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Freedom’s Finis Flight?

The U.S. Air Force’s “Neutrality” Policy Creates a Religious No-Fly Zone

by Joseph M. Burns

On September 1, 2011, General Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, signed out a memo with new and worrisome instructions for airmen of all ranks—including both uniformed members and Air Force civilians—on “Maintaining Government Neutrality Regarding Religion.”1 This policy is cause for no small concern, especially when compared to the prior Air Force policy (“Revised Interim Guidelines Concerning Free Exercise of Religion in the Air Force”) signed out by the previous Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force on February 9, 2006.2 The new memo inaugurates a significant tightening of religious-freedom boundaries in the Air Force and follows other measures . . .

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Joseph M. Burns retired from the Air Force in 2008 after serving for 27 years. Since then, he has worked as an Air Force civil servant. He is a graduate of Breakpoint's Centurions Program.

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