LtGen Ronnie Hawkins Berated for God in Commander’s Call

US Air Force LtGen Ronnie Hawkins is the new head of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).  He is reportedly getting grief over a commander’s call in which he listed the personal “rules” he has lived by since he was a Captain — and they included references to God:

Hawkins, who just took over the directorship of DISA in January, said his presentation has been taken out of context…He stated at the all-hands meeting that “Ronnie’s Rules” were his personal road map for living and he has used it since he was a captain. He said he tries to live by these rules every day.

The context of the briefing LtGen Hawkins cites is important (as context always is).  By themselves, the slides have the potential to be confusing, if not misperceived.  For example, some of the “rules” use the second person “you” and may seem imperative in nature.  On the other hand, the slides are titled “Ronnie’s Rules,” which is hardly what you’d expect to see from a three-star General’s directive.  Said the General:

“Those two slides, in particular …were in no way a directive or expectation I have for our dedicated men and women,” said Hawkins…“The rules are my own personal guide posts, or moral compass.”

That seems entirely reasonable.  It is not unreasonable that commanders share their personal leadership or life philosophies with their subordinates.  In this case, in particular, it was an expanded version of ‘biographical information,’ or giving the members of DISA the chance to find out ‘who the commander is.’

The response, however, has been farcical:

The employee said that he provided the presentation to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group, “in hopes of saving lives.”

The anonymous employee degrades into “the Arabs will hate us” excuse for criticizing public mentions of God in America:

The employee said what might seem like an ordinary presentation to Air Force employees can be easily obtained and used as propaganda in other countries — something he said a commander should know. People in Arab nations for example, might see Hawkins’ comments as a show of support toward one religion by the U.S. government, he said.

This is classic Michael Weinstein, who holds the position that the ability of Americans to exercise their liberties should be determined by those who are offended by those liberties.

For his part, Weinstein doesn’t disappoint:

MRFF’s founder and president, Mikey Weinstein, is calling for Hawkins to be court-martialed for violating his oath to the Constitution.

Nothing in LtGen Hawkins slides violates his oath to “support and defend the Constitution,” nor does anything rise to the level of court-martial even if it was to be prejudicial.  But Weinstein gets quoted in the press sounding melodramatic, which is all that matters to him.

It seems Michael Weinstein has succeeded in marketing a hypersensitivity to religious references in the US military, to the detriment of religious freedom.  As another commentary pointed out, the environment of religious freedom in the United States, and within the military, has come a long way since General Dwight D. Eisenhower said prior to the D-Day invasion:

let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

And that wasn’t even a qualified imperative to pray to “Almighty God.”  Shocking how far the culture has fallen in 60 years.

What remains to be seen is whether the US military treats Weinstein’s hyperbolic vitriol in the manner it deserves.

6 replies to “LtGen Ronnie Hawkins Berated for God in Commander’s Call

  1. Mike

    “The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on nothing; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing and admits of no conclusion.”
    – Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1793-5), quoted from Jonathon Green, The Cassell Dictionary of Cynical Quotations

  2. Andrew B.

    “Today, we tend to make a distinction between science and faith, but to Newton it was all part of the same world,” said Milka Levy-Rubin. “He believed that careful study of holy texts was a type of science, that if analyzed correctly could predict what was to come.”

    (…)

    “He took a great interest in the Jews, and we found no negative expressions toward Jews in his writing,” said Levy-Rubin. “He said the Jews would ultimately return to their land.”

    (…)

    “As far as Newton was concerned, his approach was that history was as much a science as physics. His world view was that his ‘lab’ for understanding history was the holy books,” said Levy-Rubin. “His faith was no less important to him than his science.”

    http://www.centredaily.com/2012/02/15/3091437/israeli-library-uploads-newtons.html#storylink=cpy

    “If the general preaching of the Gospel be approaching, it is for us and our posterity that these words mainly belong: In the time of the end the wise shall understand, but none of the wicked shall understand. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this Prophecy, and keep those things that are written therein.”
    – Isaac Newton on Bible Prophecy and the inevitable mockers and scoffers.

    “A new heaven & new earth. New Jerusalem comes down from heaven prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband. The marriage supper. God dwells with men wipes away all tears from their eyes, gives them of ye fountain of living water & creates all thin things new saying, It is done. The glory& felicity of the New Jerusalem is represented by a building of Gold & Gemms enlightened by the glory of God & ye Lamb & watered by ye river of Paradise on ye banks of wich grows the tree of life. Into this city the kings of the earth do bring their glory & that of the nations & the saints raign for ever & ever.”
    – Isaac Newton on what is to come after the “End”

    PS – Thomas Paine…isn’t that the angry guy close to the the French Revolution and the whole “Enlightenment” thing? The same Revolution and “Enlightenment” that became tyrannical, authoritarian and eventually brought the French nation to its knees? The guy who almost got killed by the vicious and authoritarian Jacobins that he previously supported? The guy who died a lonely and bitter man?

  3. charles edwards

    “And that wasn’t even a qualified imperative to pray to “Almighty God.” Shocking how far the culture has fallen in 60 years.”

    Yes I agree, black people should still be third class citizens and segregated also, using that logic. Point is, officers get paid to be smart. What is the point of spilling those beans in today’s world? He should know that that would have offended somebody, not paying this guy $10k+ a month to not see the obvious mistake of his actions. When out in the open in uniform, god should be left at home. I am not walking around drinking goats blood telling everyone how the evil dark lord has made my life better. That would be court marshalled for conduct unbecoming…

  4. Pingback: God and Country » LtGen Ronnie Hawkins and the Religious Rights of those in Uniform

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