The MRFF’s Paul Loebe wrote in a statement that since the display was not erected near a chapel, it was illegal.
“It was very sectarian in nature and a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution as well as a blatant violation of Air Force Instruction 1-1, Section 2.11,” he said.
Weinstein presumably called the office of LtGen Richard Harding, The JAG of the Air Force, and getting no relief there, called Shaw AFB via their Command Post.
Most civilians who call an Air Force base will probably be directed to Public Affairs, because it is the job of PA to help military commanders interact with the public and ensure the correct message is conveyed. Weinstein was transferred to the Commander’s office, where an “office assistant” reportedly spoke for the Air Force. The assistant told Weinstein the display was erected by “a volunteer group” and it was being taken down. Loebe was free to interpret this as the Air Force agreeing with the MRFF position: Continue reading →
Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-Ok), on the recent controversies regarding “So Help Me God” at the US Air Force Academy:
“As a Navy pilot with combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, I know firsthand the importance of faith to many of our service members. When the services are hostile to faith, they are hostile to their members. The Military Religious Freedom Coalition continues to identify instances whereby our men and women in uniform are forced to conceal or deny their deeply held religious beliefs.”
Senators Mark Udall (D-Co) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo) have proposed an amendment to the yet-to-be-approved 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that would require the Air Force to review safety for its ejection seats:
Under the amendment, the Air Force also must analyze how ejection seats protect the head, neck and spinal cord during ejection; analyze any initiatives currently looking at making the ejection process safer; and update Congress on the status of any testing or qualifications on upgraded ejection seats.
“Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day. Rooted deeply in our Judeo-Christian heritage, the practice of offering thanksgiving underscores our unshakeable belief in God as the foundation of our Nation and our firm reliance upon Him from Whom all blessings flow. Both as individuals and as a people, we join with the Psalmist in song and praise: “Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good.’
“One of the most inspiring portrayals of American history is that of George Washington on his knees in the snow at Valley Forge. That moving image personifies and testifies to our Founders’ dependence upon Divine Providence during the darkest hours of our Revolutionary struggle. It was then — when our mettle as a Nation was tested most severely — that the Sovereign and Judge of nations heard our plea and came to our assistance in the form of aid from France. Thereupon General Washington immediately called for a special day of thanksgiving among his troops.
“Eleven years later, President Washington, at the request of the Congress, first proclaimed November 26, 1789, as Thanksgiving Day. In his Continue reading →
Removing the poster and editing the oath for all Academy students is extreme and unnecessary, and does a disservice to the countless individuals who wish to include the phrase as a solemn reminder that they are pledging their fidelity to God and country.
Letter to LtGen Michelle Johnson from Congress
18 November 2013
Lost in the recent hubbub over the US Air Force Academy Cadet Honor Oath’s inclusion of “so help me God” was an observation made by Patriot Post some time ago: The phrase “so help me God” had already been deleted from the oaths included in the Cadet Contrails (the book of knowledge issued to each new cadet, which they are required to memorize).
Twenty-eight members of Congress recently wrote to USAFA Superintendent LtGen Johnson and reminded her that the Oath of Office, Oath of Enlistment, and Continue reading →
The Liberty Institute, the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, and the Family Research Council — all members of the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition — successfully waged a campaign to have the US Army order an end to briefings which labeled mainstream Christian groups “extremist.”
“On several occasions over the past few months, media accounts have highlighted instances of Army instructors supplementing programs of instruction and including information or material that is inaccurate, objectionable and otherwise inconsistent with current Army policy,” Army Sec. John McHugh wrote to military leaders in a memorandum I obtained.
McHugh “directed that Army leaders cease all briefings, command presentations or training on the subject of extremist organizations or activities until that program of instruction and training has been created and disseminated,” Army spokesman Col. David Patterson, Jr., tells me.
“Here at the Academy, we work to build a culture of dignity and respect, and that respect includes the ability of our cadets, Airmen and civilian Airmen to freely practice and exercise their religious preference – or not.” said Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, Academy Superintendent. “So, in the spirit of respect, cadets may or may not choose to finish the Honor Oath with ‘So help me God.’”
The current USAFA Athletic Director, Dr. Hans Mueh (BGen, Ret), was part of the faculty that decided on “so help me God” in 1984, when it was created in response to a cheating scandal:
“To add more seriousness to the oath, we decided to mirror the commissioning oath and add the words, ‘so help me, God,’” Dr. Mueh said.
…Who is in charge of the nation’s military[?] “Is it in fact the military chiefs or is it Mikey Weinstein?”
– Tony Perkins, Family Research Council President
A few news sources have picked up on the story about the US Air Force Academy pulling a poster that had the cadet Honor Oath on it – an oath that ends in “so help me God” (discussed here a few days ago). Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, president of his self-founded charity, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, has celebrated this as his latest “victory.”
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, outspoken critic of Christians in the US military, once bragged he’d called the Pentagon and had a poster pulled off the wall of an Air Force base chow hall in less than an hour. Last week, he tried again, and he did it in 68 minutes.
Pam Zubeck, a “journalist” with the Colorado Springs Independent – local to the US Air Force Academy — has long been an ally of Weinstein in his crusade against the Academy. Last week, she helped his cause when USAFA sent the CSIndy some photos of the USAFA Prep School, one of which was a photo of a poster hanging on a wall. The picture of the F-100F on static display in front of the Prep School contained the following quote [emphasis added]:
We will not lie, steal [or cheat,]* nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, so help me God.
The lengthy but thorough essay gives an excellent discussion on the issues of religious liberty, the law, the Constitution, and military policy.
There are growing numbers of persons and advocacy groups in the United States actively seeking to remove from public life — including in the armed services — virtually all symbols and expression of religion and America’s religious heritage by advocating strict separation of church and state. Many of these groups are already actively engaged in filing lawsuits against DOD and its leaders over various concerns about religious expression in the armed services… Continue reading →
The Thomas More Law Center filed a lawsuit on Monday on behalf of Catholic military Chaplain Ray Leonard, who was prohibited from ministering as a chaplain because he was deemed “non-essential” to military morale and readiness.
The priest was one of thousands of civilian military employees and contractors furloughed because of the failure of Congress to reach a deal on funding the federal government. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has since recalled some Defense Department workers, but civilian military chaplains were excluded.