Is the US Air Force too cozy with religion? Has enough been done to keep religion out of non religious events? Is there an assumption that all Air Force personnel are religious?
Yes, the USAF is too cozy with religion. Not enough (or anything) has been done to keep religion out of non religious military events. There is not an expectation from the USAF that I believe in God but there certainly is the assumption that everyone DOES believe in God.
As a career Airman and atheist, the constant forcing of religion on me by the USAF has been disheartening. The AF says we can believe in whatever God we want (or not at all), then proceeds to force prayer on atheists/freethinkers/agnostics at every opportunity. The AF wouldn’t dream of forcing me to go to church but proceeds to force me to listen to prayer outside of church. From commander’s calls, change of commands, awards functions, graduation dinners, promotion and retirement ceremonies and everything in between, there is always a point where I have to sit/stand there and listen while prayer is integrated into the event. In most instances, attendance at these functions is NOT optional. How is that any different than forcing me to attend church and listen to prayer there? If people want to pray, I say go ahead and pray. Why must it be formally integrated into the official function and in such a way so that everyone does it at the same time in unison, while blatantly disrespecting the nonbelievers around them? People can pray on their own if they want to do so without it being organized into the event. I should not be forced to sit/stand there and listen to it. It’s not as though I can turn off my hearing.
By constantly allowing, encouraging, and expecting formal public prayer at official USAF functions, the military (government) is essentially endorsing religion and is in-turn disrespecting those Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who choose not to believe in God.