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General News    H3'ed 5/15/11

The 'Gamble Report' -- A Defeat for Mikey Weinstein and His Forces of Satan?

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In its latest attempt to give the appearance of concern about complaints of religious intolerance, the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) recently conducted a five-day "investigation" that (big surprise) found that there were no problems at all, save for the occasional minor incident that could always be resolved at the lowest level.

Heading the investigation was retired Air Force General Patrick Gamble, a former Commandant of Cadets at USAFA, and the investigative team included a former USAFA dean and two former USAFA department heads -- certainly no chance that this team would want the Academy to come out smelling like roses, is there?

These were some of the findings in Gamble's report, released on April 15:

"Cadets' acceptance of those with different beliefs is exceptional. USAFA should be recognized for its institutional leadership in this area."

"We found widespread agreement that everyone throughout the chain of command has been given and is giving appropriate guidance with respect to official neutrality, not only among religions, but also between religious and non-religious beliefs."

"Cadets and permanent party expressed a near-uniform belief that they can (and do) make their own choices to participate - or not - in religious activities, without repercussion. Reports of actual pressure to participate were rare and easily resolved by simply expressing that the invitation or speech was unwelcome."

"Cadets are not unduly stressed about possible pressure to join or conform to a religion, and the majority clearly feels empowered to deal with unwanted approaches. Across the board, cadets disavow that any favoritism or retribution would accrue based upon religious or non-religious affiliation."

"Cadets clearly feel that they have the ability to resolve a conflict over religious tolerance and freedom, usually by addressing the issue head-on, by themselves. Alternatively, they have great confidence that their chain-of-command will be able to help them if called upon. The Superintendent was specifically lauded for his leadership in this area several times by faculty, staff, and cadets."

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Chris Rodda is the Senior Research Director for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), and the author of Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History.
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