A variety of news sources are now reporting the US Air Force ended a training class after an internet article belittled its religious content. Contrary to some assertions, this is actually not a big deal.
This much has been accurately reported: The Air Force training slides had Bible verses, and the course was led by a Chaplain. There was a public article. The Air Force pulled the course to “review it.”
Beyond that, much of the other reporting has been misrepresented or inaccurate.
The Air Force has suspended a training course for nuclear missile launch officers that used Bible passages and religious imagery to teach them about the ethics of war.
Unfortunately, that’s essentially a misrepresentation, likely because the conclusion was drawn solely from a copy of the slides used in the brief — sans notes or context. The course did not use Biblical citations to teach ethics. The ~40-slide PowerPoint presentation was an ethical discussion on the conduct of war, with emphasis on the application of nuclear weapons. (The title of the first seven slides is “Ethics;” the second section is “Nuclear Ethics and Nuclear Warfare.”)
Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. –Psalm 144:1
Can a Christian serve in combat? Is war inconsistent with the commands of Jesus Christ?
Recent events have given new life to the age old discussion about whether “Christian” and “military” are mutually exclusive (never mind being a “Christian Fighter Pilot”). Particularly for new Christians, or Christians who grew up in peaceful times and areas, the concepts of a “warring Christian” who is a child of the loving God can seem contradictory.
(There are also many non-Christians who try to find an apparent contradiction in military Christian service. The intent here is to address those with a Christian worldview.)
There are many books and pamphlets written on this topic, and most categorize their analysis in two categories. The “anti-war” division centers on the “pacifist teachings” of Jesus. The “pro-war” division centers on the Just War doctrine supported with Biblical citations. Well-researched books quote Augustine and Thomas Aquinas Continue reading →