by Pam Zubeck
Federal Judge Christine M. Arguello ruled today that the Air Force Academy can hold its National Prayer Luncheon Thursday as planned, but the judge admonished the Academy to use more care in the future in who sponsors such religious events, according to a plaintiff in the case, AFA economics professor David Mullin.
Mullin and several unnamed plaintiffs sued the academy after it scheduled the prayer luncheon keynote speaker, Marine 1st Lt. Clebe McClary, who openly champions his Christian faith in military terms. He's said he serves in the "Lord's Army."
Mikey Weinstein, head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said Arguello ruled Mullin and the others had no standing to bring the action, because any perceived injury would be speculative. However, Weinstein said their fear of reprisal for not attending was real.
Weinstein also said the judge suggested there was confusion over who was sponsoring the luncheon, which is being hosted by the chaplains, not the Academy.
The case is the latest skirmish between Weinstein and the Academy, which he's accused of fostering an atmosphere that favors evangelical Christianity.
Even before the judge ruled, the Academy contacted media to make arrangements for their attendance at Thursday's luncheon, should it be allowed to be held.