ADL Urges USAFA to Ensure that National Prayer Luncheon is Voluntary and Inclusive

  • January 26, 2011

After learning that the United States Air Force Academy has invited Marine Lieutenant Clebe McClary to speak at its National Prayer Luncheon on February 10, 2011, ADL contacted the Academy to ensure that the event will be inclusive and not mandatory.

Lt. McClary is a Vietnam veteran and motivational speaker. A highly decorated military hero, he has also been quoted as saying some things that suggest that his faith is the only legitimate faith.  A number of organizations have criticized the decision to invite Lt. McClary to keynote the luncheon next month.

Based on the mutual respect of our organizations gained through the hard work of the Cadet Wing Chaplains and professionals at ADL on the Religious Respect Training Program that is being taught to cadets at the Academy, ADL reached out to the Superintendant of the Academy as a concerned “partner.”

ADL expressly asked that steps be taken by the Superintendent to: • ensure that the National Prayer Luncheon is an inclusive and ecumenical event with the active participation of faith leaders from many traditions; • ensure that there be explicit communications to those in the chain of command that attendance at the Luncheon is voluntary; and  • ensure that Lt. McClary understands that he may not proselytize in any way or otherwise cross the bright line that would prohibit him from preaching to those in attendance that his own version of Christianity is the only or preferred way to be a “complete” member of the military.