Air Force Academy Criticism Defeated in Congress

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After a heated debate Monday, members of Congress rejected a Democratic measure condemning the Air Force Academy for allowing religious proselytizing at the school.

The measure led a Republican congressman to accuse Democrats of "denigrating and demonizing Christians" by concluding there was religious intolerance at the school. Democrats demanded that John Hostettler of Indiana be censured for his remarks and he agreed to after about a half-hour's worth of wrangling.

Two Democrats wanted criticism of the academy added to a multi-billion dollar defense bill that includes money for the war in Iraq. The House instead approved a provision requiring an Air Force report to Congress on the steps it was taking to promote religious tolerance.

The Air Force is investigating numerous allegations of inappropriate actions by academy officials, including a professor who required cadets to pray before taking his test.