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February 27, 2010 by Lain

Air Force Academy stone circle

Much has been said recently about the stone circle placed at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Tech Sergeant Brandon Longcrier made national news when he helped create the site for Pagan worship at the Academy. As expected, this story caught the attention of Pagan news sites, as well as mainstream media. It seems that nearly everyone has a take on this story, including former U.S. Congressman and self proclaimed “Libertarian” Bob Barr. At first glance, one would believe that the Air Force Academy is quite obviously a model of religious tolerance in spite of the expected backlash. But that’s not where this story starts.

Many will remember that the A.F. Academy has been in the spotlight in the past for proselytizing by both faculty and students. In fact, The New York Times reported that in June 2005;

WASHINGTON, June 22 – An Air Force panel sent to investigate the religious climate at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs found evidence that officers and faculty members periodically used their positions to promote their Christian beliefs and failed to accommodate the religious needs of non-Christian cadets, its leader said Wednesday.

The Times also reported that same year that Lutheran chaplain, Capt. MeLinda S. Morton felt that, due to the evangelical climate at the Academy, she was forced to resign.

WASHINGTON, June 21 – An Air Force Academy chaplain who accused superiors of improperly promoting evangelical Christianity among cadets submitted her resignation from the military on Tuesday, one day before an official task force was to report on the religious climate at the campus, in Colorado Springs.

Given a bit of history, it may be said that allowing a Pagan worship site on campus, high on a hill with no foot path and far out of sight, is nothing more than clever compromise on behalf of campus administration to quell any bad media from the past. But at least it’s a step in the right direction.


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