Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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dogemperor [userpic]
Military backs away from evangelical event


Maybe our voices are finally being heard. Americans United reports that the Army and the US Air Force have decided not to participate in a 3-day evangelical event in Georgia this weekend.

The Washington Post also has details about this event:

After complaints by a government watchdog group, the Air Force and the Army partially [emphasis mine] distanced themselves yesterday from a three-day evangelical Christian event this weekend at a Georgia theme park.

The Memorial Day weekend "Salute to the Troops" celebration at Stone Mountain Park is sponsored by Task Force Patriot USA, a private group that says its purpose is "sharing the fullness of life in Jesus Christ with all U.S. military, military veterans and families," and whose Web site says "Christ is our Commander-in-Chief."

Huh? I thought that Dubya was the 'commander guy'.

A Washington-based advocacy group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, sent letters yesterday to Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne and acting Secretary of the Army Pete Geren contending that the military's extensive cooperation in the event would be unconstitutional.

"The Air Force and the Army have crossed the line here: A reasonable observer, upon examining the promotional materials, the Robins Air Force Base newspaper, and the current program schedule, could not help but believe that the Army and Air Force fully support and endorse the Christian substance of the celebration," the letters said.

In response, the Air Force issued a statement saying it is "not a sponsor" of the event and was "not aware until recently of the religious connotations surrounding Task Force Patriot's participation." After seeing the schedule, "Air Force officials began taking steps to avoid the appearance of any endorsement or preferential treatment of any religious faith or worship service," the statement said.

An Air Force spokesman, Capt. Thomas Wenz, added that at the Air Force's request, Task Force Patriot agreed to delete all references to Air Force sponsorship and removed an "unauthorized" photograph of Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the Air Force chief of staff, from its Web site.

That website is actually totally down- I just checked it. Guess they've removed the entire thing.

And here's what Americans United said about the event:

Americans United became concerned with the armed forces’ involvement when we learned that the primary group sponsoring the event, Task Force Patriot USA, describes its mission as “sharing the fullness of life in Jesus Christ with all U.S. military, military veterans and families.” The group’s Web site says, “Christ is our Commander-in-Chief,” and its logo is a shield with the American and Christian flags bracketing a large Christian cross.

AU grew more concerned after seeing “Salute to the Troops” plugged as an official U.S. Air Force 60th anniversary celebration in TFP promotional materials and a military newspaper.

Promotional materials promised hourly flyovers by Air Force B-2 Bombers and parachuting demonstrations by the Army’s Silver Wings Parachute Jump Team mixed in with Bible distributions, worship services, personal religious “testimony” by a uniformed B-2 pilot and revival-type sermons by a slew of ministers.

Americans United sent letters earlier this week informing the Secretary of the Air Force and Acting Secretary of the Army that the military’s co-sponsorship and planned participation in this evangelistic event violates the separation of church and state.

“This marriage of religion and government is precisely what the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to United States Constitution was designed to forbid,” the letter said. Americans United respectfully requested that the Air Force and Army “take steps to ensure that the military’s sponsorship and endorsement of the event is retracted and rectified.”

Seems that if you want to donate any money to a worthy cause, AU might be a worthy recipient. They're trying their best to keep the wall between church and state strong.