"When I was at the academy, there wasn't this institutional notion that if you didn't accept Christ you would burn eternally in hell," he said. "I want the generals to come out and say, 'Yes, we have a systemic problem and we are working to fix it.' "
Air Force officials said they got an inkling of a problem after reading the results of a student survey last May.
Many cadets expressed concern over religious respect and a lack of tolerance. Then "The Passion of the Christ," Mel Gibson's film about the crucifixion, was released. Hundreds of movie posters were pinned up in the academy dining hall advertising the film. Cadets did mass e-mailings urging people to see it.
School leaders denounced the e-mails, saying students should not use government equipment to promote their religion.
At that point, officials began looking into the situation.
"We started getting people coming forward," Whitaker said. "Folks sent e-mails to the chaplain describing events — none of which were reported when they happened. Many of the complaints have been addressed."