Lawsuit filed against USAFA Superintendent

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Just_A_Mom, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,826
    Likes Received:
    2
  2. Farleigh85

    Farleigh85 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    1
    I read it. I don't have any problem with what the superintendent is doing. Congress holds such prayer luncheons routinely. Go to any military-sponsored luncheon celebrating the Rev. Martin Luther King's life and ministry and you are likely to hear prayers and speeches that emanate from a very specific religious focus. I often attend these, and I am never offended, even though my religious beliefs are quite divergent. I respect their right to speak and to celebrate a religious point of view even if I don't share it.

    Incidentally, the speaker at this luncheon and I do not share specific religious beliefs either. In fact, I am fairly confident he would personally consider me to be a heretic. That said, I think it is sad that some folks have become so hypersensitive to, and intolerant of, the expression of religious faith that they spend their lives looking for reasons to be offended and to sue to eliminate all traces of it in the public arena.
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    Yea; gotta love those who push the "1st amendment". Unless they don't happen to like what is being said. The fact remains; the overwhelming majority of our nation, has religious beliefs. The overwhelming majority of our laws and social norms come from religious beliefs. So for some reason; those who have a religious belief, are suppose to be "Tolerant" of those who don't. But those who DON'T have a religious belief, don't have to be "Tolerant" of those who do. Such hypocrites. The same thing happens even within the religious community. Certain religions are suppose to be tolerant of others, but certain others don't necessarily need to be tolerant of the opposing side.

    The fact that this gathering is made up of as many denominations as possible, shows that there is not particular belief being pressed or persuaded upon. Even the athiest belief is being represented. "YOU DON'T HAVE TO ATTEND". And I doubt seriously, that anyone would force someone to attend if they didn't want to. Pure B.S.
     
  4. Bullet

    Bullet Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    994
    Likes Received:
    99
    Read complaint: Check.

    Personally know the Supe in question VERY well (former boss, still keep in touch). First, I will say he is an AWESOME leader and individual, probably the BEST boss I've ever experienced though my career. The one I would have fallen on the proverbial sword for, gladly.

    That being said, I am a little disappointed at the judgment shown here by him. This has been an issue for the Academy for a while now (the fear that the USAFA is pressuring religion on cadets and faculty). It may be unfounded, it may be done innocently, but it still draws attention to a practice that stains the reputation of the AFA as an institution. Lt Gen Gould had to know this, and yet he's OK with something like this?

    I agree with Christcorp and Farleigh here on motives for parties involved, and how this stinks to high heaven of a political "cause". But if the full story comes out an we find that the Supe ignored the past and pushed for this anyway? Well, I thought he knew better...

    ----
    [mod edit: start sarcasm]
    No, wait. What I meant to say was "He did nothing wrong! It's Tradition! A "morale boosting event" for the cadets! You don't understand, that's just the way things are when you have 4000 cadets stuck in the Rockies for months at a time![moderator edit: end sarcasm]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2011
  5. McCoy

    McCoy Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    0
    Completely agree with you, as well as Christcorp
     
  6. WouldBePlebe

    WouldBePlebe Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    This complaint is insane. These people need to stop being afraid of other people's right to practice religion, and stop trying to take that right away.
     
  7. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    0
    This lawsuit will fail. There is not much difference between this and having a big Christmas tree or a Menorah in front of city hall or even the White House in December. The courts have uniformly ruled that this is okay.

    The rules get weird with religion in schools, however. But those cases are decided in the context of young kids with maleable minds (e.g., prayers in elementary schools or at high-school graduation ceremonies, etc.). Maybe things have changed, but aren't USAFA cadets consenting adults with the ability to form their own opinions about religion?

    I don't blame the faculty -- I blame the lawyer who filed this complaint.

    Bullet does have a valid point about judgment, though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  8. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,241
    Likes Received:
    275
    The only potential problem I see here is e-mail technique.
    The complaint singles out the keynote speaker but neglects the other speakers. I don't think the "showing favoritism" claim will hold up very well.
    The fears of negative career impact for not attending are not really substantial enough to make a judgement yet. This would need a lot more evidence, IMO.
    Given LtGen Gould's emphasis about respecting others' rights and human dignity, I doubt anyone could prove that he is trying to push any specific faith on others...



    Note: I personally do not feel the MRFF has a good record in reasonably applying 1st Amendment standards. Mr. Weinstein has made comments which sound like supporting restrictions on Christian cadets' freedom of religion. (He stated something to the effect of cadets should not carry Bibles to across the T-zo, even after LMD and in civies.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    I understand; may not agree; when one religion complains about another religion. Their argument about separation of church and state and all that stuff. (Which only means the country will not FORCE the nation and it's people to practice/believe in a particular religion. "Which they've never done in these arguments".) But it doesn't mean that people can't get together and celebrate their religious beliefs. Which is exactly what this is. It's not mandatory. It isn't telling cadets that they MUST believe in a particular religion. They're celebrating the role religion and belief has on our nation, it's people, and that includes the individuals in the military. These are FACTS by the way. Our nation was not established entirely by athiests who remained void in religious thought when developing the constitution and our laws. They were very much influenced by their faith.

