Air Force Academy Foes Lose Lawsuit

by Candace de Russy

A federal judge recently upheld the right of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) to hold a prayer luncheon. The Catholic League joined the fray, praising Lt. Gen. Michael C. Gould, superintendent of the USAFA, for backing the selection of First Lt. Clebe McClary as the guest speaker at the luncheon.

Some tried to silence McClary, a national hero, because he is a committed evangelical, as well as to oust Gould. The League’s William Donohoe writes:

What was most striking about the lawsuit, brought by a long-time enemy of the USAFA, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and an economics professor, David Mullin, was that it was all based on a hypothetical scenario: U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello ruled that Mullin did not have standing to sue because “he has not met his burden that he will actually or imminently suffer the injury he fears.”

The judge got it right:

Not only was the event voluntary, Mullin testified that he never suffered retribution when he decided not to go to previous prayer luncheons … [He also] acknowledged “he couldn’t say with certainty that he would face retribution for not attending.”

Which is to say, concludes Donohoe,

this entire lawsuit was an exercise in demagoguery: unsupported claims of reprisal were made by those who sought to censor the religious speech of a person they dislike. It is too bad they weren’t fined by the judge for bringing a frivolous lawsuit. The usual enemies of religious freedom, such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State, have been at war with the USAFA for years. Their immediate enemy is evangelicals, but their real enemy is the public expression of any religion. 

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