CNN Finds Air Force Academy's Pagans 'Today's Most Intriguing,' NBC Notes 'Desecration Incident'

On Sunday, I noted the U.S. Air Force Academy was making a public space for pagan worship, and wondered if the media would notice. Fox’s Special Report noted it on Monday, quoting a Catholic priest who disapproved. CNN and NBC noticed it briefly on Wednesday. CNN’s Rick Sanchez found its promoter "Today’s most intriguing" person. NBC’s Brian Williams relayed there had already been a "desecration incident."

To consult the dictionary, NBC was saying someone "violated the sacred character" of an object or place. What if the viewer at home doesn’t consider a pagan circle to be "sacred"? Here’s the entirety of the Williams brief on Nightly News:

The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs has now set aside a new outdoor worship area for followers of earth-centered religions. That includes pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans. It's a double circle of stones on a hilltop. One of the chaplains there, a lieutenant colonel, calls it, quote, "Another example of celebrating the freedom we enjoy as well as the freedom we, as airmen, have pledged to defend." There has been one desecration incident since its opening, and officials are repeating that message of tolerance on campus.

Sanchez suggested paganism is somehow a brand new idea during his show Rick's List:

Is there a new religion out there that most of us haven't heard of? Time for today's most intriguing.

He runs the Air Force Academy's astronautics labs in Colorado Springs. He also helped turn this double circle of stones into an outdoor chapel for Druids, Wiccans, and followers of other earth- centered religions. He calls it a freedom ring.

Our most intriguing person of the day is Tech Sergeant Brandon Longcrier, who says about half-a-dozen academy cadets are now devout believers, and many more are catching on. Longcrier describes himself as a pagan. This is him use white sage to consecrate the circle during the winter solstice. Tech Sergeant Brandon Longcrier, intriguing? To say the very least.

Here’s the brief item from Special Report anchor Bret Baier:

The U.S. Air Force Academy is in the final stages of planning a worship area for followers of earth-centered religions, including Wicca and Druidism near its landmark chapel. The organizer of the "Stone Circle" says there has been no resistance at the academy.

But one Catholic priest calls the decision "politically correct cowardice by bumbling bureaucrats, adding quote "Behind the smoke and mirrors of the supposed high demand for earth worship prayer circles is a small group of activist atheists in America who seek first to water down and then to abolish the name and face of go from the public square."

The academy chaplain says every service member is charged with defending freedom for all Americans, and that includes freedom to practice our religion of choice. The academy also has worship areas for Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis