BENEVOLENT NEUTRALITY AND THE 'IGNORAMUS'S VETO': RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN THE MILITARY
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
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The purpose of this research paper is to determine what policy changes are necessary for the Air Force to better protect religious expression while neither censoring nor establishing a religion in violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The research methodology used here is a problemsolution framework to determine what characteristic of neutrality towards religion the Air Force should adopt that provides the best solution for upholding the protections of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. The papers findings include that strict neutrality, which demands a total separation between church and state, is unworkable and renders religious expression susceptible to violations of the Free Exercise Clause. The paper also finds that benevolent neutrality, a position more accommodating toward religious expression, protects the free exercise of religion without violating the Establishment Clause. The recommendations include having Air Force Instruction AFI 1-1 define religion consistently with AFI 36-2706, adding language to AFI 1-1 that states that religious expression does not inherently cause an adverse impact, and requiring Air Force leaders to avoid the use the their positions for to coerce subordinates, or show preferential treatment in the direction of a particular religion.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Humanities and History
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations