For the past several years, Athens Now has made a concerted effort to inform our readers of the ongoing attack on the religious freedoms of our troops. While it’s true that all of the branches of military service have been targeted, it seems that the Air Force Academy has particularly drawn the ire of those who are not interested in freedom of religion, but rather freedom from religion.
In 2014, cadets at the Air Force Academy ran into trouble with those who don’t want them to have any public display of their faith in their personal quarters, and who attempted to censor any scriptures, or in some cases, just generic inspirational sayings that they had written on their whiteboards. This was deemed “offensive,” and the cadets had to erase them.
Another example is Air Force Sergeant Phillip Monk who wouldn’t affirm same-sex marriage, and was threatened with the ruination of his career by his commanding officer.
It’s been dumb, and then it got dumber. The most recent tempest in a teapot had to do with an Academy football coach’s personal Twitter account. When Coach Steed Lobotzke posted three scriptures on his personal Twitter account, Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation said they were an example of “unchecked Christian extremism” at the Air Force Academy. “Lobotzke’s official Twitter feed is filled with illicit proselytizing in the name of Jesus Christ and even includes such biblical citations juxtaposed with pictures of official football team meetings,” says Mr. Mikey. Horrors! “Unchecked Christian extremism!” But wait, there’s more!
The MRFF apparently is representing five members of the USAFA’s football staff and three members of the team in a complaint filed which states in part, that the “Twitter issue is a disgrace to the Constitution of unlawful, fundamentalist Christian supremacy.” And now, for the pièce de résistance, they claim they are filing the complaint so they can “protect the precious freedoms guaranteed by the separation of church and state in the nation’s Constitution.” It’s a really sad day when “legal counselors” claim that the phrase “separation of church and state” shows up in the Constitution of the United States.
But, just in time for Christmas, it looks like the Air Force Academy has given Coach Lobotzke a reason to sing “Joy to the World!” They actually pushed back, citing the fact that Coach was using his personal Twitter account, and in their words, declared, “Upon looking into this matter, we learned that all athletic coaches’ social media accounts are personal and not maintained by the Air Force Academy.”
Mikey’s not having it, though. His response to the Academy’s ruling cannot be printed here, and let’s just say, “he’ll be baaaaack.” I guess he wouldn’t appreciate anyone saying, “Peace on earth, goodwill toward men” on Twitter, but for now, I am going to exhibit “unchecked Christian extremism” and wish all of our vets Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas. We love you and thank you for your service.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner