious experiences."

In an interview on Wednesday, General Baldwin acknowledged making that comment and said he had objected because too many scenes in the original program had portrayed Christians at fault for excessive efforts at evangelizing.

"In every scenario, where cadet met cadet in the hall," he said, "every time it was the Christian who had to apologize and say, 'I'm sorry, I wasn't sensitive to your needs.' I said, that's not balanced, and the Christians will turn you off if every time they were the ones who made the mistake."

However, Captain Morton responded in an interview that it was "patently untrue" that all the segments portrayed Christians in error. She says that in most cases there was no religious identifier at all. "And I've got the film to prove it."

This raises the question: who is right about sensitivity training program: Captain Morton or General Baldwin? Typical of the NY Times, they fail to go deep enough to ask the question which really matters, while they skate on to peripheral issues.

J-Tron said...

From the Washington Post's article this morning...

Surveys of present and former cadets have shown that some students said they felt a heavy and sometimes offensive emphasis on evangelical Christianity, with praise for cadets who pronounce their "born-again" status and insults aimed at Jews, Roman Catholics and non-evangelical cadets.

Hmm... I wonder how well the evangelical student would take to an Anglo-Catholic... Probably not too well...

Anonymous said...

All Christians are good, except Anglo-Catholics.


adam said...


You for got the "e" and the "n" on the end of your name. :)

father wb said...

If they tried to mess with me, I'd shake my thurible at them. Then I'd shake it at the Jews and Romans for good measure.