Air Force Academy Sued Over Religious Intolerance, Despite New Guidelines

October 7, 2005

Source: Rocky Mountain News,1299,DRMN_21_4139643,00.html

On October 7, 2005 the Rocky Mountain News reported, "A New Mexico businessman is suing the Air Force for allowing evangelical chaplains to continue proselytizing at the Air Force Academy, despite religious tolerance guidelines adopted in August.

Mikey Weinstein, who has a son enrolled at the academy, filed the lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Mexico... In the lawsuit, Weinstein claims that the Air Force has violated the First Amendment right of religious freedom, and asks that the court order the Air Force to adopt a specific policy regarding proselytizing... While Weinstein's lawsuit cites a number of incidents alleging religious intolerance at the academy, it was unclear whether any of them occurred since the new guidelines were established.

But Weinstein said he was compelled to act because of a statement made by Brig. Gen. Cecil R. Richardson, the Air Force deputy chief of chaplains, in a front-page New York Times story that ran July 12.

Richardson was quoted as saying, 'We will not proselytize, but we reserve the right to evangelize the unchurched.'

Weinstein said he and his attorneys have repeatedly asked the Air Force to repudiate Richardson's statement, but never got a response, either privately or publicly."