.- In light of recent allegations of religious insensitivity against non-Christians, the Air Force Academy announced Tuesday, the implementation of a new task force to investigate the charges. Barry Lynn, executive director for Americans United for Separation for Church and State, who held an independent investigation recently said, "There is a clear preference for Christianity at the academy, so that everyone else feels like a second-class citizen."
Following a letter sent to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld urging an immediate and thorough investigation of a reported 55 incidents of religious intolerance in four years, the school has now implemented a mandatory âsensitivity trainingâ course for all students, faculty and staff.
Although the problem is centered around the predominant Evangelical Christian population at the school, Catholic groups are also feeling the increased scrutiny.
Approximately 90% of cadets at the Academy are Christian as are many teachers and staff members.
Tuesdayâs announcement of the task force was made by Acting Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable Michael L. Dominguez, who said that the group will look into the schoolâs religious respect and tolerance policies and whether the âpractices of the USAFA chain of command that either enhance or detract from a climate that respects both the âfree exercise of religionâ and the âestablishment clausesâ of the First Amendment.
A spokesman for the Academy, Lt. Col. Laurent Fox, said that, "Should the team turn up any additional issues or problems during their visit we will take immediate action to address them."
The Air Force said that the task force would be lead by Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady and is expected to give a preliminary report in May 23rd.