Two posters that had been displayed for about six years were removed from a display at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia after the Air Force fielded complaints from atheists and feminists. The two posted quoted a 1955 Air Force manual were found objectionable by the National Organization of Women, and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
Led by founder Mikey Weinstein filed an earlier complaint about two of the posters, citing civilians, as well as Air Force enlisted and officer personnel, that found references to “faith” in contradiction to the group’s interpretation of the Constitution. One of the posters read:
“Men cannot live without faith except for brief moments of anarchy or despair,” one poster read. “Faith leads to conviction – and convictions lead to actions. It is only a man of deep convictions, a man of deep faith, who will make the sacrifices needed to save his manhood. … It is obvious that our enemy will attack us at our weakest spot. The hole in our armor is our lack of faith. We need to revive a fighting faith by which we can live, and for which we would be willing even to die.”
The Air Force decided to dismiss Weinstein’s complaint, saying in a statement, that “the display does not endorse, disapprove of, or extend preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.” Soon after Air Combat Command issued its statement, the National Organization for Women joined the atheists and wrote a letter to Air Combat Command on Feb. 9 and called for the posters’ removal.
“What message does that send to young women who currently serve, or want to serve, in the military?” NOW President Terry O’Neill wrote. “What do you say to the women in your command who make the same sacrifices to protect their country as do men? General, there is simply no compromise when it comes to fighting the bigotry of sexism nor the prejudice of religious triumphalism. Women are just as patriotic, just as dedicated and just as worthy of our nation’s trust as their male counterparts.”
A spokesperson for Air Combat Command issued a statement that the “gendered language” used in the display interferes with the military’s messages about personal integrity. The updated display, according to the spokesperson, will reflect diversity and inclusivity in the Air force.
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