Air Force chaplains perceive widespread discrimination in assignment, promotion, and career progress, and they do not believe the situation will improve.

"Racial, gender, and religious discrimination exists within the Chaplain Service—now more subtly than overtly," an independent survey concludes. "There is a general lack of confidence and faith in the integrity of the senior leadership."

The study comes in the wake of controversial remarks last year by Brig. Gen. Lorraine Potter, the then-deputy chief of Air Force chaplains, that "African-American chaplains are good pastors and preachers but cannot do staff work."

Potter's successor is Charles Baldwin, a Southern Baptist from Texas, who says he gives "an invitation at every chapel service." Baldwin told an Air Force diversity task force to use the report to recommend changes.

Among the respondents, 97 percent of African Americans, 80 percent of women, and 58 percent of Protestants said they "sensed or directly experienced" discrimination. "Evangelicals appear to continue to lag behind 'mainline' Protestants in promotion," the report notes.

The Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Michael Ryan, said he was "concerned about reported perceptions of race, gender, or religious affiliation discrimination or preferential treatment. We must fix the condition underlying these perceptions."

Related Elsewhere:

See the Web Page for the Air Force's Chaplain Service. also covered the Air Force chaplain survey.

Earlier Christianity Today coverage of claims of discrimination by military chaplains include:

Judge Says Chaplain Can Sue Navy | Evangelicals say Catholics and liturgical Protestants are more likely to be promoted. (August 1, 2001)

More Navy Chaplains Allege Discrimination | "We're not on the same ground as the high church group or the Catholics," say evangelicals. (April 18, 2001)

Evangelicals File Bias Suit Against Navy | Claims made that complaints of religious discrimination have been ignored. (May 22, 2000)

Other Christianity Today articles about religion in the military include:

The Just-Chaplain Theory | The church need not divorce the military to remain a godly counterculture.(July 27, 2000)

Irreconcilable Differences | The church should divorce the military. (March 6, 2000)

Wiccans Practice on U. S. Bases | Court okays pagan ceremonies. (July 12, 1999)

Military Chaplains Win Speech Case | Military personnel can speak against partial-birth abortion (June 6, 1997)

Military Chaplains Sue Over 'Project Life' Ban | Chaplains ordered to "actively avoid" political comment. (December 9, 1999)

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