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.
I tried. I failed. In the end, you're an extremist who worries me, too, just in another cloth.
PacksA9, I'm against radical Islam, too, and I know we're engaged in fighting radical Islamists, BUT we are playing into their hands if we frame this as a religious battle with "ours" (whatever that is) being better than "theirs." What IS ours is the Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees. I do NOT want a military member wearing a shirt that is anti-Islam because that might mean (to some) that our military would not or should not defend the rights of law-abiding Muslims in America or that we might attack Muslims abroad SOLELY because they are Muslims. We should fight EXTREMISTS at both home and abroad (in whatever religious or political persuasion they claim) because they threaten those freedoms.
Fighting radical Islamist expansionism and violation of human rights is good. Wearing T-shirts that frame the battle as religious,WHEN YOU'RE IN THE GOV'T or MILITARY, or promoting their sale on base is BAD, will NOT help us win that battle, and will make us more enemies when we really need more friends that share our values--and I know many, many Muslims, Christians, Atheists, Hindus, and Pastafarians that do share those Constitutional values.
PacksA9, I'm not sure what point you're arguing. I'm AGAINST a Muslim takeover of our government--no one here is for that (I hope). Religious extremists are B-A-D. However, I'm also against selling this shirt (or even allowing it to be worn) ON A GOVERNMENT INSTALLATION. I'd be against it being worn or sold if the Muslim symbology was replaced with Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Atheist, Hindu,or Flying Spaghetti Monster symbology. I support the First Amendment and have done so for over 30 years of active duty time (much more than you, I'm certain), and you can wear this into any mosque you choose--I'll defend your right to do so. BUT, and stay with me here--I'll use small words: we in the military and the guv-mint have a special job to be impartial (that means fair and even-handed) towards all people regardless of the church or mosque or rock circle they attend or drive by. That means we should not imply or intend to vilify (sorry, 'be mean to or label as all being evil') any groups like Christians or Muslims with messages that are clearly threatening and hateful. If you can't see that this message is hateful or can be seen as hateful to majority (hundreds of thousands) of peace-loving Muslim citizens in this country, then I'm very sorry for you.
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