December 2006 Church & State | AU Bulletin

A federal judge has tossed aside a lawsuit charging the Air Force Academy with allowing cadets to be evangelized by staff and superiors, but plaintiffs in the case say the action will be appealed.

U.S. District Judge James A. Parker concluded that the litigation brought by Mikey Weinstein, a graduate of the Air Force Academy and father of two active duty Air Force members, lacked merit.

“Not a single Plaintiff has alleged any personal factual situation that has allegedly impinged on that Plaintiff’s constitutional rights since the Plaintiff left the Academy,” wrote Parker. “Plaintiffs describe no specific incidents demonstrating support for the proposition that there is an unwritten policy of many evangelical chaplains to continue proselytizing and evangelizing…members of the Air Force.”

According to Religion News Service, Weinstein vowed that he would not give up his challenge.

“Our fight is far from over,” he said. “Religious bias and the outrageous violations of the separation of church and state continue to spread rampantly throughout our military.”

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has worked with Weinstein in uncovering and reporting on blatant evangelizing of cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Last year, Americans United issued an extensive report showing rampant proselytism efforts by Academy faculty and staff.

Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn told the Colorado Springs Gazette that he didn’t believe the ruling in Weinstein v. U.S. Air Force “was the end of the story.”

He said, “Chaplains and officers are there to meet spiritual needs, and not to convert people to Christianity.”