Air Force Withdraws Policy Endorsing Evangelism

October 12, 2005

Source: The Boston Globe

Wire Service: AP

On October 12, 2005 the Associated Press reported, "The Air Force has withdrawn from use by its chaplain service a code of ethics that endorsed evangelizing military service members who are not affiliated with a religion. The move, disclosed by Air Force officials yesterday, followed a lawsuit by a Jewish graduate of the Air Force Academy, Mikey Weinstein of Albuquerque. He said senior officers and cadets illegally imposed Christianity on others at the school. The code of ethics -- issued by the Air Force Chaplain Service in January -- includes the statement: 'I will not actively proselytize from other religious bodies. However, I retain the right to instruct and/or evangelize those who are not affiliated.' Jennifer Stephens, an Air Force spokeswoman, said the code of ethics was withdrawn for further review on Aug. 10. She did not say why, but stressed it was separate from a code of ethics written by the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces, a private organization that provides chaplains [for the U.S. military branches]. Its code also says military chaplains reserve the right to evangelize those who are not affiliated with any religious faith, but Stephens said the Air Force 'has no authority over the statements of that organization.'"