Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A Gag Order

My pastor talked about different approaches to witnessing yesterday. He singled out those in the tradition of placing gospel tracks on urinals as conflating good motives with bad means. I wondered: is this only a habit of men? Are there tracks in the stalls of the ladies' room, too?

I've been watching with interest what is going on at the Air Force Academy. They have yet to fully recover from a rape scandal of a couple of years ago, and now the leadership is facing another fracas. This time the problem is overt expressions of Christianity. A few months ago a survey revealed that non-Christian cadets felt pressured by the Christian cadets and faculty. Examples of this oppression were the faculty's advertisement in the newspaper citing Jesus Christ as the only answer for the world's problems, and the football coach's banner in the locker-room that touted "I am a member of Team Jesus Christ."

I find the witnessing techniques of these cadets and staff only slightly better than the urinal style. But my heart goes out to them, for they have stepped in it now. The Academy leadership, under pressure from the "tolerance" brigade and in the name of "ending religious discrimination" is taking steps to muzzle public displays of religious expression. Both the long-running ad in the paper and the banner in the locker room are gone. The order of the day is more "religious tolerance" training.

My fear in all this is that the leadership of the military will go too far and make a policy that classifies evangelism as a form of religious discrimination. This grim possibility may already be surfacing at the highest levels in the military as evidenced in these remarks on the situation from the Secretary of the Air Force, "Our policy is clear. Tolerance of gender, racial, ethnic and religious diversity is required at our Air Force." I fail to see how religious diversity has been threatened by the cadets and faculty's actions.

Ironic, isn't it, that religious expression can be gagged in the name of religious tolerance?

No comments: