The U.S. Air Force has removed a Bible from an officer’s desk while it carries out an investigation into the propriety of the religious display.
The Scriptures were removed from the desk of Maj. Steve Lewis of the 310th Space Wing in response to a letter sent Wednesday by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which said the holy book’s presence violates Air Force policy and the Constitution’s establishment clause.
Mikey Weinstein, who heads the MRFF, praised the Air Force’s decision to remove the Bible.
“The 310th ‘Space’ Wing is NOT called the 310th ‘Space For My Personal Proselytizing Christian Bible Shrine’ Wing for a damn good reason,” Mr. Weinstein said in a statement.
The Air Force has previously allowed Bibles and other religious texts to be present on workstations. In semi-annual “Religious Freedom Training,” airmen are specifically told the display of religious texts on desks is acceptable.
And a 2007 article in the Air Force Law Review concluded the presence of religious texts on workstations is not only permissible, but legally defensible.
But in his demand letter, Mr. Weinstein pointed to a decision handed down last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces upholding the bad conduct court-martial of a Marine who had Bible verses displayed on her workstation.
He said that decision is “incredibly applicable” to this case and called on Col. Damon Feltman, commander of the 310th Space Wing, to “swiftly, visibly and aggressively” punish Maj. Lewis for publicly displaying his Bible.
• Bradford Richardson can be reached at email@example.com.
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