    But athiests I really don't understand. If they think that religion is all make believe, then apparently it can't do any harm for people to practice and celebrate a "Make believe faith". It's sort of like 5 year olds believing in Santa Clause. Now if one religion believes people are being lied to by another religion, and they are convicted that harm is going to come to those lied to.... I can understand fighting that. By why are athiests so afraid of people believing in "make believe"? In Santa, or the easter bunny, or the tooth fairy? etc....

    The FACT is: If this was a "Catholic" event, sponsored by the academy, there could be a problem with bias. or a protestant event. Or if it was a Jewish, Buddhist, etc... sponsored by the academy. But it's not. It's ALL RELIGIONS being sponsored being celebrated that is being sponsored by the academy. And contrary to what those offended want to believe, our cadets, military, citizens, and country have every right to have such beliefs celebrated. It is after all the cornerstone upon which our country was founded. "Freedom of Religion" and other later on 1st amendment principles. Those offended are simply hypocrites.

    Unfortunately, there will those who believe in a sanitized society. Many places, you can no longer smoke in a restaurant. Some have gone further and said no smoking in ANY public building. Some, have even gone further and have no smoking within city limits except on your own property. Well now, there's a movement afoot to stop practicing or proclaiming one's belief or faith. First it was during holidays. Then it was in public events. Then they started pushing against it being displayed or expressed in any public place. Pretty soon they'll try to push it out of every venue except private property of your house or a church. THAT IS JUST AN ANTI-First Amendment as forcing a people to believe in a particular religion. Believing in NO RELIGION at all, is STILL A BELIEF. Not allowing individuals to believe and publicly practice their beliefs, is the SAME as PROMOTING Atheism.

    Fortunately, this event celebrates ALL beliefs. "INCLUDING ATHEISM". If any court knows the truth, and isn't trying to make headlines for themselves; they'll tell the plaintiffs to go home and color and dismiss all complaints.
     
  10. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    Complaint read.

    Only issue I see was the protocol officer for this event improperly chose the stationary, letterhead, whatever you want to call it. The event itself is nothing inflammatory, and quite honestly, represents a diverse group mirroring the military itself as far as religion goes.

    Mistake in presentation, they will learn the lesson and move on.
     
  11. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,444
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sounds pretty stupid to me on the Supts part not to have procedures in place to prevent something like this happening. Considering the perceived climate at AFA concerning fundamentialist religion, he needs to be more proactive.
     
  12. philparker

    philparker Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0
    I met Gen. Gould and that guy is such a genuinely nice guy. I don't understand how someone would file a suit against such a great man for something like this.
     
  13. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    If it was some sort of luncheon or ceremony that included just one religious believe, you'd be correct. But to include pretty much anyone with a religious belief and not making it mandatory for those who's belief is not in a prescribed religion, is totally legitimate. Only an atheist who doesn't recognize that their "Non-Belief" in religion is in itself a "Belief". And therefor, pushing their agenda of no public or acknowledged recognition of religion is the exact same as a religion pushing their agenda forcing others to share their beliefs, would consider something like this luncheon to be considered inappropriate. If atheists wanted to have a luncheon to recognize science and global evolution, (Their Beliefs); religions that hold differing beliefs would be expected to respect that. So; what's the difference?
     
  14. endoftheline

    endoftheline Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    1
    moral courage?

    it would be easy to sponsor something like this if the USAFA DIDN'T have a history of scandals. IMO, it takes a real man with real moral courage to continue to support something like this, in spite a dark history surrounding the issue.
     
  15. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,444
    Likes Received:
    0
    Multitiudes of reasons. The new second lieutenant gets up in the ready room on Friday morning and announces that he is going to the ball game Saturday night and asks if anyone wants to come along. How many will respond? The skipper gets up and makes the same announcement. Same question. Completely different response, correct? Often command endorsement is perceived as more than command endorsement, pure and simple. So with all the history of fundamentialist religion problems at AFA we have the Supt endorsing everyone to go hear a fundamentialist speaker. It would have been oh so simple had it been simply handed over to the chapel to plan, advertise, and run. Or did the Chaplains not want to have anything to do with it? Remember that a certain Navy XO's movie nights were not mandatory either and we all know how the news media let that temper their opinions.

    endoftheline, thanks for your comment. Exactly. Just substitute 'stupid' for 'moral courage'.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  16. endoftheline

    endoftheline Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    1
    it would be easy to sponsor something like this if the USAFA DIDN'T have a history of scandals. IMO, it takes a real man with real stupid to continue to support something like this, in spite a dark history surrounding the issue.

