Focus on the Family: Urge Bush to "restore the right to religious expression in the Air Force"
Yesterday's dispatch from Family News in Focus, Focus on the Family's political news service, was cautiously skeptical of new Air Force guidelines on the exercise of religion. The regulations "could silence Christians," said the headline, but those quoted in the story were somewhat optimistic.
"As I read between the lines here, I see the authors of the document trying in a good faith way to basically state what's been established practice all along," military analyst John Howland told Focus.
An update from Family News in Focus, however, takes off the gloves. While there's no direct quote from a Focus official, all those quoted are critical, and suggest the Air Force went too far.
Most critical is Liberty Counsel president Mat Staver, who calls the guidelines "outrageous."
"To say that you can only have prayer in extraordinary circumstances, I think is hypocritical and certainly not consistent with our founding fathers and George Washington our first general and first president," Staver said. "We are a 'nation under God,' as our Pledge says, and once we forget that, we've forgotten our heritage. And once we do that, we're no longer America."
The latest Focus piece ends with a call to readers: "Please contact President Bush and urge him to restore the right to religious expression in the Air Force."
Also critical of the guidelines is U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., who tells the Jewish newspaper Forward, "My concern is that it just seems like one assault after another on what I think are the Judeo-Christian values of America. I felt that the Air Force defended itself very well. But if they have made significant changes, then I think ...