Rep Randy Forbes Calls on Air Force to Put God Back in Motto

US Representative Randy Forbes (R-Va) has written a letter (PDF) signed by 35 members of the House asking the Air Force restore a unit’s motto that was changed after an atheist’s complaint.  The incident to which Rep Forbes is referring was actually first reported on, with the Religion Clause and the ADF Alliance Alert subsequently citing this site.

As noted three weeks ago, the USAF Rapid Capabilities Office responded to “needling” from former Army Captain Jason Torpy, an atheist, and changed its motto from “Doing God’s work with other people’s money” to “Doing miracles with other people’s money.”

The letter, addressed to Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz, says:

It has come to our attention that the US Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) has modified the logo on its official patch to remove its reference to “God,” following a complaint from the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers.  Because such an alteration certainly was not required by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, we call on you to reverse the troubling decision…

…we are deeply concerned that the RCO capitulated to pressure from an outside group that consistently strives to remove reference to God and faith from our nation’s military.

The action taken by the RCO suggests that all references to God, regardless of their context, must be removed from the military…we ask that you reverse this perplexing decision.

Ordinarily, it is unlikely the request would be fulfilled.  The same is true when Michael Weinstein writes letters to the heads of the Air Force over the actions of individuals or individual units.  Secretary Donley and General Schwartz almost certainly weren’t involved in the decision to change the patch, and it would be fairly unusual for an edict to come from that level ordering an individual unit to change their patch.  This case is somewhat unique, however, because the “rapid” nature of the RCO shortened its chain of command:  It reports directly to a Board of Directors, upon which sits the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff.

The letter also highlights to the American public how much antagonism and coercion the US military faces from activist atheist or anti-religious freedom persons and organizations — note Forbes’ remark about “capitulation.”  Michael Weinstein has practically trademarked his “Weinstein Method” of coercing the US military to conform to his personal agenda.  Fortunately, the military has started to wise up to his methods, and even explicitly encourages commanders not to give in to an angry phone call from such an activist.

Many people and military units probably think their individual fight isn’t worth the trouble, so they give in in the hopes it will placate the critics and they’ll go away, causing the least hubbub in the process.  The Air Force, at least, has learned that doesn’t work for Weinstein — for him, its something along the lines of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”  Weinstein takes each capitulation as a validation of his vendetta; rather than placating him, it emboldens him.  Just ask LtGen Mike Gould, USAFA Superintendent, about trying to establish goodwill with Michael Weinstein.

As was noted at the time, the attack on the RCO motto was an asinine thing for Torpy to get worked up over.

Now the world knows just how important it is to him that not even a Latin reference to “God” in a clever euphemism should be left to stand.

The original and edited patches are below:

Also noted at The Hill and


  • I agree that the mention of God should not be removed from the motto. When people turn their faces away from God and His edicts, our nation will see the wrath of God, just as in many historic examples mentioned in the Holy Bible….God’s Word. God is a just God. Simple fact. PTL

  • RCO expedites development and fielding of select Department of Defense combat support and weapon systems by leveraging defense-wide technology development efforts and existing operational capabilities.

    So what you’re saying is that “combat support” and “weapon systems” are some how related to “Doing Gods Work?” Are you kidding me? How is this considered the right thing to have on a US “government” patch?

    And Ann…when has a god’s “wrath” affected the world except in stories people read from books? Pat Robinson and the other nut cases believing hurricanes and other natural disasters are not god’s wrath either.

  • @watchtower

    you’re saying…”combat support” and “weapon systems” are some how related to “Doing Gods Work?”

    Who’s saying? Can’t seem to find anyone who actually says that. There are plenty of references to the fact the phrase “doing God’s work” is an idiom, or euphemism, or a play on words, or just a inside joke, though. If you web search the phrase, you’ll see its fairly common — perhaps more so outside of any religious connotation.

    Have you really never heard that phrase before in a non-religious sense? If not, consider yourself culturally enlightened, and take comfort in knowing its not the Constitutional crisis some may have implied.

  • Gross Christian privilege on display, and he’s completely blind to it.

  • @Ann Russell
    Ann, you epitomize the abject religious sychophant to whom God has become a sickness. You must learn not to project your beliefs onto others or attempt to make them subject to your misguided reliance on religion.

    As for having God mentioned in your military motto, patch. or emblem, you must remember that the Suprem Court has held (in Lemon Vs. Kurzman 1971) that goverrnment, including the armed forces may not advance,. elevate recommend, prefer or proselytize one religion over another or religion over non-religion.

    Promoting God on a military uniform or emblem is in violation of this ruling.

    There csannot be special rights for the religious despite their beliefs.

    Now, let’s keep the military from violating its oath to the constitution and promoting God in its emblems.

  • @JD

    Some religious nuts will not be happy until the armed forces who deploy and operate our nuclear arsenal have a patch that reads: “God Bless Our Nuclear Weapons For the Enemy Shall Die in the Fires of Heaven!” or: We’ll see you at Armageddon!” or “God’s finger is on the button!”

  • @Richard
    Who would those “religious nuts” be, again? Oh, wait, you can’t say.

    It’s asinine (and insulting, actually) to assert the presence of the Latin word for “God” on this patch favored religion. By that tortured logic, you probably think the NFL is secretly Catholic, given that last minute Hail Mary in the Super Bowl.

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