Prayer at Air Force Academy football games is a “putrid example of fundamentalist Christian supremacy,” according to radical atheist Mikey Weinstein, who has worked with President Barack Obama’s administration to purge faithful Christians from the ranks of the U.S. military.
Based in Colorado Springs, the United States Air Force Academy’s football team, the Falcons, kneel in prayer together on the field at each game. They are in uniform when they do so, and can be seen by spectators.
The Air Force this week promised to investigate these public prayers.
One news agency reports that Weinstein says this simple act of prayer could be used in anti-American propaganda by Islamic terrorists in ISIS and al-Qaeda, suggesting that the prayers could help provoke a terrorist attack on the United States and endanger the lives of American citizens.
Weinstein is the president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), an organization he founded to eradicate religious faith in the U.S. military. Breitbart News has previously reported that Weinstein has publicly called observant Christians “fundamentalist monsters” who seek to impose “a rapacious reign of theocratic terror.” This over-the-top rhetoric includes saying that a Christian sharing his or her faith in the military is an act of “spiritual rape” comparable to “sexual assault,” and that those who share their faith in uniform are committing an act of “treason,” making them “enemies of the Constitution.”
He argues here that the football players are being coerced to participate in the prayers in violation of the Constitution, and that the fact that the players are in football uniforms—which he says on game day is their military uniform—only enhances the prayers’ illegality.
He alleges that the players are frightened to express their objections up the chain of command, fearing retribution.
That’s insulting, says Liberty Institute lawyer Michael Berry, who is also a major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. “These cadets will soon become commissioned officers in the military, charging into harm’s way and leading their fellow Americans into battle,” Berry tells Breitbart News. A former instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy, Berry adds, “More than ironic, it’s actually insulting for Weinstein to claim that, as future officers and tomorrow’s military leaders, these brave men lack the courage to respectfully express their beliefs regarding religious traditions to their immediate superiors.”
The Obama administration is responding by pledging to investigate the matter, with the academy’s leadership saying in a statement, “The United States Air Force Academy is attentive to all religious freedom concerns, and we are conducting an inquiry into the complaint.”
Calling the prayers “a disgrace,” Weinstein adds that these prayers are a “putrid example” of Christian “triumphalism and exceptionalism,” demanding, “It has to stop.”
“Our troops are not frightened by a holy book, a war memorial displaying a cross, or a traditional prayer,” responds Berry. “Weinstein implies that our military officers are timid, Walter Mitty-like cowards. I’ve been to the Academy and met [the] cadets. The truth is, they’re intelligent, professional, and brave, and deserve to be treated as such.”
Ken Klukowski is legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.