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Why so much religion at USAFA?

teachandmomteachandmom Registered User Posts: 1,244 Senior Member
I was shocked to just find out how much religion is a part of life at the USAFA. Why? As a government institution, why are my tax dollars supporting this? I thought separation of church and state would be followed in a military academy perhaps more than anywhere else in government. Don't get me wrong, I am Christian, but this still just comes across as wrong on some level in my gut.
I can see having religious people available to lead worship for those who desire, but when I read about retreats, teaching sunday school opportunities, etc, on the website, that just all really blew my mind a bit!
Post edited by teachandmom on

Replies to: Why so much religion at USAFA?

  • 07PETKO07PETKO Registered User Posts: 1,275 Senior Member
    It is the responsibility of the government to provide for the needs of service members. Religious personnel have the right to some form of accommodation whenever possible. In the same way, members also have access to counseling or other services with regards to finances, education, fitness, etc., as these are all areas in which the military can promote wellness, readiness, and professional development. Religious opportunities are not promoted through official channels, and must generally be sought out by those who are interested. Furthermore, programs such as retreats and teaching opportunities are not funded by the DoD, but by private donations set aside for specifically that purpose.

    Therefore, religion at USAFA is only a "part of life" to the extent that you make it. Those who are very religious are free to spend their time pursuing their faith, while others never come closer to religion than seeing the Chapel from afar. Very few of your tax dollars are used to support religious programs, and those that are have a huge impact on the wellbeing of personnel who seek out the opportunities that are available. Any Active Duty member can tell you that Chaplains are far, far more than just religious leaders. They're literally the only people in the Air Force that aren't required to report what they hear, meaning that many military members come to them to talk about a huge spectrum of issues. Of course, the Chaplain corps is even more important in deployed locations.

    I've been very impressed by how professionally religion is handled at the Academy. Trust me when I say that your tax dollars are being well spent. For more info, read into DoD Directive 1300.17, which begins by stating:

    "A basic principle of our nation is free exercise of religion. The Department of Defense places a high value on the rights of members of the Armed Forces to observe the tenets of their respective religions. It is DoD policy that requests for accommodation of religious practices should be approved by commanders when accommodation will not have an adverse impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, standards or discipline."
  • teachandmomteachandmom Registered User Posts: 1,244 Senior Member
    So, Colorado Springs doesn't have churches for cadets to attend on weekends? I know it's a very christian area, so I could see if there aren't any temples, mosques, etc, that could be an issue, but still... I know cadets aren't allowed out much if ever, but I would think attending religious services in town would have to be allowed. It does NOT all have to be facilitated at the academy -
  • GasdocGasdoc Registered User Posts: 652 Member
    Remember, the 4 digs (freshman) and 3 digs (sophomores) do not have cars, and there is no public transportation into the Springs. Generally, on Sunday mornings, they are not going anywhere (~2000 cadets).
  • eagle36eagle36 Registered User Posts: 1,548 Senior Member
    Colorado Springs doesn't have the responsibility of supporting the needs of military members: the Academy does. That's why they offer programs for Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Wicans, Atheists, and really whoever wants anything. The same is true for virtually any military base, be it an academy, somewhere in the US, or overseas
  • 07PETKO07PETKO Registered User Posts: 1,275 Senior Member
    Both Gasdoc and Eagle are right on. You can't put the onus on the local community to provide for the needs of military members. As an example, how much support do you think Thule Air Base receives from those off base?
  • afamom_2011afamom_2011 Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Most universities offer religious services and have clergy members on campus. I happen to work at a university who have chaplains and offer Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim services for those students who are interested.
This discussion has been closed.