Last week, I mentioned that Major Steve Lewis at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs had an open, highlighted Bible at his desk, and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation was trying to put a stop to it.
MRFF’s argument was that Air Force rules specifically prohibit military leaders from “officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.” This was obviously promotion of Christianity. And military leaders, as opposed to other government workers, are held to a much stricter enforcement of the law, including the First Amendment.
An investigation has taken place… and it looks like the Bible is staying in place.
MRFF is infuriated by the decision, in part because of a major conflict of interest at the heart of the matter:
MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein called the investigation “a sham and a travesty,” because Col. Lisa Johnson, the commander who approved the Bible’s placement in the first place, apparently was the one in charge of the investigation. That hasn’t been confirmed by the Air Force, however.
“This is a quintessential example of a disgusting conflict of interest,” Weinstein says. He adds he plans to demand the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office conduct a separate investigation. “We can’t find a single instance where the Air Force enforces Air Force Instruction 1-1.”
I find it hard to believe that an officer who had a Qur’an open and highlighted on his desk would have received the same non-punishment. Christianity, as usual, got another free pass.
(Portions of this article were published earlier)