Officials at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia have decided to remove a question from a 1,200-point checklist for guest accommodations, asking if the room is outfitted with a Bible. The change takes effect in September.
According to base newspaper The Patriot, the Washington, D.C.-based Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers has been pressuring the Air Force to remove all Bibles from guest quarters, saying having them connotes “a special privilege for Christianity.”
The Bibles are donated by The Gideons International. Col. Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said guest quarters on military bases also often include copies of the Koran and the Book of Mormon.
“That is a symptom of the larger problem,” Crews said. “It just seems that the Air Force is caving at every point. Any time there’s a threatened suit, they just take another step back instead of defending the religious liberty of military personnel.”
Air Force Services Agency spokesman Michael Dickerson told The Patriot that though the checklist will be changed in a few months, no promises have been made to remove the Bibles.
“We communicated a legal opinion that there is no requirement (to have Bibles in the rooms),” he said. “The only thing that was communicated to them was that the question would be removed from the checklist. That’s it.”
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