This was the equivalent of slow-pitch softball--not surprising that USAFA managed to hit a single, but they could've easily hit this one out of the park but just quoting AFI1-1 and stating unequivocally that they expect ALL USAFA leaders to conform, whether their paycheck comes from the Treasury or the AFAAC. Active duty AF officers and HEAD coaches and USAFA can have their own twitter feed and facebook page (many do), but USAFA and Air Force leadership need to continue to make it clear that if they use those feeds in ANY way are used to represent the Academy or if a reasonable individual could see those feeds as potentially coercive toward subordinates/recruits or negative representations of the Academy, then they need to be stopped and reprimanded.
This really makes no sense at all (the Academy position). Requiring that employees and military at the Academy only have a disclaimer that their views aren't (officially) those of the Academy and are privately held, while the individual posting those comments uses USAFA imagery/branding and is widely known to be a leader at the Academy (e.g., coach, faculty member, AOC, Superintendent, etc) is ludicrous. Would that mean that the colonel could have her own twitter feed, re-tweeting quotes from the KKK (or ISIS/Daech), but by saying "these are my own views and shouldn't be associated with USAFA" that makes it all okay? USAFA leadership could/should apply a simple rule: If it would seem reasonable and prudent for the Superintendent, Commandant, Dean, or Athletic Director to tweet it or post it on their personal Facebook page, then it's okay for the coach to do the same.
Posts by a 3-star on their devotion to a specific religion or rejection of religion--backed by USAFA signage, even with a disclaimer--would be a clear violation of AFI1-1, so why isn't the same true for a football coach or English professor? (Ref: https://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2…)
Once again, this is REALLY EASY to fix, Coach Lebotzke: Get two twitter accounts. Use one as a coach and representative of USAFA. Call it "Coach Lebotzke." Get another twitter account (they're free) and call that one "Steed The Evangelizing Dominionist Christian." Use the former to talk about USAFA and football. Use the latter to spread your sky-fairy beliefs. Do NOT cross-tweet between the two. Do NOT allow your recruits or cadets to know about or follow you on the latter. MANY people do this. It's not hard. It's even legal and prudent.
However, since the Academy is NOT providing this type of clear guidance and separation (that would give Steed the ability to practice his religious fervor without issue), I can onl conclude that they APPROVE of his using the twitter feed to spread his religious views while simultaneously doing his job--and that's very, very wrong.
(BTW - the views expressed above are mine only and do not officially represent AF or USAFA policy--except for AFI1-1, which IS Air Force Policy.)
Not ALL of the military has a "long History of ethical and spiritual loyalty to God." I have a personally long history (over 25 years) of loyalty to support and defend the Constitution of the United States--that's the oath I took. When I've faced "America's enemies" (and yes, I've been 'shot at' more than once), I didn't look for religious reinforcement, I depended on my training, education, and the professionalism of those around me. Instinct? Yes, based on my training and education. Emotions? No. I completely agree with you that Freedom of Religion is a cornerstone of both--but having/practicing religious belief is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for honorable service, and IMPOSING one's religious views on subordinates or judging someone based upon their religious views (vs their actions to complete the mission) is completely counter to the principles upon which this nation was founded.
If you dislike my comments and can offer a rational counter argument consistent with AF policy, I'm all ears (or eyes)... (cue the crickets)
Lebotzke has now added a little "Tweets are my own views" comment in an effort to claim that he's exempt from the rules. I don't buy it. He still shows the football stadium with an American flag and anyone who can read sees that he is a football coach and recruiter at USAFA. Once again, what level of evangelism (or racism or bigotry) just this excuse? How does this single, hard-to-find line assuage the fears of a potential cadet and football player at USAFA that Coach L would treat him differently if the recruit WASN'T a Christian that agrees with Coach L's views? Would he have any chance at starting if Coach knew, or would he be 'forced' to trot down to the end zone with the others at the start of each game and "pretend" to pray?
