August 18, 2007
Three faculty members from United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado–one of whom is also a former cadet–have gone public today with their criticisms of evangelical Christian proselytizing at the USAFA. They are joined by another former cadet now serving in Iraq. One faculty member has been reassigned to the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.
Their articles appear as the cover story in the September/October issue of the Humanist magazine, released today in both print and online versions. Under the general title “Higher Power: Is Evangelism Still in Command at the U.S. Air Force Academy?” their articles challenge head on the problem of official proselytizing and they critique behind-the-scenes realities.
Philosophy professor Carlos Bertha takes readers back to 2004 when the controversy over religious favoritism and intolerance at the USAFA became a national media story. He then brings them forward to the present with calls for better understanding and more vigorous application by the military of the U.S. Constitution. Lt. Col. James E. Parco and Dr. Barry S. Fagin set forth specific changes needed at the USAFA and offer a 2003-2007 timeline of the religious scandal there. Second Lt. Patrick Kucera relates his personal struggles as an atheist who challenged Academy policies while a cadet. He graduated in 2004 and is currently deployed in Iraq.
Editor Jennifer Bardi brings it all together in her opening editorial and ties the controversy to broader aspects of this issue that go beyond the USAFA, as evidenced by recent news stories on the filming of a video at the Pentagon promoting the Christian Embassy.
This issue of the Humanist also features Wendy Kaminer reviewing Christopher Hitchens, Michelle Goldberg on “The Rise of Christian Nationalism,” an article on the dangers of meditation, another offering practical steps toward minimizing global warming and achieving energy independence, plus editorials on immigration policy and the use of human-animal chimeras in stem-cell research.
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The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) is the oldest and largest Humanist organization in the nation. The AHA is dedicated to ensuring a voice for those with a positive outlook, based on reason and experience, which embraces all of humanity.