Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Air Force Academy Sued Over Prayer Speaker

The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs is being sued for its decision to invite a controversial conservative speaker to a voluntary prayer event.

The Academy, which has taken criticism in recent years for forcing religious beliefs on students, invited Marine 1st Lt. Clebe McClary--a nationally-known motivational speaker--to speak at a voluntary National Prayer Luncheon scheduled for Feb. 10.

The academy's decision to host McClary, whose website declares "U.C.M.C. will always mean a U.S. Marine for Christ," has drawn harsh criticism from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and activist that has long been a thorn in the side of the Academy's leadership.

In January, the group called for Superintendent Mike Gould's resignation.

Now, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation--along with 5 Air Force faculty members--is suing to stop the prayer luncheon, calling it "a blatant violation of the plaintiffs' Constitutional rights as guaranteed by the First Amendment."

The formal complaint (PDF) alleges that hosting a speaker as outspoken McClary is "a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution."

The complaint notes that "the invitation [to the the luncheon] describes keynote speaker Lt. McClary only as an "Inspirational Speaker/Author and Highly Decorated Vietnam War Veteran," with no mention that he is a fundamentalist Christian speaker.

READ MORE at Huffington Post

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