AF Colonel Accused Of Imposing Religion

February 10, 2009

Author: Geoff Ziezulewicz

Source: Stars and Stripes

An Air Force colonel is being criticized for improperly referring airmen under her command to a far-right religious Web site.

Col. Kimberly K. Toney sent a e-mail Jan. 16 to the 501st Combat Support Wing inviting airmen to enjoy a linked video highlighting an inspirational individual on, a Roman Catholic Web site.

The video featured Nick Vujicic, a 25-year-old who was born without arms or legs. According to the video’s introduction, Vujicic finds his "greatest joy in this life is to introduce Jesus to those he meets and tell them of his (Jesus’) great desire to get to know them personally by allowing him to become their Lord and Savior."

Air Force Master Sgt. Jeffrey L. Thompson, a member of the 501st, sent a letter to Toney that complained she had inappropriately advanced her faith in an official capacity.

"My own impression of your e-mail was an organizational endorsement of Christian faith, because the e-mail, article and video compelled us to witness an exercise in religious-specific faith that I felt was in conflict with DOD neutrality on religion," Thompson said in his letter.

Thompson, who says in the letter that he is a Roman Catholic, had no further comment Monday.

No formal complaint had been lodged in connection to Toney’s e-mail as of Monday, U.S. Air Forces in Europe spokesman Senior Master Sgt. Stefan Alford said. Thompson states in his letter to Toney that he intends to file an official complaint.