Yale Divinity Consultants Warned Air Force
Associated Press/AP Online
DENVER - Consultants from Yale Divinity School told the Air Force Academy last summer that a Protestant chaplain had promoted Christianity with a fire-and-brimstone warning during cadet basic training.
The Yale report, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, was compiled after the visitors attended the training at the academy's request in July.
Academy spokesman Johnny Whitaker said Wednesday that commanders had taken the Yale report into consideration when they developed religious tolerance classes that are now mandatory for cadets and staff.
The classes were a response to complaints that evangelical Christians wield so much influence at the school that anti-Semitism and other forms of religious harassment have become pervasive.
"We're making strides out here. We recognize the problem," Whitaker said.
The academy, still emerging from a sexual assault scandal, had asked the Yale team to review how the school's chaplains serve cadets.
Kristen Leslie, a Yale professor of pastoral care who led the group, said the chaplain told 600 cadets "to go back to their tents and tell their fellow cadets that those who are not born again will burn in the fires of hell."
She said the fact that the people speaking to cadets were in positions of power "suggests the cadets were supposed to assume this was the party line."
In the religious tolerance classes, cadets and staff are told that teachers and commanders should not invite cadets to attend their churches. Whitaker said the academy is developing a follow-up program that will include firmer boundaries on permissible behavior.
I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!