Matt Renner, of TruthOut.Org, reports: "A scheduled three-day celebration of the US Air Force's 60th anniversary, sponsored in part by evangelical Christian organizations, has prompted a military watchdog group to threaten legal action against the Department of Defense."
This church/state/wall-breaching extravaganza was/is scheduled for this weekend, Memorial Day, by USAF officials at Robins AFB in Georgia.
Renner: "The controversial event, sponsored by Task Force Patriot USA, an evangelical organization, and LifeWay Christian Resources, the publishing house of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), was described by the official publication of the Robins Air Force Base as "an official US Air Force 60th Anniversary event." The paper stated that the religious groups and the United States Air Force "have joined together to create a three-day celebration ..." (Emphasis supplied)
Slated for the Memorial Day weekend, the "Salute To The Troops, Memorial Day Celebration" will take place at Stone Mountain, an Atlanta, Georgia theme park (Ed. Note: There you will find the effigies of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis inscribed in the granite wall which dominates the place. We ALL know what patriots those guys were. Stone Mountain was also the scene of the second founding of the KuKlux Klan in 1915.)
The event is supposed to feature hourly flyovers by Air Force planes and parachute jumps by the US Army's Silver Wings Parachute Jump Team. Scheduled speakers include former SBC President Bobby Welch and US Air Force Major Brian "Jethro" Neal, a B-2 pilot, who will speak during a worship service that was to feature a flyover by a stealth bomber. SBC officials stated that special Bibles for military personnel would be disseminated at the gathering. (Ed. Note: How nice; a little something for everyone.)
Plans for the event prompted a forceful response from watchdog groups. In a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne and Acting Secretary of the Army Peter Geren, the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU), said, "There are legitimate ways to celebrate the Air Force's 60th anniversary and to pay tribute to military personnel who bravely serve the nation, but this three-day religious extravaganza is certainly not one of them." Lynn called the event "a stunning display of the federal government using vast resources to trumpet a religious celebration."
Lynn added, "Military personnel and veterans come from many religious traditions and no religion at all. So it is wholly disingenuous for the organizers of this evangelical Christian gathering to promote it as a salute to all our troops. It is anything but."