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Friday, April 22, 2016


Colorado Springs Independent - "Academy 'partners' with religion, drawing criticism"

Friday, April 22, 2016


The U.S. Air Force Academy Band played some crowd favorites at New Life Church last night, such as Gershwin's "Strike up the Band," and the age-old hymn, "Amazing Grace."

But the band also apparently crossed the line, because it violated its policy by associating with a religious entity, and Mikey Weinstein calls that an "unconstitutional disgrace."

Weinstein, who founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, heard about the event from numerous "clients" of MRFF who work or are schooled at the academy.[...]

Click to read more

Statement by Mikey Weinstein,
MRFF Founder and President

"On behalf of it’s 145 United States Air Force Academy clients, comprising cadets, faculty and staff, (among them are 7 who identify as LGB), the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) officially protests the Academy band concert held at the New Life Church last night in Colorado Springs. MRFF will be filing a comprehensive Freedom of Information Act request to uncover how all of the particulars of this unconstitutional disgrace came about. In the mean time, MRFF demands that the DoD IG also open up an immediate and aggressive investigation into these same matters."

The United States Air Force Academy yet once AGAIN blatantly violates not only the United States Constitution’s No Establishment Clause and various DoD Joint Ethics Regulations regarding the provision of endorsements and selective benefits but, this time, it’s very own internal regulations. How you may ask; by incestuously ‘partnering’ with the infamously and notoriously homophobic, evangelical  New Life Church in an Air Force Academy band concert reminiscent of a Las Vegas Strip production.

"Just as a burned-out, drug addict zombie, shaking uncontrollably palsy-like, cannot stop from ingesting illegal crystal meth, the United States Air Force Academy just canNOT get enough of that fundamentalist Christian narco-putrescence which, as happened again last night at that band concert, is deployed in unconstitutional times, places and manners which are poisonous to the Academy’s cadets, faculty and staff. These activities hopelessly further denigrate the Academy’s already well deserved reputation as a rapaciously religion-centric tribe where the only favored faith is fundamentalist Christianity."

UPDATE: USAFA's response in the CSIndy article does absolutely nothing to respond to the "In Partnership with New Life Church" declaration. Nor in their exhaustive list of performance locations are any non-Christian houses of worship or non-Christian schools mentioned.

United States Air Force Academy
Band Regulations

"The United States Air Force Academy Band may perform for public and civic events if the event is of general interest or benefit to a local, state or national community. However, the Band may not participate in events that are commercially sponsored; are designed to increase business traffic or raise charitable donations; or are associated with a religious or ideological movement, such as a Christmas parade, beauty pageant or political gathering. With the exception of concert tour performances, requestors may be required to fund the Band's expenses for performances outside of the Pikes Peak region.[...]"

USAFA Band Concert
Program and Ticket

(Click images to enlarge)

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MRFF's Inbox

We receive an enormous amount of emails at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, both from our supporters and detractors.  Through "MRFF's Inbox," we share some of these emails with you.


Dear MRFF, 

I've long suspected that there exists a de facto partnership between USAFA and one or more of the large evangelical mega-churches in Colorado Springs, evidenced by the buses and carpools available to take cadets to attend services there as well as outside church involvement in Monday night on-campus religious study programs, etc.  No church is more linked to USAFA and Cadet Wing, though, than the New Life Church, clearly visible to the east from many a USAFA dorm room window and the Falcon Stadium Press Box VIP Suites.  I was surprised, though, to hear that the Academy and NLC held a joint event--a concert by the USAFA Band--within the 2000+ seat "sanctuary" of the New Life Church's main location last night.  The program from the event itself states that the concert was "Presented In Partnership with New Life Church." (see atch [above])

This seems to be in direct violation of the Band's own policies which, from their website state which state: "However, the Band may not participate in events that are commercially sponsored; are designed to increase business traffic or raise charitable donations; or are associated with a religious or ideological movement"

New Life is clearly a religious (and probably ideological) movement.  Why would they hold a concert like this (much less support the band with their extravagant light and sound system) if not at least in part to "increase business traffic" to their church?  While the choice of music played may not have been religious, the setting was--that's inescapable.  That environment makes attending the concert either self-selecting (Christians only desiring to attend) or exclusive ("I'd like to attend, but I don't support the NLC, so I won't go") in the same way that holding a concert or city council meeting on the top of the Manitou Incline might not seem particular inclusive of the mobility impaired or how attendance demographics might be skewed if the same concert were held in a mosque or at a Wicca Hall.

It's particularly troubling because of NLC's history of intolerance against those that don't share their views on LGB rights.  An organization that has actively moved against one of its most heroic members stating she was no longer welcome because of her sexuality, seems an unlikely partner for a government organization that by law and public statement prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual preference.

That the Academy has had a troubled history in this area is clear to everyone.  That they could be so sloppy as to include the NLC emblem on their newspaper ads for the concert is surprising.  That they would use the word "partnership" on the program itself is worrying to say the least.  Wouldn't there be less 'binding' words available that could describe that this is just a convenient large location instead of a full-blown 'partnership?' In summation, it's hard not to at least consider the possibility that the entire event was a well-planned and considered statement of fundamental, mutual endorsement on part of both organizations--an endorsement that, on the part of USAFA, violates Band policy, Air Force Instructions, and the US Constitution that the band members themselves are sworn to uphold. A partnership that for NLC would seem to be very much worth their time and sound system in return for continued cadet, faculty, and staff "foot traffic" and the impression among some in the public that is enjoys USAFA endorsement.

A Concerned Active Duty Air Force Member and MRFF Client


leave Bible on POW table:

"hope and pray you die tonight in pain and abandonment before you burns in hell

BURN IN HELL YOU jew killer of the Lord Jesus"

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