Secularists demand Air Force punish colonel who expressed Christian beliefs

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By Bradford Richardson

A group advocating the separation of church and state is demanding the Air Force rebuke a commander who expressed his Christian beliefs in an interview.

In a “Meet your leadership” question-and-answer session with the 39th Air Base Wing’s public affairs office, Lt. Col. Michael Kirsten answers a question about his greatest influences by talking about Jesus Christ.

“As a Christian, my example is to be like Christ,” Col. Kersten says in the Sept. 15 interview. “He is my guide and affects all of my decisions. He teaches to do all things as unto the Lord and I believe this is synonymous with integrity first and excellence in all we do.”

The interview quickly drew the ire of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which sent a demand letter Thursday to Col. John C. Walker, commander of the 39th Air Base Wing at Incirlik Air Base in Adana, Turkey.

The missive demands the Air Force apologize for the expression of faith, rebuke the statement, punish Col. Kersten and take measures to ensure an atmosphere of inclusion and diversity is upheld on the base.

Mikey Weinstein, who heads the MRFF, said his group represents more than 100 Incirlik Air Base personnel and a number of Turkish soldiers who took issue with the declaration of Christian faith.

Source: WashingtonTimes.com