Retired General Responds to the “Christian Fighter Pilot” Maligning Pilot Diagnosed with ALS

Air Force Lt Col Jonathan Dowty, AKA the “Christian Fighter Pilot”

By Marty France
Brigadier General, USAF (Retired)
MRFF Advisory Board Member

(For background, please read post by Chris Rodda, “The ‘Christian Fighter Pilot’ Sinks to New Low — Maligns Pilot with ALS for Not Being Christian”)

I just read the article about Major Cole Holloway and his resilient confrontation with the terrible disease of ALS. He’s an inspiration to all of us, reminding everyone that we should live every day to the fullest, as he is, since we never know when we may have to face our own physical and moral challenges. All of our lives are terminal, after all.

In contrast, before reading Cole’s story, I read the horrible, nauseating article by the self-styled “Christian Fighter Pilot,” Lt Col Jonathan Dowty. It made me sick and depressed. Dowty doesn’t say if he knows Cole personally, but he does attack, judge, and condemn him based, apparently, on a simple article written by an official news source about an active duty Air Force major. Major Holloway never mentions his personal religious perspective in the article because that’s his personal choice. However, Dowty has done extensive enough internet research on Cole and his wife to find a webpage that describes an otherwise wonderful moment when they renewed their wedding vows in November of 2018, having eloped prior to an overseas assignment in 2017. The only comment on the site, though, that says anything about religion is on page seven of a TWENTY-ONE PAGE slideshow and it just refers to a non-religious ceremony. Obsess much, Jonathan? (I can see him deviously Googling everything “Cole Holloway” in his basement with empty cans of Pringles everywhere, the crumbs gumming up his keyboard.) From this snippet, he then judges.

Frankly, we have no way of knowing if he’s a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Agnostic, Atheist, or anything else — but then why should ANY of us care? Is it our business? Absolutely not. Maybe, just maybe, Maj Holloway thinks that since this is an official article identifying him by rank (even if he is now medically retired), he shouldn’t bring his personal beliefs into the story — because they’re PERSONAL and not something that he wants to made public, scrutinized and parsed by every petty twit looking for something that may not fit into their own tribalist, fundamental views of right and wrong, life and death.

By contrast, as Chris Rodda so astutely outlines in her Daily Kos article, Dowty just assumes that if someone doesn’t wear their religion on their sleeve and take every opportunity in every setting to proclaim the special nature of their particular faith in all its righteousness, then they’re Atheist heathens condemned (rightfully so in his Christian eyes) to burn in his imagined “hell” for all time. How Christian of him to pass along those thoughts to Cole’s wife and family. I’m sure that kind of long-distance love and ministry is bound to win them and others over to Dowty’s dominionist brand of exclusionary, self-congratulatory Christianity.

Really, how dare he? Lt Col Dowty is an active duty Air Force officer who blatantly disregards Air Force Instruction 1–1 as he spews his hate at anyone that might not conform to his distorted theistic Gilead of hate. He operates in the open (seemingly, with Air Force endorsement since they’ve allowed him to continue with his website through four promotions to date), in an environment where a simple Google search of his name would inform any subordinate or superior as to his strident religious views of his fellow airmen and service members that aren’t 100% of his ilk. Throughout the webpage he’s taken aim other airmen (at all ranks), Air Force leadership, and Constitutionally-consistent, Pentagon-approved policy.

This article by Dowty — and the fact that he isn’t facing or hasn’t already faced disciplinary action and discharge for dozens or hundreds or articles he’s written — makes me ashamed of an Air Force in which I served for 41 years, with more than 37 on active duty. We’re clearly devoid of the kind of leadership that truly embraces not only inclusiveness and equality, but just common decency for all airmen. Instead, it tolerates — if not cultivates — a self-appointed Imam of Christian hate among its ranks, proclaiming another of his judgmental fatwas, in this case calling for Maj Holloway to find his (Dowty’s) true path in his precious remaining days, his words dripping with his poisonous treacle of “love and hope.” No thank you.

I urge and expect the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) to come to Maj Holloway’s (and his family’s) defense in this sordid matter (as you have for thousands of others) and that all involved with the MRFF do not rest until Lt Col Jonathan Dowty is a full-fledged civilian.

Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Written by

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) fights to protect the Constitutional Separation of Church and State in the U.S. Military: MRFF.org

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