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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Family Research Council (FRC) and fellow members of the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition today delivered a petition with over 105,000 signatures to the U.S. Air Force Academy. The petition calls on the Air Force Academy to protect the First Amendment rights of cadets, after a recent incident in which a cadet was censored for writing a Bible verse on a white board outside of his dorm room.
Directed to Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, the petition says, "The whitewashing of religion in the Academy develops a culture of fear in an institution tasked to develop warriors. If cadets are taught to be afraid of Bible verses, how will they respond against terrorists who are willing to die for their cause? Our U.S. Air Force Academy cadets should be taught how to intercept the enemy, not how to tiptoe around the hyper-sensitive complainants. I strongly urge you to protect the religious expression of our U.S. Air Force Academy cadets."
Previously RMRFC sent a letter to Lt. Gen. Johnson asking about the incident and requesting a meeting to discuss what the incident means for religious liberty in the Air Force. The RMRFC is a coalition of organizations dedicated to defending religious expression in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Of the petition Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, Family Research Council's executive vice president, said:
"The Air Force and the Academy seem to be taking a novel approach to enacting American law regarding the First Amendment and freedom of speech and expression - particularly, religious speech. The Academy's recent actions and policy pronouncements, unless quickly corrected, will continue to chill speech among cadets, harm morale, and create unnecessary confusion. The American people overwhelmingly support the free exercise of religion in the military, and have spoken out loudly against such efforts to suppress speech and belief."