A former Navy chaplain who fights to defend religious freedom says it’s an outrage that Air Force officials appear ready to remove a requirement for Bibles to be placed in on-base lodging rooms.
The Warner Robins Patriot, a Georgia newspaper, recently reported that officials with Air Force Services Operations have apparently agreed in principle to remove the requirement that Bibles be placed in base lodging by the Gideons. That report — although disputed somewhat by an Air Force spokesman — comes following protests from a group called the “Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers.”
MAAF claimed that the placement of Bibles in on-base rooms was a “special privilege for Christianity,” and an Air Force agency said that a legal review showed “no requirement to have Bibles in the lodging checklist.” The atheist group — which says it had been contacted by a “cockpit atheist” in Kadena Airbase in Japan — had complained that the accreditation checklist specifying the exact contents of a room included a Bible.
An Air Force official describes that list as “an extensive, 1,200-item checklist” used by innkeepers “to insure standards are being met and maintained.” The reference in the checklist is in the form of a question: “Is a Bible provided?”
Dr. Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain who runs The Pray In Jesus Name Project, says this is just another example of the military bowing to the demands of atheist complainers who oppose religious freedom.
“The Air Force is apparently complicit to this. I don’t know if they’re removing the Bibles, but at least they’re removing [them] from the checklists, [the result being that] whoever cleans the rooms is no longer required to check whether the Bible is in place,” explains the former chaplain.
Klingenschmitt laments the possible fallout. “So if somebody steals one of those Bibles or if they’re confiscated by atheist complainers or put in the trash, then sadly Christian people will not have access to read the Bible at night,” he observes.
An official says the Air Force has not directed the removal of Bibles themselves from Air Force Inns, although a revised checklist will take effect beginning on October 1. He says they will continue to review the situation.
This article was written by Chad Groenig and originally appeared at One News Now —