Tony Perkins is President of Family Research Council. This article appeared in The Christian Post on March 14, 2014.
At the U.S. Air Force Academy, jets aren't the only things 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." MRFF's Mikey Weinstein 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 of 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.