9.09.2005

How Can an Allegation Be 'Unsubstantiated' If the Accused Regrets Doing It?!?

Air Force Clears General Accused of Proselytizing at Academy

from Religion News Service

The Air Force has cleared a brigadier general accused of violating the Constitution by proselytizing non-Christian cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The military service determined that the allegation against Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida, the commandant of cadets at the academy, "was not substantiated," said Jennifer Stephens, an Air Force spokeswoman, in a Wednesday statement. The Air Force Inspector General's office investigated whether Weida violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause by "using a religious communicative code to facilitate the proselytizing of non-Christian cadets."

Weida, an evangelical Christian, was investigated for his outspoken promotion of faith and had been criticized for promoting the National Day of Prayer in an e-mail message.

"Gen. Weida has readily acknowledged that his actions were inappropriate and has taken positive, visible corrective actions that reflect his true character," Stephens said. "Since the incident in question, Gen. Weida has also been a key leader in terms of strengthening and improving religious accommodation policies for cadets of all religions, along with those who claim no religion," at the academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

On Aug. 29, the Air Force service issued new interim guidelines urging its military members and civilian employees to protect the free exercise of religion. Those guidelines were called for in a June report that investigated the religious climate at the academy.

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