A U.S. Air Force unit has cleared an officer of violating the U.S. Constitution and allowed him to retain a Bible displayed at his work station.
Air Force Maj. Steve Lewis stationed at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado can bring back the Bible that was ordered removed from his desk after an investigation following a complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF).
The Bible has been on Lewis' workstation for years. The atheist group claimed this was in violation of Air Force rules and the Establishment Clause.
Lt. Col. Davic Fruck, public affairs chief of 310tth Space Wing, told The Colorado Springs Independent that Lewis did not violate any law.
"As pledged, we have reviewed the situation there. We have concluded that no abuse of liberties has occurred, and Maj. Lewis's behavior and the workplace environment at the RNSSI are well within the provisions of Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Standards, paragraphs 2.11 and 2.12, 'Free Exercise of Religion and Religious Accommodation' and 'Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause,'" he explained.
The decision, he said, "allows him to have a Bible on his desk."
This infuriated the MRFF, which immediately filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Peterson Air Force Base to get "all records relating to any investigation into Major Steve Lewis's practice of keeping an open, highlighted Bible on his desk, including but not limited to correspondence (including emails); meeting minutes, notes, and/or agendas; policies, regulations, and/or procedures; research; complaints regarding Major Lewis's placement of the Bible; and all records concerning any action taken in response to such complaints."
MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein said the investigation was "a sham and a travesty" as it was led by Col. Lisa Johnson, the commander of the Reserve National Security Space Institute where Lewis is stationed.
"This is a quintessential example of a disgusting conflict of interest," he said, vowing that they will request the Department of Defense Inspector General's Office to have a separate investigation.
"We can't find a single instance where the Air Force enforces Air Force Instruction 1-1," he said.