Religious Intolerance at the Academy

In May of 2004, officials at the Air Force Academy conducted a student survey that gave them an “inkling of a problem” concerning disrespect and intolerance for students who were not Christians. Less than a year after the warning brought by the survey, the Air Force Academy “is facing charges that some Christian cadets have bullied and berated Jews and students of other religious backgrounds.” After fielding over 50 complaints through a period of only a few months, the Academy created the “Respecting the Spiritual Values of all People” program and decided to require students and employees to attend a religious tolerance course. Parents of students still feel not enough is being done to address what they see as a systemic problem.

But Colorado Springs is not just home to the Air Force Academy. Its neighbors include “more than 100 evangelical Christian organizations, including Focus on the Family.” So how is Focus on the Family reacting to the allegations? Though they are publicly “[denouncing] any acts of bigotry,” Focus on the Family gave an interesting response to the accusations:

If 90% of cadets identify themselves as Christian, it is common sense that Christianity will be in evidence on the campus. Christianity is deeply felt and very important to people … and to suggest that it should be bottled up is nonsense. I think a witch hunt is underway to root out Christian beliefs. To root out what is pervasive in 90% of the group is ridiculous.