At Air Force Academy, Fight and Flight
At the U.S. Air Force Academy, jets aren't the only thing taking off. So is a campus-wide rebellion against the forces of political correctness. Frustrated by the school's decision to scrub a Bible verse from one of the dorm whiteboards, cadets decided to take matters into their own hands. In a show of defiance, Bible verses started popping up on dry erase boards throughout the dorms -- outraging the anti-Christian "tolerance" police at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
This latest controversy boiled over earlier this week, when MRFF insisted that a verse from Galatians, posted on a cadet's personal hallway whiteboard, somehow created a "hostile environment." He pressed for the cadet -- and any officer(s) who ignored the display -- to be punished for "misconduct."
FRC's Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (USA-Ret.) couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Once the academy allowed cadets to use these whiteboards for their personal use, censorship of religious commentary is unacceptable. Either the Air Force is very confused about the Constitution of the United States or they don't really believe in the liberties that are provided by that document." In an almost comical overstatement, MRFF said, "[The message] massively poured fundamentalist Christian gasoline on an already raging out-of-control conflagration of fundamentalist Christian tyranny, exceptionalism, and supremacy at USAFA." Lt. Col. Denise Cooper agreed, calling the display "wrong" and suggesting that the Academy use the complaint as "a teachable moment."
Not so fast, said cadets, who offered a teachable moment of their own. Overnight, Scriptures from Philippians 4 to Psalm 28 started appearing up and down dorm hallways on whiteboards -- a stealth operation to counter the growing culture of religious oppression. "This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands," read one. "This very day I will give the carcasses to the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel." A few cadets even quoted from the Quran, just to give the display a little multi-faith color.
Not surprisingly, the Foundation kicked into panic mode, firing off emails to Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson with pictures of the "offensive" messages scrawled on hallway boards. "Congratulations, Michelle!!" Mikey Weinstein fumed, "now you have a revolt on your hands... What are you going to do about this? Will you enforce the [Air Force Code] and the United States Constitution ...or will you merely give your usual spineless lip service to it and conveniently look the other way? ...Hmmm... let me guess... see you in court."
And they accuse Christians of creating a hostile environment? Since when is the standard of what's constitutional based on what offends someone else? If Scripture frightens these cadets, what will they do in the face of a determined jihadist? It's decisions like these that are creating cowards in place of the proud warriors of the U.S. military. All these cadets have done is freely exercised the constitutional rights they'll be defending upon graduation. Even the Pentagon, after prodding from groups like FRC, agreed through a new directive that the religious expression of service members like these should be protected.
Fortunately, the Air Force's cadets aren't taking these attacks sitting down. They're an example to everyone who feels helpless in the face of persecution. No matter where you are, when you're deprived of your rights, stand up to the bullies and refuse to take it! Like Governor Rick Perry (R) told conservatives last week, "It's time for a little rebellion." I would agree -- it is time for a little "righteous" rebellion like this. And the cadets are leading the way.
SPLC Redefines 'Class' Warfare
What's the going rate for political groups to buy classroom time these days? InHawaii, it's $250. At least that's what the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is paying teachers for the opportunity to present its radical message to kids as young as six and seven. The pay-to-play scheme is getting plenty of attention in the state, as more reporters dig deeper into the stipend scandal that lured teachers to take SPLC's two-day "Tolerance" workshop.
While the Department of Education investigates the ethics complaint filed by State Representative Bob McDermott, more information is surfacing about the stipend scandal. Turns out, the $250 paid for a lot more influence than people originally knew. On top of the initial kickback, teachers were eligible for more money "if they implemented and submitted one lesson stemming from what they learned at the workshop, wrote up five implementation logs and agreed to be observed teaching the anti-bias material in the classroom."
In other words, SPLC is paying teachers for access to students -- and worse, its employees will be fanning out in classrooms across Hawaii for "observation." If teachers aren't politically correct enough, no doubt SPLC will threaten the school district with a poor grade in its rankings. "Free training and then a cash inducement on top of it to influence the curriculum by an outside group, mind you, is objectionable," McDermott insisted. "And it's illegal." Imagine what the reaction would be if a Bible group had tried a similar stunt and offered to pay teachers in exchange for religious lessons!
Obviously, plenty of parents would like to expel SPLC from the classroom -- but the first step is understanding what the organization is actually teaching. Unfortunately for America's parents, SPLC's "Teaching Tolerance" program doesn't end in Hawaii. Its curriculum, which takes aim at the biblical views held by millions of Americans, is making its way across the country's school districts. To help more parents understand who SPLC really is, FRC created a quick fact sheet on the program and how families can find out if this propaganda is being taught in their schools. Learn what you can do to rid your schools of this inappropriate material -- and share the information with your friends by checking out our new sheet on the SPLC's "Teaching Tolerance" project. Also, don't miss Rep. McDermott's interview on "Washington Watch" from earlier this week!
FRC in the O.C.
If you think that people have given up on this country, think again. Last night, it was encouraging to see almost 900 people turn out for FRC's annual "Friends of FRC" banquet in Orange County, California. The annual banquet in Southern California is the second largest event FRC does every year behind the Values Voter Summit thanks to our dedicated and generous sponsors and hosts. And yesterday, the nearly standing room crowd was excited to hear from keynote speaker Dr. Ben Carson, the surgeon-turned-conservative-celebrity, who delivered a strong message about refusing to yield to the PC police.
For all of the negative news in our nation, the room was filled with energy -- which bodes well for the upcoming elections. I was able to share about FRC's multi-year campaign to grow the organization and how despite the present discouragements and challenges, we must not turn back -- our country needs us now more than ever. And our attendees left inspired, encouraged, and motivated to engage the culture for faith, family, and freedom. Even if you weren't at last night's event, you can still hear Dr. Carson's interview from yesterday's radio show here.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.