- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 22, 2005

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) — A Pentagon investigation into complaints that evangelical Christians at the Air Force Academy have bullied Jews and cadets of other faiths found no overt discrimination, but “certainly insensitivity,” military officials said yesterday.

“There is a lack of awareness on the part of some faculty and staff, and perhaps some senior cadets, as to what constitutes appropriate expressions of faith,” said Lt. Gen. Roger Brady, Air Force deputy chief of staff for personnel.

The investigators’ report said academy leaders and the Air Force should clarify policies on religious expression so religious minorities do not feel discriminated against or pressured.

Seven incidents were referred up the chain of command for possible investigation, but Gen. Brady did not provide details, saying only that “there’s certainly insensitivity” at the academy.

The investigators’ report came on the same day that a chaplain who spoke out against religious intolerance at the academy, Capt. MeLinda Morton, said she had resigned her commission after 13 years in uniform. She has said that she was fired from her position at the school and that a transfer to Japan was hastened for speaking out about the academy’s religious climate.

School officials said her transfer was routine.

Air Force investigators spent several days at the 4,300-student school near Colorado Springs earlier this year looking into complaints that evangelical Christians wield so much influence at the school that anti-Semitism and other forms of religious harassment had become pervasive. About 85 percent of the academy’s students identify themselves as Christian.

Gen. Brady said some problems were related to the maturity level of cadets — who are 18 to 22.

“Most of them know how to behave,” he said. “Some of them need a little work.”

An attachment to the 100-page report said the school’s No. 2 officer, Brig. Gen. John Weida, a born-again Christian accused of pressuring students, was cleared of wrongdoing on all but one accusation. The report did not detail the matter, saying only that it was under review.


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