Atheist Gets Secretive Agency to Change Motto

You have to give Jason Torpy a little credit.  Unlike Michael Weinstein, who is characterized by ellipses, alliterative vitriol, and threats of lawsuits, Torpy has demonstrated an ability to actually communicate with people and achieve at least some level of influence (that is, until he steps into more “controversial” areas.)

The one-man wonder that is the Military “Association” of Atheists and Freethinkers recently “needled” an Air Force agency into changing the motto that has graced their patch for some years.

The US Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office “expedites” acquisitions programs, many in “sensitive activities.”  The RCO had a patch that, like many units’ patches, contained embedded in-jokes, clever double-speak, and probably even hinted at national secrets.  Torpy’s beef?  The slogan at the bottom:

Opus Dei Cum Pecunia Alienum Efficemus
“Doing God’s Work with Other People’s Money”

Apparently, the phrase “Doing God’s Work” is not “welcoming to atheists and humanists,” despite its fairly frequent usage in greater American society to refer to a great deal of things that have nothing to do with theology.  How bad did Torpy think this was?

A few phone calls and emails were worth the effort to coax these AF officials to exercise restraint in government endorsement of religious activities. [emphasis added]

So a clever quote at the bottom of a patch was a government endorsement of religion.  Right.  And an officer who says God’s name in vain is endorsing a deity, too.

The new motto, which has “quietly” graced the patch in only the last few weeks:

Miraculi Cum Pecunia Alienum Efficemus
“Doing Miracles with Other People’s Money”

Not quite the same ring to it (and Torpy still takes issue with the reference to “miracles”).  The sad part is the original phrase was an understood idiom.  The new phrase is also in common usage — as a pejorative in the financial industry.  Still, the Air Force unit will surely be happy to know former Army Captain Jason Torpy helped them out in changing their motto.

Actually, if they hold onto that other military “tradition,” they’ll probably display the “politically correct” patch where they are required to — and go right on using and wearing the one they actually like.

Wonder if Torpy will now unload on all the other US military patches that “endorse” a religion, though Michael Weinstein fell flat when he was tempted in that direction.  If he does, he’ll have to make sure he goes after the resemblance to atheist ideology, too.

If these are the battles Torpy feels he has to fight, life can’t be too bad for atheists in the US military.  Still, its a bit of a shame to see the US military fold in the face of emails from a single former Army officer’s extremely hypersensitive complaint.


  • Pingback: Atheists get an agency of the US Air Force to drop ‘God’ from motto « Protect the Pope

  • Pingback: God and Country » Rep Randy Forbes Calls on Air Force to Put God Back in Motto

  • The old motto looks like a subtle endorsement of the secretive Catholic organization Opus Dei.

  • I apologize for any of the fine men and women that are serving in the United States Air Force but because of one organization saying that it represents a christian God, we should take it out of our air force motto. Well we ARE a Christian nation of over three hundred years and we should keep it that way. If these people don’t like it, they can move to anotther country.

    The motto should rear: “God Is My Co-pilot”

    “If we start changing these important values, surely the wrath will be upon the United States!”

  • @Terry Loeper

    America is NOT a Christian Nation. It is a secular Representative Republic in which all religions, irrespective oftheir majority and all non-beliefs may flourish but none dominate.

    Take a moment and Google “Supreme Court rulings on the Separation of Chuch and State.” There you will find the many decisions outlining the responsibility of Government’s relationship to religion. Your desire to promote Christianity to single religion national status is a gross violation of Constitutional provision. You represent the worst side of religious belief and your suggestion that non-Christians leave America is criminal.

    It is far more likely that you and your kind will be leaving America a lot sooner than the pluralistic citizens. Christianity has no more power or position than any other belief system under the Constitution. Thinking people will root you and your Dominionist beliefs out.

  • @Richard
    You start off by saying all religions may flourish, then advocate for the expulsion of Christians.

    You call a suggestion that critics “leave” criminal, and then you say “thinking people” will force Christians out of the country.

    All in the same comment. Your self-contradiction knows no limits.

  • @JD

    I only advocate for the expulsion of rogue Christian sects such as Dominionist Christianity. Mr. Loeper is obviously a card carrying membert of such a vicious and unconstituional organization. There is no room for Christian Supremacy in America.

    I did not say thinking people will FORCE Christians out of the country. By me saying that thinking people will root you and your beliefs out simply means that their agenda will be uncovered and their unconstituonal activities exposed. Loeper and his ilk may voluntarily attempt to leave America to escape prosecution but I would prefer them to stay in America. I want them to remain here comfortably in one of our prisons serving time for treason.

  • Pingback: God and Country » Air Force Caves to Atheists, Creates Hostile Religious Environment

  • Pingback: God and Country » Family Research Council Cites