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The “Christian Fighter Pilot” Sinks to New Low — Maligns Pilot with ALS for Not Being Christian

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

By Chris Rodda
Senior Research Director
Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Back in 2012, I wrote a piece titled “Major Jonathan C. Dowty, the Christian Fighter Pilot, Sinks to an All-Time Low.” I didn’t think it was possible, but he has just sunken to an even lower low than he did at that time, writing a blog post so contemptible that it rivals Donald Trump’s mocking of disabled journalist Serge Kovaleski. In a post on his “God and Country” blog yesterday, the “Christian Fighter Pilot” went after a fighter pilot who was recently diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Why? Because the pilot afflicted with this horrible disease is not a Christian.

The “Christian Fighter Pilot is Air Force Lt. Col. Dowty, a former fighter pilot turned paper pusher after being rejected for a position as an instructor at the Air Force Academy. The organization that I work for, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has been aware of Lt. Col. Dowty and his blog for many years, mainly because MRFF and its president Mikey Weinstein are the favorite subject of Dowty’s so-called “ministry.” As of 2012, when I wrote the piece mentioned in the first paragraph, Dowty had written an astounding 432 posts tagged with either MRFF or Weinstein’s name. That was the number as of seven years ago, and Dowty has continued his diatribes against MRFF ever since, sometimes with multiple posts in the same week, bringing his tally of posts about MRFF to well over 1,000.

Dowty has a long track record of virulent homophobic, misogynistic, and Islamophobic posts, and also attacks Christians who aren’t the “right kind” of Christians in his mind. He also has no qualms about disrespecting superior officers, such as publicly accusing the first lesbian commandant of the Air Force Academy of being a liar, and cyber-stalking MRFF’s junior enlisted clients.

MRFF has attempted to get the Air Force to take some sort of action regarding Dowty and his very un-officer-like writings, even filing an Inspector General complaint, but to no avail. He continues to publish his vile screeds with impunity. In the thirteen years since he started his “ministry” blog, he has only had to remove one post — a post equating homosexuality to bestiality.

But, of all the reprehensible trash that has spewed forth from this fine “Christian” officer’s keyboard, his post yesterday, going after the pilot with ALS, is without doubt the most revolting. In this post, titled “How an Air Force Fighter Pilot Faces His Approaching Death. How Would You?,” after quoting from an Air Force article about the pilot, whose attitude would to most people be inspirational, Dowty wrote:

“Naturally, when we talk about someone’s death — especially that of a terminal illness — we speak of mortality, legacy, and perspective. Christians also speak of their faith. As appears evident from the interviews above, Christ is not a part of Holloway’s life. The only direct non-theistic detail publicly available was the fact their post-courthouse wedding ceremony was explicitly ‘non-religious.’ Otherwise, if you can communicate your deepest thoughts on your coming death and not once mention even spirituality, it’s probably a safe bet you’re not concerned with religion.

“Regrettably, that deepens the tragedy. To know that your soul will soon be required of you and to yet not be concerned of things eternal is distressing on an eternal level. Yet, there is still time.”

Just as egregiously insensitive was Dowty’s comment about the pilot’s callsign being “Twitch.” Dowty actually wrote of that:

“Left unsaid is whether the symptoms of the undiagnosed disease were the source of his callsign, ‘Twitch.’”

Reactions to Dowty’s post have been pouring into MRFF’s email this morning, so I’ll end this piece with a few of those.

From a retired general:

“‘If you were to know your time left on this earth was six months, or a year, or two years — what would you do?’

“I wouldn’t waste my time at church, that’s for damn sure — or spending any time around dipshits like Dowty. An ALS diagnosis at this young age is absolutely tragic and all this guy can see in it a chance to slam someone who doesn’t believe as he does. This needs to be forwarded to Goldfein [the Chief of Staff of the Air Force] and others to show exactly the kind of shitbird Dowty is — unworthy of promotion, respect, or any position within the Air Force or government.”

From another retired general:

“’Christian’ Dowty has no empathy for his fellow man. His bigoted beliefs lack benevolence for others — a revealing reality of this radical religionist.”

From a Christian MRFF supporter:

“Mikey, This is the kind of unconscionable, self-righteous, heartless fear mongering that has been common among fundamentalist evangelicals for many years. I grew up listening to hellfire and damnation sermons, using living and breathing souls as cheap sermon illustrations. The so-called fighter pilot is a victim of his own toxic theology, which he no doubt absorbed from a cabal of vicious and unhinged preachers. His poison pin is an orifice for the tormented and miserable person he truly is.”

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

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