Catholics and Air Force Nuclear Weapons
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, wrote a letter to General Edward Rice, the Commander of Air Education and Training Command. AETC oversees the training program at Vandenberg Air Force Base, which recently dropped a course because, depending on who you ask, it used Bible verses. Calling the Air Force’s decision to pull the class “wrongheaded,” he says
[T]here is absolutely nothing in the Constitution of the United States that disqualifies a presentation of St. Augustine’s “just war theory,” and related biblical references. In fact, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, as well as religious liberty…Moreover, biblical passages are often cited when referencing the work of Rev. Martin Luther King. Should we similarly censor them?
I have read the materials used in the class, and can assure you that no one — save an anti-religious zealot — would find fault with them. I therefore urge you to stand fast against these bullies and do what is academically right and constitutionally protected: reinstate the class.
He also notes that Michael Weinstein is a “foe of religious liberty” operating under the “guise of constitutional concerns.”
Donohue generally presents a conservative and favorable view of the military. In a twist on the media meme, last year he called for a Congressional investigation at the Air Force Academy for apparent insensitivity toward Christians.
To this point, some have implied a general Catholic support for Weinstein’s efforts, with John Hudson saying ”atheists/Christians agree” the Air Force Chaplain-led course was wrong, citing the website USCatholic.org. They failed to note, of course, that Bryan Cones at the US Catholic is opposed to nuclear weapons in general, not just any particular training course related to them. He ultimately says
I’m glad the Air Force will no longer try to make the case for the ethical use of nukes. Now if only Christians in general could get on board.
Cones thinks the military will no longer say the use of nuclear weapons is “ethical.” So what does that make the Air Force members — Catholics among them, according to his own citations — who are trained to employ them?