Vietnam Veterans of America Founder Bobby Muller Speaks Out Against Air Force Academy Speaker
Chris Rodda printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Jan 21, 2011 at 05:18:34 PM EST
The background: The speaker scheduled to appear at the U.S. Air Force Academy's National Prayer Luncheon on February 10 is former Marine Lt. Clebe McClary. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), supported by a number of other organizations, both religious and secular, has demanded that the Academy rescind its invitation to Lt. McClary, and choose a more appropriate and inclusive speaker for this event. Why? Because of McClary's divisive and highly sectarian fundamentalist Christian message. As stated on McClary's website, "Clebe is what he likes to call a complete Marine. To him USMC will always mean U.S. Marine for Christ." Other statements from McClary make it clear that, to him, only born again Christians are "real" Christians. McClary's message not only excludes members of all non-Christian religions, but many Christians as well, making him a completely inappropriate choice for an Air Force Academy event that should be inclusive of members of all faiths.

Former Marine and Vietnam veteran Bobby Muller, the founder of Vietnam Veterans of America, had the following to say about the Air Force Academy's choice of Lt. McClary to speak at the Prayer Luncheon:

As a former Marine lieutenant who, like Lt. Clebe McClary, was severely wounded while leading a mission in Vietnam, I am appalled by my fellow Marine's statement that a "complete" Marine is one who likes to think that U.S.M.C. stands for "U.S. Marine for Christ." I am even more appalled that the United States Air Force Academy has invited someone with such a religiously divisive and sectarian message to speak at its upcoming National Prayer Luncheon, an event that should be inclusive of Airmen of all faiths.

Lt. McClary lost an eye and an arm; I lost the ability to walk. Countless other Marines, of all religions and no religion, have also suffered life-changing and permanent injuries in the service of our country. Lt. McClary dishonorably, not to mention illegally, appears in the uniform of a Marine before both military and civilian audiences, not with the message of "Once a Marine, Always a Marine," but a message of "Once a Marine, now `a member of the Lord's Army.'"

Proselytizing and Christian supremacy have no place in the United States military, and I urge the Air Force Academy to reconsider its choice of Lt. McClary as the speaker for its Prayer Luncheon, and to replace him with a speaker who can deliver a message that is inclusive of members of all faiths.

Bobby Muller

- Advisory Board member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF)
- Founder and President for nine years of Vietnam Veterans of America, the only congressionally chartered veterans organization in the nation for Vietnam veterans
- Nobel Peace Prize (1997), Co-Founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)

The Air Force Academy is, of course, denying that Lt. McClary is anything other than an entirely appropriate and inclusive inspirational speaker. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette:

An academy spokesman, Lt. Col. John Bryan, defended the choice of McClary and said the planned prayer gathering is optional and inclusive of a broad spectrum of religious views.

"Nobody is being forced or coerced to go to this luncheon," Bryan said.

Well, according to a USAF officer on staff at the Air Force Academy, speaking on behalf of himself and about a dozen officers there, Lt. Col. Bryan is lying. The officer who wrote the following to MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein is one of many current and former military personnel who have heard Lt. McClary speak on previous occasions, and can say from first hand experience that this speaker is most certainly not "inclusive of a broad spectrum of religious views," as Lt. Col. Bryan claims.

Subject: Lies, Lies and More Lies

Mr. Weinstein and MRFF, you do not know me but I am one of your clients anyway. I am one of your clients because I and many others here cannot breathe. We cannot breath one word of protest against the "serious committed Christian" bias that exists here at the Air Force Academy everywhere. I have run this e-mail message by another dozen or so officers here at USAFA to make sure that I can speak for them as well. And I can. One word or even one tiny action against "them" and you and your career are labeled as an "outsider." Lt. Gen. Mike Gould says he wants us all to have "fanatical institutional pride" in the Air Force Academy. He tells all of us that. The way it is here, no one understands unless they're here and tuned in enough to be aware of it all. Well, that "fanatical pride" is not considered proper unless it includes the right kind of "fanatical Christianity." What kind is that? Just the kind that is handed out by USMC Lt. McClary. I've heard him speak before and I know what he says and what he does to his audience. It made me sick then and will again when he speaks on Feb. 10 at the Falcon Club here at USAFA. Unless MRFF and your allies stop it from happening. If anyone of us beg to differ we're going to be hurt by the system here which is the people who are the "Christian" Christians. If that happens it's all over. I am also an Air Force Academy graduate and pilot. I am married with kids and my wife and I are Protestants but try to keep it very on the down low because we know we'd be judged poorly for not being "energetic Christians" as my boss likes to say. Like the time my boss asked me if Jesus was in control of my life or if I felt that I was the one in control and then gave me some literature from Focus on the Family as a "gift."

