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Anti-discrimination leads to new discrimination.

Denver -- Responding to accusations of proselytizing by Evangelical Christians at its academy in Colorado Springs, the U.S. Air Force has issued guidelines that say prayers no longer belong at most official events. The guidelines apply to all officers, enlisted personnel, and civilian employees throughout the Force, not just to those at the Academy. The guidelines also say that "public prayer should not usually be included" in official meetings, classes or sporting events, although "a brief nonsectarian prayer" may be recited in ceremonies of special importance.

Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff, a retired Navy chaplain, was hired in June to help develop the guidelines after cadets alleged that evangelical Christians had tried to impose their faith on other cadets (Washington Post, Aug. 30, 2005).

A bipartisan group of Congressmen have sent a letter to President Bush as Commander in Chief asking him to "protect by Executive Order the constitutional right of military chaplains to pray according to their faith." In their letter, they refer to the ban on all but non-sectarian prayers as a "euphemism declaring that prayers will be acceptable so long as they censor Christian beliefs" (Nat. Cath. Reg., Nov. 20, 2005).

Meanwhile 160,000 people from across the United States have signed on to a petition urging President Bush to protect the constitutional rights of Air Force chaplains.

The American Centre for Law and Justice (ACLJ) provided the Air Force with a legal analysis of the guidelines. It concluded that all military chaplains have the right to pray according to their faith. They recommended that the Air Force abide by legal precedent, which supports the constitutional right to "faith-specific" prayer for military chaplains (, Dec. 22, 2005).

Canadians are aware that, in this country, attempts have been made under the Liberal governments of Prime Ministers Chretien and Martin, to forbid chaplains to pray according to their faith.

It is not clear how rigidly this practice is enforced. On the last Armistice Day, November 11, 2005, in Ottawa, Chaplain Major Bourque said the prayers and gave a homily.
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Title Annotation:United States; US Air Force Academy stops prayer at public events
Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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