Newspaper's Editorial Bias Reveals Love for Air Force Academy's 'Incompetent Malice'
On March 8, 2013, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) aggressively mobilized to very publicly protest only the latest incident in a long, checkered history of heinous unconstitutional insults to the cadets, faculty members, and staff at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs, CO. Our protest attracted a plethora of electronic (TV, radio, and internet) and print media attention, including that of the editorial page of the uber-conservative Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper. The degrading insult in question this particular time was the circulation of a link to a fundamentalist, homophobic Jewish Orthodox website known as “ Judaism 101.” The link was contained in a “Notice to Airmen” (NOTAM) of Religious Accommodations circulated by the Academy's nefarious Chaplain’s Office which is, itself, a serial abuser of the Constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state. The link was used as an accompaniment to explanations on the origins and meaning of the major Jewish holidays. This public protest by MRFF came shortly after our civil rights foundation erected a billboard in Colorado Springs lambasting the Academy’s disgraceful and inappropriate usage of that web link.
What struck us as absolutely astonishing was that while Christian holidays were linked to a reputable and well-known About.com website administered by a bona fide expert on the religion, the USAFA chaplaincy linked Jewish holidays to an obscurantist website run by an admitted “traditional, observant Jew” who is neither a rabbi nor a Jewish Theologian. The website's author does say that she has "put in a lot of research.” In other words, the author, Ms. Tracey Rich, is wholly and officially unaccredited and uncredentialed in definitive matters of the Jewish Faith.
The linking to a hobbyist website administered by a hardcore traditionalist was not, however, the only issue that concerned us. Indeed, the issue might have slipped past the MRFF radar if it weren’t for the fact that 21 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning (LGBQ) USAFA personnel contacted us, distressed over material on that so-called “Judaism 101” website which depicted homosexual activity as akin to “kleptomania,” among other pernicious hardcore social conservative positions on the website. Needless to say, such material should have absolutely no place in the hallowed halls of U.S. Military academia.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, we at MRFF were anything but surprised that the editorial luddites at the conservative orgy which constitutes the Colorado Springs Gazette would suddenly defend the circulation of this sickening link in the name of some twisted and tortured conception of “academic freedom,” which it disingenuously hails as “essential to intellectual progress, free thought and freedom itself.” Its pedestrian and unintelligible screed was published the very morning of MRFF’s protest rally against the Academy. Ah, marvel once again at the malodorous stench from the opiners at that literary rag! Witness in rapturous wonder the utter lack of grasp of even the remotest Constitutional realities by the largest newspaper in that town. Behold, a community which has justly been called the "fundamentalist Christian Vatican" and their newspaper which functions as the mouthpiece for the fascists at neighboring Focus on the Family and their prejudiced ilk of fellow Christian supremacist travelers.
Let’s be clear: the paramount responsibility of USAFA brass is to promote good order and discipline, support Department of Defense (DoD), USAF, and other Executive Branch Policy, and above all, to maintain clear consistency with the Constitution that all servicemembers are sworn to protect and defend. When the Chaplain’s Office at USAFA links to “Judaism 101” without a single disclaimer or caveat in regards to its incontrovertibly myopic and contentious content, the clarion message communicated is one of absolute endorsement and unbridled validation. This entire controversy could have been avoided by (a) not including ANY links to non-DoD sites; (b) including a distinctive disclaimer noting that USAFA does NOT endorse or take responsibility for content on the website beyond that portion of the site specifically linked to; or (c) specifically stating that while the link included had some factual information about Judaism, significant amounts of DoD policy run directly counter to this information and it should NOT be viewed at all as necessarily consistent with DoD policy. Better yet, USAFA might have used one of the actual MILLIONS of other links that exist to effectuate the "educational" mission it arguably was trying to accomplish.