We are often discussing stories of religious intolerance and sectarian prejudice on this blog, so it is refreshing to report an act of kindness and tolerance on occasion. Despite opposition from Christian groups, the United States Air Force Academy has established an area for pagans to pray in Colorado called the Falcon Circle. The academy’s senior chaplain, Col. Robert Bruno, insisted that freedom of religion means that cadets should be able to practice their religion — a novel concept to some who later desecrated the religious site.
Ironically, as soon as Christianity took root, some followers proceeded to shake off their own oppression by turning against others, particularly pagans. One of the most famous was Hypatia who a remarkable woman — Neoplatonist philosopher in Roman Egypt and mathematician. She was murdered by a Christian mob after being accused of causing religious turmoil.
The circle cost just $50,000 but some Christian groups are up in arms over the accommodation of another faith. Yet, Col. Bruno was defiant — and right:
“The First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion does not just apply to the mainstream faith groups. It also applies to atheists, secularists, freethinkers and those whose belief systems are usually classified under the umbrella term ‘Earth-centered spirituality,’ . . . A denial of constitutional rights to one threatens the constitutional rights of all.”
My father’s firm, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, built the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel designed by renowned architect Walter Netsch. I grew up with Netsch and his wife Dawn Clark (who later was on my law school faculty when I was a law student) as close family friends and I believe both my Dad and Walter would have been proud of the Air Force for the accommodation extended to all faiths.
Bravo, Col. Bruno, Bravo!
Source: Denver Post as first seen on Reddit.