Lots of people at USAFA manage to do this without the overt bias of Lebotzke. You can scan the other coaches' Twitter feeds and they seem to get the job done without the evangelism. And what Coach L does might be okay at a school that endorses a specific Christian perspective and then covers up sexual assault like Baylor, but Baylor is a private school--not a US government operated institution. I manage several Facebook pages. Some are quasi-official and one is my own. Even on my own private page, where I claim that all of the views are private and not to be associated with the government, with no overt photo that ties me to the government on my profile, I would never DREAM of posting anything religious or political because I know that I have subordinates and other airmen that visit my page and are my social media 'friends.' I don't want them to EVER think that I would judge them based upon anything besides how they do their job. So, I would rightly be fired (or at least counseled or disciplined) if I started my "feed" with a statement endorsing the Flying Spaghetti Monster, quoting Marx on religion, or denegrating those that happen to (in their private lives) believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, Koran, or some religious text and those that see that religious view as the ONLY guide to lead one's life.
You're STILL wrong, Steed, and I'll continue to beat this dead horse until you get it right.
Whether it's a gov't owned account or not is irrelevant. He's an employee of the Academy (through the Athletic Dept) and he's using the USAFA "Brand" on his site. He identifies as a representative of the Academy, a coach, and a RECRUITER of cadets--and therein lies the rub. There's no issue with his religious beliefs--he's free to believe and practice as he sees fit. I defend that right every day. BUT, where he goes off the (legal) reservation is by proclaiming his faith on a site that he SIMULTANEOUSLY uses to represent and serve the Academy. He should and could have a separate Lebotsky account that's just for him and has no tie to USAFA (or claim to his job) where he can write all of the stuff he wants--and ISN'T followed by recruits or cadets.
Let's look at a couple of examples... If a leader (and he is one as a coach) at USAFA, on their team site or even a site that linked them with USAFA proclaimed that 'Religion is the Opiate of the Masses' and USAFA and the military spend WAY too much money on sky fairy fantasies (e.g., the Chapel and its impending $multi-million renovation) when their real mission is to educate cadets to be rational, critically thinking leaders of our Air Force, then that leader would be instantly called onto the carpet by leadership for this affront and insult to religious members of the USAFA community. It would give the impression that USAFA is hostile to religion--that would be wrong and bad. The same could be said if a dept head or AOC, on their own site with 2500 followers and USAFA branding said that the one true path was to serve Allah and not man. That would give the impression to that officer's subordinates that they might not be treated fairly, nor would recruits be welcome, if they didn't fell like that commander. In Steed's case, it's reasonable to assume that he might not be an effective recruiter of someone who isn't an overt, evangelical Christian since I'm sure his recruits are encouraged to "follow" his Twitter feed. If I was an atheist or Muslim recruit, I'd certainly look elsewhere.
This really isn't that hard. 99% of the military deals with it every day successfully. At work, it's about the mission and your job. If you represent your work, you keep your religion, politics, and sexual preference private--they don't belong at work. If you want to express political or religious views, you do so outside of work, in a manner that would not lead a reasonable person to think that you are endorsing those views and that the organization you represent REQUIRES or ENDORSES those views at the expense of other. Steed can have his own religious page, but he CAN'T do it as a representative of USAFA. He doesn't get it, his bosses don't get it and haven't taught him that, so they should all be disciplined for the damage they've caused.
Rael and others have pretty much covered it. ONLY violating your written policy (not to mention the Constitution) 3.2% of the time seems an inventive excuse (or, what the Academy calls "Quibbling"). What if cadets ONLY violated the honor code on 3.2% of their tests? Would that be acceptable? If we accepted ONLY 3.2% of our officers committing sexual assaults? Sadly, though, it goes beyond that because those 3.2% of the appearances that violated policy only did so in ONE, well-chosen, and seemingly premeditated direction. Instead of reaching out to other communities, the Band's view of diversity was to include Catholics with the evangelicals. I'd sure like to know if ANY of their appearances were even to majority African-American or Hispanic congregations, or if they kept it light--sticking to the suburban, white, evangelical, and upper-crust Catholic congregations that will produce the cadets that will fill the two primary sections of the Cadet Chapel. That is, when they don't take the Sunday bus to NLC.
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