Back in 2004, then-Falcons coach Fisher DeBerry was officially reprimanded for hanging a banner in the football team's locker room that said, "I am a member of Team Jesus Christ."
The action came amid allegations from Mikey Weinstein that the Air Force Academy favored Christianity and triggered the academy's vow to instruct cadets in religious sensitivity while balancing their right to freedom of expression with the prohibition of government establishment of religion contained in the U.S. Constitution.
Now, 12 years later, Weinstein's Military Religious Freedom Foundation is strenuously objecting to the Falcon's tight end coach Steed Lobotzke's tweets that involve promoting Christianity.
The tweets were sent on the Twitter account that
identifies him as being with the academy's football program.
Most tweets are academy football related and include team and academy photos. But he also uses the account to evangelize, citing Bible verses.
As an official with MRFF notes in an email to the Independent
, "There is no disclaimer on his Twitter page saying that these are his own views and not the views of the Air Force Academy. In checking most of the other USAFA Football coaches twitter accounts, we did not find any evidence of them using their official accounts to promote their personal religion."
Find some examples here
Weinstein says via email:
Twelve-plus years ago, Air Force Academy Head Football Coach Fischer DeBerry proudly and boldly displayed a large banner across the main locker room of the football team which stated 'We Are All Members of Team Jesus Christ. We Are First and Last Christians.’ At least THAT unconstitutional horror of fundamentalist Christian tyranny occurred before the advent of social media. He intentionally and unlawfully marked that place for Jesus, just as a dog marks a tree, despoiling with reckless abandon the Constitution along the way.
Today, the Air Force Academy senior leadership clearly shows that unchecked Christian extremism is worse than ever at the Academy, especially on its football team, with the shocking discovery of what the football team's Tight Ends Coach, Steed Lobotzke, a 1992 USAFA grad, has been doing with his official USAFA football twitter account. Lobotzke’s official twitter feed is filled with illicit proselytizing in the name of Jesus Christ and even includes such biblical citations juxtaposed with pictures of official football team meetings. Unconstitutional filth, thy name be Steed Lobotzke.
MRFF is representing 5 members of the Academy’s Athletic Department and 3 members of its 'Fighting Falcon' football team as complainants who have come forward on this latest disgrace to the Constitution of unlawful, fundamentalist Christian supremacy. MRFF legal counsel plan to file an official Inspector General Complaint with the DoD/IG on Monday as MRFF’s experience with the Academy’s own IG and the Air Force IG at the Pentagon on the Air Staff has proved both organizations to be less than worthless in protecting the precious freedoms guaranteed by the separation of Church and State in our nation's Constitution.
We've asked the academy to comment on the coach's tweets and will circle back when we hear from the school.
The issue arises in the wake of two other issues at the academy involving Christianity. We wrote about these here