Monday, October 17, 2011

From the Archive: Infiltration of the Chaplaincy

From May 13, 2005 Washington Post:

DENVER, May 12 -- An Air Force chaplain who complained that evangelical Christians were trying to "subvert the system" by winning converts among cadets at the Air Force Academy was removed from administrative duties last week, just as the Pentagon began an in-depth study of alleged religious intolerance among cadets and commanders at the school.

"They fired me," said Capt. MeLinda Morton, a Lutheran minister who was removed as executive officer of the chaplain unit on May 4. "They said I should be angry about these outside groups who reported on the strident evangelicalism at the academy. The problem is, I agreed with those reports."

I did a bit of googling on Chaplain Morton at the time.  Turns out she had a paper trail.  Read the abstract of her paper submitted to the 30th Annual Conference of the Association for Moral Education (reproduced below) last year.

II. “Corruptive Interpretations of Institutional Culture Change; the Moral Consequences of Pervasive Christian Fundamentalism.”

Authors: Christopher J. Luedtke, United States Air Force Academy

Chaplain MeLinda Morton, United States Air Force Academy

Abstract: Religious belief systems and practices comprise morally forceful elements within a determinative cultural nexus. Nominally secular institutions, seeking to change institutional culture, must address the attendant power dynamic and articulated moral focus apparent within constitutive religious milieu. This paper examines contemporary articulations of American Christian Fundamentalism in an attempt to determine the potential change response of a cultural nexus inclusive of leaders and members espousing the moral grounding and religious perspective of Christian Fundamentalists. Particular to this consideration is the Fundamentalist moral response to gender integration within contemporary, federally funded, military undergraduate educational institutions.

But who is Chris Luedtke?  An instructor at USAFA sent me this tidbit:

Several Christian teachers here used to take out a "Christmas Card" ad in a December issue of the base paper.  We'd put in something along the lines of  "We believe Jesus is the reason for the season.  If you'd like to know more, feel free to contact one of us."

Suddenly this Luedtke guy started showing up at the CLM meetings (Christian Leadership Ministries) and told us he was just there "to monitor."  Along with him came the new chaplain, Whittaker I think his name was.  They ended up harassing us out of running the ad anymore.  They did their part to stop "Pervasive Christian Fundamentalism."

He’s still in, by the way.

Delenda Est Carthago:  connecting the dots since 2004.


Anonymous said...

Obviously, the biggest threat faced by the United States is a lack of diversity and hostile evangelical Christians.

"…Nominally secular institutions, seeking to change institutional culture, must address the attendant power dynamic and articulated moral focus apparent within constitutive religious milieu…"

Is that style of writing a requirement for academic dissertations? Did you need to write pages of similar text on your way to becoming Dr. Φ?

Dr. Φ said...

Well . . . I'd like to think that I don't write like that, but I will admit that reading peer-reviewed journal articles was the most painful part of the journey towards PhD-hood.

As for this article, I can think of a couple of reasons why it might be written so incomprehensibly:

1. Maintain plausible deniability,
2. Signaling oneself as a member-in-good-standing of the academic left.

There may be other reasons. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

"Evangelical" is code for "they don't hire women pastors".

Anonymous said...

The female chaplain is missing two important points:
1. There is a strong likelihood that cadets enter the academy with their evangelical perspective, not are converted at teh academy.
2. The role of the chaplaincy is supposed to be to provide qualified religious counseling and education to service members, some of whome happen to be evangelical. Just as the number of liberal Lutheran "pastors" is based on the percentage of service members who go for that sort of thing, the evangelicals have every bit as much right to expect similar representation, Christian counseling and education WRT their own religious affiliations. At least that reasoning was good enough for the Wiccans, Athieists, and Mohammadans.

Dr. Φ said...

Prof Hale: I have long observed that on the admittedly infrequent occasions that I have sat through a homily by a female pastor, the subject has always been . . . the importance of female pastors.

And, yeah, the rule is that "diversity" is always for the benefit of non-whites, non-Christians, non-males.