ADL Welcomes U.S. Air Force Recommendations In Response To Religious Intolerance At Academy
New York, NY, June 22, 2005 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed the efforts outlined today by the U.S. Air Force to address the climate of religious intolerance at the Air Force Academy. The Report of the Headquarters Review Group Concerning the Religious Climate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, issued today, "confirms many of ADL's concerns and those raised by cadets, staff chaplains, civilian observers and military personnel that a persistent pattern of religious intolerance exists at the academy, and that change is necessary."
ADL has been in the forefront in urging an investigation into the concerns of religious intolerance at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The League's concerns have led to meetings with Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa Jr. at the Academy and top Air Force officials in Washington, including Acting Secretary Michael L. Dominguez and the Deputy Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
The task force's report is encouraging because it clearly recognizes that a "religious climate" and "perception of religious intolerance" exist at the academy, and that this climate has festered as a result of a "lack of awareness over where the line is drawn between permissible and impermissible expression of beliefs." The report confirms many of ADL's concerns and those raised by cadets, staff chaplains, civilian observers and military personnel that a persistent pattern of religious intolerance exists at the academy, and that change is necessary.
Beyond identifying the current problems at the Academy, the report offers substantive recommendations for reform, including the establishment of clear policy guidelines for commanders and supervisors regarding inappropriate religious expression, a plan to promote increased awareness of and respect for cultural and religious differences, and internal controls and corrective actions to ensure that the Air Force provides a climate of religious tolerance for all staff and cadets. We are especially pleased that it is not limited to the Academy in Colorado Springs, but is applicable to the entire Air Force.
We hope that the Air Force will implement these programs with all due haste, and that religious tolerance programming does not get short shrift as it has in the past. If implemented effectively, such programs could provide a model for the entire U.S. military, so that the separation of church and state is ensured, and evenly applied across the armed services.
Lt. Gen. John Rosa's open admission of the problems plaguing the Air Force Academy was a refreshing departure from the denials of the past, and we believe that he can continue to play an important role in helping to implement these much needed reforms for as long as he remains at the Academy before taking up his new position at the Citadel. We applaud the appointment of a vice superintendent at the Academy to move the process forward.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.