Sunday, May 15, 2005

Air Force Chaplain Transferred Overseas

The Chaplain who confirmed reports that evangelical Christians were using strong-arm evangelism tactics at the Air Force Academy has been reassigned to duty overseas and may end up in Iraq.

Today's New York Times report on a conversation with Capt. Melinda Morton says,
She also said that in March she received orders to transfer to Okinawa, and from there could be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Captain Morton said she was surprised because in December she was told by Colonel Whittington that she would be staying at the academy through summer 2006 to see several projects through. At the time, Captain Morton was developing a sensitivity training program for the academy and was involved in pastoral care for cadets who were victims in a sexual abuse scandal that swept the academy in 2003.

An academy spokesman, Lt. Col. Laurent Fox, said in an interview that Captain Morton's dismissal as executive officer and her reassignment to Okinawa were entirely routine, and not retribution.

Frederick Clarkson's blog "When the State becomes the Church" has begun to describe such violations of the First Amendment as the handiwork of "religious supremacists."

Self-defeating, aggressive evangelization tactics are in vogue at more places than at the Air Force Academy. Students in the Religious Studies Department at the University of Oklahoma recently sponsored a forum on "The Ethics of Evangelism" to address some of the tactics being used by some evangelical groups on that campus. The chief difference between OU and the Air Force Academy is that at the Academy the tactics are being encouraged and assisted by the School's Administration while at OU the Administration has maintained a benevolent neutrality.

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