Five faculty members and religious group sue to block prayer luncheon at Air Force Academy
The Associated Press
February 1, 2011
Five Air Force Academy faculty members and a religious watchdog group asked a federal judge on Monday to block the school from sponsoring a National Prayer Luncheon event.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation and the faculty members filed a lawsuit in Denver federal court, saying the event appears to be sponsored and approved by the academy's command structure. The suit says that violates the constitutional requirement for separation of church and state.
Academy spokesman Lt. Col. John Bryan said the event is voluntary and that officials are aware of the lawsuit.
"We will let the legal process take its course and will certainly abide by the ruling issued from the court," he said in a written release.
The lawsuit seeks a preliminary injunction to stop the Feb. 10 event, which is a lunch with retired Marine Lt. Clebe McClary as the speaker. Cadets, faculty and others at the school received invitations to attend.
McClary's website describes him as a motivational and inspirational speaker. It says that for him, the Marine Corps abbreviation "USMC" means "U.S. Marine for Christ," and that now he is "in the service of the Lord's Army."