The Air Force has removed Bibles from its list of items that are provided in on-base lodging facilities.
The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers filed a complaint when an atheist, stationed at Kadena Airbase in Japan, contacted them to find out why there was a Bible in the Air Force lodging.
The Air Force responded by removing the Bibles from Air Force hotels and from its checklist of items that are provided in approved lodging facilities.
According to a statement released by the National Prayer Caucus, "After receiving a complaint by the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, the Air Force will remove 'Is a Bible provided?' from the checklist that staff at Air Force Inns use when ensuring that rooms comply with lodging standards."
COL Ron Crews, executive director for the Chaplain Alliance expressed his concern over the decision by Air Force officials to remove Bibles from the checklist of items in on-base lodging rooms stating that it is creating a "religion free" zone in the Air Force.
"From General George Washington until today military personnel have taken counsel, received comfort, and been encouraged by biblical texts," said Crews. "These Bibles cost the Air Force nothing, and their presence is legally legitimate; therefore, no reason exists for the Air Force to have retreated in the face of the small anti-religious group that demanded removal of the books."
Air Force Services Agency spokesman Michael Dickerson has reportedly stated that the Air Force has "no requirement to have Bibles in the lodging checklist."
"While there is no requirement to have them, why should there be a requirement to remove them?" COL Crews said. "They are provided free of charge as a service. No airman is required to pick one up or read it. The Bibles are merely there to use if desired. This pending decision is one more example of religious cleansing in the Air Force, and it must stop."
Crews also noted that other faith groups have also provided religious materials, such as the Koran.
An Air Force official said, "After a legal review, the Air Force Services Agency determined that there was no legal reason to have the question on the lodging checklist." Bibles are placed in Air Force Inn rooms by the Gideons, at no cost to the government.