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Cadet's Biblical E-Mail to Be Reviewed

June 02, 2005|From Associated Press

DENVER — On the eve of his graduation, the top cadet at the Air Force Academy sent out a religious-themed e-mail to thousands of fellow cadets, even as the school was grappling with complaints that some evangelical Christians were harassing others at the school.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the e-mail sent Tuesday by Wing Cmdr. Nicholas Jurewicz to the freshmen, sophomore and junior classes, which is about 3,000 cadets. "Wing commander" is the title held by the top senior at the school in military ranking.

Jurewicz lists his favorite quotations in the message, including several about Jesus. One quotation, "Bear one another's burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ," is a biblical verse.

The academy has been under investigation because of complaints that evangelical Christians have harassed cadets who do not share their faith, in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.

Cadets have been required to attend religious tolerance seminars, during which they have been reminded that Air Force policy bans the use of official e-mails for personal messages.

"We will look into it and if he violated any Air Force or academy policy we will take appropriate action after we've reviewed it," academy spokesman Johnny Whitaker said.

Reached by telephone, Jurewicz declined to comment. He told the Gazette newspaper of Colorado Springs that he "didn't think" to delete any of the religious messages from the e-mail.

Asked for comment about the academy's religious sensitivity training and a prohibition against citing scripture in government e-mail, he told the paper: "I'll leave that to the senior leadership to explain."

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