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An Air Force decision to create an official flag folding script with no religious references has gone largely unnoticed since its introduction last July. The script replaces a popular but unofficial script that contained biblical references that was removed from the Air Force website because of complaints from atheists.

Army Sgt. Chris Anderson, a member of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF), was one of the individuals who argued that the government was endorsing religion by posting the unofficial script.

"In order to ensure this religious flag-folding ceremony is not portrayed as an official government-sponsored flag-folding ceremony, I ask you to remove it," Anderson wrote to an unspecified government website after the Air Force removed the unofficial script.

MAAF President Jason Torpy told Christianity Today that there are several hundred active members in the organization and that "the Air Force rightfully distanced itself from the unofficial text to ensure that there would be no confusion."

Unofficial folds

Capt. David W. Small, secretary of Air Force public affairs, said the Air Force has not received any official feedback regarding the new script, which he said was developed in response to the widespread belief that the Air Force had authorized the earlier script.

That unofficial script, which Small says can be traced back to an anonymous Air Force chaplain during the 1980s, was read during some flag-folding ceremonies and attributed religious significance to 2 of the 13 folds of the flag.

"The 11th fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," it read. "The 12th ...

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July 2006

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