Bill Donohue at the Catholic League has just issued a press release on a situation brewing at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
On February 10, the USAFA will hold a National Prayer Luncheon. Lt. Gen. Michael C. Gould, the superintendent, invited Marine 1st Lt. Clebe McClary to speak. McClary is a decorated Vietnam War veteran and well-known speaker. He joined the Marines after watching protesters burn an American flag. McClary went to Vietnam and was badly wounded in hand-to-hand combat.
Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, demanded Lt. Gen. Gould rescind the invitation to McClary, objecting to McClary’s “non-inclusive religious ‘message’ of fundamentalist Christian triumphalism, exceptionalism, and supremacy.”
McClary has remained on the program, and now Weinstein demands that Gould be fired.
Here is Donohue’s statement:
In 2005, a report was released on the state of religious liberty at the USAFA; it concluded that there was no “overt religious discrimination.” But this didn’t stop Mikey Weinstein from alleging that evangelical Protestants were given preferential treatment. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State took Weinstein’s side.
After reading the report, I wrote that it was telling that “not one Roman Catholic complained” about religious discrimination. Catholics, who are 30 percent of the student body, might feel the pinch of “heavy-handed proselytizing efforts,” I said, yet there were no complaints. In other words, this was a drummed-up effort to malign evangelicals.
This is what is going on again. Marine 1st Lt. McClary is an American hero who takes his religion seriously. No one is required to attend the luncheon, and no cadet is going to be stigmatized who doesn’t agree with him. Weinstein knows this to be true, but his agenda is driving him to demonize McClary. Now he wants Gould fired. The Catholic League is proud to stand by both men. What’s at stake is religious liberty.
Donohue knows better than anyone: If we Catholics do not stand up for our evangelical brethren, the next group to be driven from the public square will be us.