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Thu Aug 2, 2012, 06:57 AM

Good Riddance to the Air Force's Religious Intolerance Enabler in Chief

In his last agonizing days, the now-disgraced former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno lamented publicly, "I wish I had done more." Indeed, we all wish he had. As we've now come to learn, the debacle of pedophilia revealed at Penn State would not have occurred if not for the clear complicity of coach Joe Paterno, who helped to orchestrate a careful cover-up of Jerry Sandusky's reprehensible pattern of serial sexual molestation. Paterno's concealment of Sandusky's vile misdeeds ruined his own legacy as coach and forever stained the reputation of Penn State's athletics program.

A similar drama has played out within the ranks of the United States Air Force (USAF). Rather than the odious offense of covering up sexual abuse, we have seen the vast coverup of an unlawful epidemic whereby many thousands of men and women within the ranks of the USAF have been subject to serial religious abuse and molestation. The national security repercussions of this ongoing crisis are all too dire, and as was the case at Penn State, the responsibility for this scandal ultimately lies with the most senior leadership.

On August 10, 2012, the current chief of staff (the commander) of the USAF, General Norton A. "Norty" Schwartz, will saunter off into a plush and comfortable retirement. Schwartz has spent 39 years on active duty, with the last four of these years being spent as the singular leader in charge of the USAF. I know this man well, and he knows me well too - all too well. We first met in his lavish Pentagon office nearly three and a half years ago. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the civil rights activism of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the organization that I founded in 2005. Then, as now, MRFF had been in a state of perpetual conflict not only with the USAF, but the whole of the Department of Defense (DoD), regarding the out-of-control, command-influenced proselytizing by fundamentalist Christians throughout the ranks of our armed forces. In fact, the initial meeting between Schwartz and myself was covered in an article by New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Eric Lichtblau in late February of 2009. Norty said some things in that meeting that gave me some hope that maybe (just maybe) we had finally found a senior Pentagon military official who would stand up to this tidal wave of predatory religious bigotry. The most important advice he gave me was to never lose my "vitriol" lest the Pentagon stop listening to MRFF's constitutional civil rights battle Well, Norty, this op-ed is a testament to how seriously I took your counsel. In careful retrospect, it is likely the only truth you have ever spoken to me.

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/10636-good-riddance-to-the-air-forces-religious-intolerance-enabler-in-chief

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Reply Good Riddance to the Air Force's Religious Intolerance Enabler in Chief (Original post)
SecularMotion Aug 2012 OP
barbtries Aug 2012 #1
Ilsa Aug 2012 #2
tsuki Aug 2012 #3
longship Aug 2012 #4
cbayer Aug 2012 #5
SecularMotion Aug 2012 #6
cbayer Aug 2012 #7

Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:27 AM

1. highly recommended

worth the read plus full of links to educate you if you haven't been familiar with the issue previously.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:52 AM

2. K&R. I knew Weinstein was the author. Schwartz has

shown us the face of cowardice, and I don't say that lightly of someone who has served in the military, especially after what so many in my family have given in service. Schwartz was supposed to be a leader, and he abdicated his responsibilities of protecting the religious minorities under his command to keep his pay intact and not make waves. I hope he withers away in retirement.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:56 AM

3. kick

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:14 AM

4. A big R&K for Mikey Weinstein

He is the real deal.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:53 AM

5. While this is an important story and needs to be told, comparing these events

to the Sandusky/Penn State situation is pretty alarming.

Agressive sexual abuse of children vs. religious bigotry towards adults?

He could have made a strong and convincing story without making this comparison.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #5)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:06 AM

6. He's not comparing the abuses, he's comparing the cover-up by leadership.

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Response to SecularMotion (Reply #6)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:07 AM

7. I understand what he is doing and I still find the comparison really objectionable.

He should have left it out. He's got a great story there and just didn't need it.

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