Thursday, November 7, 2013

Academy athletic trainer vows to proselytize on campus

Posted By on Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 3:02 PM

  • Weinstein
Love him or hate him, Mikey Weinstein has a point. For nearly a decade, he's been ranting about the pervasive fundamental Christian atmosphere at the Air Force Academy. He's pointed out many such instances, and now here's further proof.

After Weinstein went ballistic over the academy posting the honor oath at the Preparatory School, which concludes with "so help me God," he's gotten a lot of hate mail.

To counter, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which he founded, posted a billboard on North Nevada Avenue asking why the academy feels compelled to make "so help me God" optional for cadets when President George Washington's oath of office didn't contain it?

That triggered this piece of hate mail from Allen Willoughby, head athletic trainer and assistant athletic director at the academy's prep school:

Finally a leader at USAFA that really lets you know how all of us at USAFA especially at USAFA Preparatory feel about you and your beliefs, can't wait 'til you are escorted off campus and I am sure the majority of staff/cadets (believers and nonbelievers) wish that could happen now. Stop pushing your beliefs on us. God will always be a part of the US Military even when you are gone to meet him face to face. You know you can do a lot for the homeless veterans out here but you could care less about them but when it comes to Christians you are willing to fight against us, well you will never win and so you know the war has already been won. I am on staff at USAFA and will talk about Jesus Christ my Lord and savior to everyone that I work with [emphasis added]. Do something productive with your life and Stop harassing the fine people at USAFA. I really pray for your soul.

As you can imagine, this sent Weinstein into orbit. He tells us in an interview, "This is the best example of how wretched the climate is there, the brazen boldness of Christian supremacy. It's an absolute disgrace. We want an apology to me, my family and the foundation, and we want him disciplined."

He then fired off an e-mail message to Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, saying, "he feels absolutely NO worries or even the slightest nuances of concern about making such heinous, astonishingly bigoted statements of fundamentalist Christian supremacy ... at USAFA so very publicly??"

Meantime, we asked the academy to comment on Willoughby's message and to tell us what, if any, action would be taken against him, given that the academy claims to require its staff, faculty and cadets to be trained in religious respect. Not so long ago, proselytizing was banned from the academy.

The academy issued a statement and later said, "No action is being taken against the individual."

The academy's statement:

Regarding the e-mail sent by Mr. Allen Willoughby to the MRFF, we can confirm that Mr. Willoughby is a trainer at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School, and yes, he did send an e-mail to the MRFF in his personal capacity [all emphasis added] and not as a representative of the Air Force's Academy or the Prep School.

Supporting the right of free exercise of religion relates directly to the 
Air Force core values and the ability to maintain an effective team. Air Force Academy Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for an individual's free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion.

All Academy Airmen, especially commanders, supervisors and those who are in 
daily contact with cadets or cadet candidates, must ensure that in exercising their right of religious free expression, they do not degrade morale, good order, and discipline or degrade the trust and confidence that the public has in the United States Air Force and the Air Force's Academy.

The Air Force's Academy remains committed to protecting individuals' right 
to practice any religion they choose, or no religion, provided their practices do not violate policy or law, or impede mission accomplishment, military readiness, unit cohesion, standards or discipline.

It's also important to point out that USAFA has a robust, structured Religious Respect Training Program that helps cadets, cadet candidates, faculty and staff understand how the First Amendment applies to them at USAFA with an expectation that all are educated on religious respect and, in turn, are practitioners of respect.

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