Air Force Doesn't Favor Religious Groups

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A Pentagon spokesman just confirmed for citydesk that the God and Country Festival in Nampa was denied a military flyover last week.

"In the case of the God and Country Festival, the determination was made that flyover support would not be in accordance with Air Force and DoD policy which prohibits support for events which appear to endorse, selectively benefit, or favor any special interest or religious organization, regardless of the event date," said Capt. Tom Wenz at the Pentagon's Air Force Press Desk in a statement to BW.

God and Country organizers are laying blame on the Obama administration, but Wenz asserted that Department of Defense regulations govern military flyovers and than none of those policies have changed.

"In their previous applications the organizers described the event as a 'patriotic tribute,'" Wenz said. But this year's application had religious connotations and further investigation (a brief peek at their Web site?!) revealed the mission as clearly religious in nature.

“Supporting this event would be a clear violation of the DOD policy,” Wenz said.

Below is Wenz's full statement:

The guidelines applied by the Air Force that govern the approval process for aircraft flyovers are stipulated by Department of Defense regulations. These guidelines are not the result of new policies directed by any other agency or government office.

Each aviation request received is evaluated and considered on its own merits. In the case of the God and Country Festival, the determination was made that flyover support would not be in accordance with Air Force and DoD policy which prohibits support for events which appear to endorse, selectively benefit, or favor any special interest or religious organization, regardless of the event date.

Several other similar events were determined ineligible this year for the same reasons as the God and Country Festival. The Air Force carefully scrutinizes the purpose and overall missions of those organizations
interested in receiving aviation support. Each request is reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine if it's in the best interest of the Air Force to support and meets all applicable guidelines set forth in both DoD and AF policy.

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