Sep 19, 2011
Date Resolved

AU learned that the U.S. Air Force and Army were planning to take part in a three-day religious event over Memorial Day weekend. Organized by Task Force Patriot — an Evangelical Christian group that claims to “exist[] for the purpose of sharing the fullness of life in Jesus Christ with all U.S. military, military veterans and families” — the event was set to include a host of Evangelical Christian speakers, a worship service, Army parachute-jump demonstrations, and hourly Air Force B-2 stealth-bomber flyovers. Promotional materials identified the U.S. Air Force as a cosponsor for the program, and an active-duty Major was slated to introduce the B-2 flyover crew (during the middle of the worship service) and to offer his religious testimony as part of the program. AU wrote a letter to both the Air Force and the Army, explaining that the military’s planned participation in the religious celebration was unconstitutional, and urging officials to (a) retract military sponsorship of the weekend, (b) ensure that any military participation was segregated from worship services or other religious events, and (c) mandate that military personnel refrain from engaging in religious activities in their official capacities. In response to AU’s letter, the Army’s Silver Wings Parachute Team pulled out of the event entirely; and the Air Force agreed to separate all its activities from religious events, limiting its B-2 flyovers to once a day and cancelling the flyovers planned for Sunday’s worship service.