Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

JWV Condemns Revised Interim Guidelines on Exercise of Religion in the Air Force

Winter 2006

The Jewish War Veterans of the USA (JWV) denounces the recently issued "Revised Interim Guidelines Concerning Free Exercise of Religion in the Air Force." The revised guidelines do not live up to the promise of those previously issued in Aug. 2005, and, in essence, avoid a solution by reviving the status quo. The original 4-page guidelines, reduced to one-page allegedly to "facilitate their use by Airmen," represent a watered-down version of the previously issued guidelines. After protests by evangelical Christian groups, the new guidelines omitted or lessened many provisions in the previous issuance, allowing for proselytizing of those with religious beliefs contrary to those of the evangelists. In the current revision, chaplains "will not be required to participate in religious activities, including public prayer, inconsistent with their faiths," while no similar assurance is granted to Airmen themselves. Specific examples of situations that could lead to possible abuse of the religious rights of Airmen have been omitted from the revised guidelines, leading to the possibility of the same abuses of authority by Chaplains that caused the necessity for specific guidelines in the first place. No abuse can be tolerated! The right of all to worship or not worship as they please exists and still exists as a fundamental part of the American Constitution and American tradition. Those who join the Air Force to uphold our fundamental freedoms deserve the full benefit of those freedoms which they are pledged to protect. The revised guidelines, as written, do not guarantee those freedoms. The JWV demands that the guidelines be revised and reissued again to ensure that freedom of religion is maintained throughout the Air Force. Never again should there be any doubt that the rights of all are protected.

 

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