The leadership at the Academy LIES! Especially about you, personally, Mikey, and the MRFF. It has been made very clear to me and many others here by the leadership that you and MRFF are bad for USAFA and America. It is also been made very clear that we are expected to support USAFA by personally attending this "National Prayer Luncheon." I saw in the news that the Academy is trying to downplay this whole mess which the MRFF brought to the public by saying that it's "voluntary" to go to it and that this USMC Lt. is a just "motivational speaker" and that "nobody will be taking names." LIES! My USAFA boss and even his boss left it very clear that if we didn't go to this "patriotic Christian" event we'd be "letting him down." Seriously, "patriotic Christian" event? That says it all. Believe me please MRFF when I say that the names of the absent will very certainly be remembered. Am I going? In a word, hell yes. I have kids and need my job. I have been afraid to say anything to them for a very long time now. I've gotten good at hiding my hatred of it all. I'm used to it now. The feeling I have of being down for not standing up to the "energetic Christians" here is not as bad now as the feeling I would have of having my Air Force career derailed by a bad performance eval. You do not need to tell me what that makes me. I know what that makes me and I'm not proud of it. Thank you MRFF for fighting for those of us who have lost the will to fight. And in doing so lost a lot of our own dignity.

(Name, Rank, USAF Academy Staff position withheld)

In addition to the issues raised above, Lt. McClary also regularly violates Titles 10 and 18 of U.S. Code by appearing at his speaking engagements, both military and civilian, in a Marine uniform, something that, apparently, not a single military attendee at any of his numerous appearances on military bases has informed him is illegal.

Click here for MRFF's letter demanding that the Air Force Academy rescind its invitation to Lt. McClary, as well as the letters written by the other organizations supporting MRFF in its demand -- ACLU of Colorado, Veterans for Common Sense, Americans United, Veterans Today, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, California Council of Churches IMPACT, Colorado Coalition of Reason, United Atheist Front, and The American Muslim.




Display:
I remember watching this guy on the late Jerry Falwell's Ole Time Gospel Hour years ago.  It was a rebroadcast from the early 1980s.  He was giving a speech/sermon about Vietnam veterans.  He claimed that after the film, The Deer Hunter, aired on network television, hundreds of Vietnam veterans who watched the broadcast committed suicide.  It was crazy stuff...

-------------
"I believe in a President whose views on religion are his own private affair" - JFK, Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association
by hardindr on Fri Jan 21, 2011 at 05:58:01 PM EST

Is there a site with a protest petition available?

I am outraged.

by PlacitasRoy on Fri Jan 21, 2011 at 11:34:12 PM EST


I have sent an email to Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) asking him to look into this. Sadly, I don't think that Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) or Representative Bill Shuster (R-PA) will have any interest in pursuing this matter, not because of party affiliation but because of religious affiliation.

by RevRuthUCC on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 05:27:37 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


The Author of Loathing Lincoln Explains Why Some on the Christian Right Loathe Lincoln
One under-reported result of the 2014 elections was the rise of Neo-Confederate politics in the U.S. This included the election of unabashed apologist for......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
A Catholic Theocracy Grows in Florida
Catholic Right pizza mogul Tom Monaghan and his Ave Maria School of Law are back in the news.  Journalist Eleanor Bader has a new......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Mississippi Madness: Group Wants To Designate An Official Religion
A group in Mississippi is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change the state constitution in several ways.The proposal put forth by the......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
I Stand Sunday Part 2
I Stand Sunday took place in Houston, Nov. 2, 2014, motivated by the cities' mayor who subpoenaed sermons from local pastors.  The host church......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
I Stand Sunday Part 2
I Stand Sunday took place in Houston, Nov. 2, 2014, motivated by the city's mayor who subpoenaed sermons from local pastors.  The host church......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Houston's I Stand Sunday
In response to Houston's gay mayor's solicitation of church sermons, on Nov. 2, 2014, Houston Texas will host an I Stand Sunday.  The event,......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Real Religious Liberty is Not Oppression
This is a reposting of an op-ed I recently published at LGBTQ Nation -- FC Real Religious Liberty is not Oppression FREDERICK CLARKSON Senior......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Houston Mayor Ignites Fervor of Religious Right
The best take on Houston Mayor Annise Parker vs. the churches in her city is the story written by Marv Knox in the Baptist......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Four Stories
LGBTQ Nation   In my first bi-weekly column on religious liberty, I discuss how  "Religious liberty is a progressive and liberatory value, over which......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Christian Right Voter Mobilization -- The Season Finale
One of the secrets of the success of the Christian Right over the years has been that opponents have taken the movement with insufficient......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Sins Of Omission: When Religious Right Leaders Speak, The Whole Truth Is Often Left Behind
When an individual doesn't feel like being absolutely truthful, there are a couple of things he or she can do. One is to simply......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Bishop Finn Under Vatican Investigation
Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has long been a symbol of the ongoing institutional intransigence in addressing......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
"The $1-Billion-a-Year [Religious] Right-Wing Conspiracy You Haven't Heard Of"
In honor of the 2014 incarnation of the event known as The Gathering, I've given an interview with Jay Michaelson, writing for the Daily......
By Bruce Wilson (5 comments)
(Un)Fantastic Five: A Remembrance Of Values Voter Summits Past
The Religious Right's annual "Values Voter Summit" (VVS) takes place this weekend. Americans United staffers Simon Brown, Sarah Jones and I will be there.......
By Rob Boston (7 comments)
The Christian Right's Voter Mobilization Strategy for 2014
My latest post at Political Research Associates is about how this weekend's Values Voter Summit fits into the Christian Right's wider electoral strategy for......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)

Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (4 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.