Academy spokesman Lt. Col. John Bryan has called to tell us he misspoke: Bryan now says he doesn't know specifically the impetus for Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz's letter, but that the academy fully understands the message it contains.
——- ORIGINAL POST, WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 28, 1:01 P.M. ——-
If you're driving on Woodmen Road east of Lexington Avenue, you might notice a non-traditional billboard.
This one, funded by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, is a reprint of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz's Sept. 1 edict titled, "Maintaining Government Neutrality Regarding Religion."
MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein, an academy grad, issued this statement about the sign, which was motivated by Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould not disseminating the directive to everyone at the academy but rather just to academy leadership.
Today MRFF has paid for a public billboard in Colorado Springs containing the entirety of USAF Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz's Sept. 1, 2011 watershed directive on the imperative of religious neutrality to all USAF members.
MRFF takes this extraordinary action in direct reaction to USAF Academy Superintendent Michael Gould's astonishing refusal to distribute Gen. Schwartz's directive to all Academy personnel under his command. MRFF has twice demanded that Gould so distribute this directive from the Commander of the most powerful air force on planet earth. As a result of Gould's ludicrously transparent and revelatory refusal to distribute the USAF Chief of Staff's religious neutrality directive to all Academy personnel, staff, cadets and government contractors, MRFF's client load at the Academy has shamefully and precipitously skyrocketed from 297 to 341 in just the last 9 days.
Since Gould will not spread this critically important message of religious neutrality generated by his boss, General Schwartz in the Pentagon, MRFF is compelled, yet once again, do Gould's duty for him. With this billboard displaying Gen. Schwartz's desperately needed demand for religious equanimity, MRFF will give voice to the voiceless who suffer from horrendous religious oppression and tyranny everyday under Gould's control at the Constitutionally-challenged U.S. Air Force Academy. Personally, as President and Founder of MRFF, Gould's willful, abject failure to do that which is clearly right here can perhaps best be characterized by the observation that I have never known a more vulgar expression of betrayal and deceit.
But academy spokesman Lt. Col. John Bryan says Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Richard Clark gave copies of Schwartz's letter to his air officer commandings (AOCs) and squadron leaders to disseminate to cadets on Monday.
"Gen. Clark's approach was similar to Gen. Gould's a few weeks ago, when he held his weekly staff meeting w/his senior commanders and directors, passed out some copies of the CSAF memo and discussed its message with those senior USAFA commanders and directors—directing them to ensure this message got out to permanent party, staff and cadets, here," Bryan writes in an e-mail. "It's what we call the Chain of Command and how we communicate quite often."
In an interview, Bryan says, "I don't know why it's such an issue. Has every cadet seen this? Probably not. Has ever permanent party [faculty and staff] seen this? Probably not. That memo wasn't written for the academy." He says it was aimed at an Air Force missile training program in which Biblical references were used.
"[Gould] trusts his commanders to get the word out," Bryan says, stressing that, "From the times these cadets hit basic training, they get religious respect training."