    Mongo, i don't get it? that last part doesn't make any kind of sense....

    **i see your point, i just couldn't resist ;)
     
  17. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    Your analogy is simply wrong. Atheism is in itself a belief. No different at all than Catholicism. To say you'll not allow any formal recognition of religion, and therefor aren't promoting a particular belief, actually does promote a belief. Instead, you are endorsing and promoting atheism which is in fact a belief. So basically, the plaintiffs, and yourself, are saying that the academy shouldn't endorse or promote certain beliefs; e.g. catholicism, buddhist, muslim, etc... but they should endorse and promote other beliefs such as atheism, evolution, etc... Can't have it both ways. Banning all of one, is promoting the other. One belief is the opposite of the other. But an atheist won't recognize that. They don't recognize that they in fact do have beliefs. And that belief is just as significant as a person's belief in a supreme being or power.

    And unlike your navy analogy, and what you want people to believe in common behavior, the academy superintendent isn't holding it against cadets or staff if they don't go to church or go to a luncheon. I think you're way too old school. I understand politics quite well. I also understand integrity. Apparently it's different in the navy.

    If the academy had a "Sports Luncheon" one time a year, and only recognized the football team, that would be wrong. If they had a luncheon, or multiple ones that recognized the different athletes and sports, that would be fine. If the academy had a special luncheon that only recognized the aeronautics department and employees, that would be wrong. If they have a recognition luncheon that recognizes employees through all departments, that is perfectly fine. If they had a luncheon recognizing only Catholics, that would be wrong. But to have a luncheon that recognizes all the religions, that is perfectly fine. And if you can't understand that, then that's you inability. If the plaintiffs truly had a complaint, the complaint SHOULD HAVE BEEN: "We're upset, because OUR BELIEFS aren't being included in this luncheon." That is the ONLY LEVEL of grief these individuals can have. Anything else is without merit. It's their denial that their beliefs are exactly the same significance as a religious belief.
     
  18. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,444
    Likes Received:
    0
    Obviously not according to the faculty and Air Force officers who brought on the lawsuit. In the introduction:

    In the 'Parties' section:
    Maybe they're just too 'way old school' and should be ignored.

    Okay, why wasn't this event run by the chapel?
    A. The never thought of it? Incompetent leadership.
    B. Chaplains were incapable of running it? Fire the Chaplains
    C. Chaplains wanted no part of it? Huge red flag
    D. Organizers wanted command endorsement? Second huge red flag

    Command endorsement ensures maximum attendance which, by itself alone, gives total credence to the lawsuit. I am a good Lutheran who goes to church every Sunday and teaches Sunday School. I would have a problem with listening to this guy.

    CC, I think you have agnosticism and atheism confused. Agnostic, athiest, or just don't want to mix religion with their professional lives, the Constitution protects one from this conundrum.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  19. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,444
    Likes Received:
    0
    True story. I swear. At the risk of falling for the old ploy of the lawsuit only taking the very worst and most damning of the 50 or so motivational speeches to which they had access, I googled him just to see what I could find. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I had heard one of his speeches a few years back. I am a sponsor for our council's BSA Eagle Scout Banquet. We have about 100 scouts each year and we invite them, their parents, and their Scoutmaster to a recognition dinner. I always sponsor an Eagle who wants to be a Naval officer, usually an Aviator. Three years ago, I think, the speaker was Lt. Clebe McClary. Two minutes in I attempted to go to sleep. Four minutes in I attempted to figure out how to let the USMC know that retired officers are not allowed to wear their uniforms for money-making venues, which a motivational speaker definitely is. Finally I resigned and listened to his 'speech'. Totally out of place for the Boys Scouts, and it is a Christian organization. Anyway, after the banquet I told the organizer, only half joking, that if there was ever another similiar speaker I would withdraw my sponsorship. The next year his college roommate spoke. He is an accountant. And the speech, for an accountant, was pretty good. He gave a $$$ value to everything in life, including being an Eagle Scout. The organizer asked me if I was happy. My response, "Very".
     
  20. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    5
    With the USAFA's history of alleged Christian proselytizing harassment, this is the last thing they need.

    There are many other ways to proclaim your faith and fellowship without undertaking an event such as this and paying a speaker who believes that USMC stands for "US Marines for Christ."

    Even a believer in Christ should be able to see how a thought process such as that can be so dangerous.

    Imagine if the speaker stated that USMC stood for United Soldiers for Mohammad and Confucius, and the USAFA was offering official Government sponsorship. I can imagine the outrage.

    Yet we are not outraged because the majority are believers in Christianity. But for that very reason is why we all should oppose any official Government endorsement of a particular faith, because the next time we might not be so approving of the sponsor's choice of speaker if he happens to not profess a faith we agree with.

    Which is why we have a 1st Amendment in the first place.

    :cool:
     

Share This Page