Tag Archives: Constitution

US Air Force Academy Will Restore “So Help Me God”

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

David Barton, Kenneth Copeland on PTSD and the Bible

Last Monday was Veteran’s Day.  Pentacostal preacher Kenneth Copeland hosted David Barton, a self-described “expert in historical and constitutional issues,” and they lit the fires of controversy by addressing the issue of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the Bible.  Citing the King James Version of Numbers 32:20-22, Copeland says

…”If ye will do this thing, if ye will go armed before the Lord to war, and will go all of you armed over Jordan before the Lord, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him, and the land be subdued before the Lord: then afterward ye shall return…and be guiltless before the Lord, and before the nation.”

Any of you suffering from PTSD right now, you listen to me. You get rid of that right now.

You don’t take drugs to get rid of it, it doesn’t take psychology; that promise right there will get rid of it.

Copeland continues, explaining, in essence, that PTSD is Continue reading

Newsworthy? Homosexuals Get Military Benefits

Since the Supreme Court overturned a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, many outlets have run news stories about homosexuals obtaining military benefits, some published by the military itself.

The US Army made a point of publishing a press release highlighting that “Same-sex spouses of Soldiers now receiving benefits.”  It also reiterated the controversial “gay leave” policy:

Soldiers assigned to duty stations within Continue reading

Weinstein Buys Billboard, USAFA Cites MRFF

Michael “Mikey” Weinstein didn’t like what USAFA did.  So he bought a billboard.  Again.

Via the AFTimes.

As noted at the Air Force Times, Weinstein is upset that “so help me God” remains in the Cadet Honor Oath, despite his prior claim of “victory” over USAFA on this issue:  Continue reading

Congressmen Introduce Military Oath Bill, Chide Weinstein

After USAFA appeared to capitulate to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s complaints that “so help me God” violated the US Constitution, two Congressmen have proposed legislation that would require “Congressional approval” before changes can be made to military oaths.  The bill was proposed by Reps Sam Johnson and Pete Olson (R-Tx).  Though the text is not available, the current lengthy title says the purpose of HR 3416 is

to require congressional approval before any change may be made to the oaths required for enlistment in the Armed Forces, appointment to an office in the civil service or uniformed services, or appointment as a cadet or midshipman at a military service academy…

Astute observers will note that has nothing to do with USAFA’s Cadet Honor Oath.  Similarly, the oaths to which that legislation does apply are already enshrined Continue reading

USAFA Says “So Help Me God” is Optional

In an anticlimatic but optimistically predicted result, LtGen Michelle Johnson declared that the “so help me God” portion of the USAFA Cadet Honor Oath is optional:

“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.

Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, the “religious freedom” advocate who Continue reading

Weinstein Retreats, Says USAFA Cadet Oath can be Optional

In a surprising turn, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has apparently reversed himself — saying the US Air Force Academy cadet Honor Oath is acceptable.

On Wednesday night Weinstein was a 5-minute guest on Fox News’ Kelly File — in which he compared “so help me God” to robbing a bank. The ignoble articulation has whipped around the internet and now appears on a wide variety of websites — accompanied by comments excoriating Weinstein for his ridiculous accusations.

It seems Weinstein feels he’s losing the battle, and he may have actually surrendered.  As reported in the local Colorado Springs Gazette [emphasis added]:  Continue reading

Update: USAFA Reacts to So Help Me God

…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.”

The cadet committee on the subject has met, though not yet made a recommendation to the Superintendent:

Academy spokesman Maj. Brus Vidal said the Honor Review Committee…discussed…making no change to the oath, making the “so help me God” portion optional, or striking the entire oath…

Vidal said. “We value an inclusive environment that promotes dignity and respect for all.”

The Public Affairs director did not explain how “no change to the oath” could follow LtGen Michelle Johnson’s order Continue reading

World War II Vet Recalls Preaching to Japanese

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, repeated in the Stars and Stripes, documents a recent local Honor Flight that had just returned from helping World War II vets see the World War II memorial in Washington, DC. The article highlights Phil Crenshaw, a World War II chaplain’s assistant:

At 91, Crenshaw is the last living chaplain’s assistant from World War II, as determined by Army Sgt. Maj. Stephen Stott. Crenshaw recently served as chaplain on last week’s South Plains Honor Flight.

Crenshaw was called to active duty in 1943. He shipped out to Okinawa to assist Louis Wunneburger, the chaplain there.

The article makes a reference to an earlier Avalanche-Journal article in which Crenshaw recalled a surprise shipment the chaplain received:

One day, a merchant vessel unexpectedly delivered several boxes to Wunneberger. No one knew where they came from or who sent them.

They contained 1,000 New Testaments — all printed in Japanese.  Continue reading

Most Read: The Religious Rights of Those in Uniform

Over at the Journal of Faith and War, one of the most read articles is “The Religious Rights of Those in Uniform,” written by Robert “Skip” Ash, a 22-year Army veteran and Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ.

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

Senator Ted Cruz on Military Religious Liberty

This is an administration that has told servicemen and women that they cannot share their faith or risk discipline.  This is an administration that has reprimanded an Air Force chaplain in Alaska for writing in a blog post “there are no atheists in foxholes.”  Now, mind you, he was quoting President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who, I might note, has some passing familiarity with the military…

“The Administration” can either be interpreted as a broad swath of people that includes the Secretary of Defense, or potentially a direct reference to the President.

It is exceedingly difficult — though it has been tried — Continue reading

Military Atheists Target Fellow Religious Troops. Again.

In what appears to be a trend, a few atheist members of the US military seem to have taken on a “militant” practice of their faith — by aggressively going after their fellow religious troops.

In May 2012, Army Sgt Justin Griffith led his “internet atheists” against a prayer event hosted by the families of his fellow Fort Bragg Soldiers — while those families’ Soldiers were deployed to Afghanistan.

In March 2013, an Air Force Chief Master Sergeant proudly announced that he’d purged his squadron of posters for “Christian” events — even official events sponsored by MWR.

In August 2013, Captain Sara Sharick — an Army recruiter — indicated she might use her Army position to try to steer a potential recruit away from his school of choice, Christian-founded Liberty University, because it was home to “the crazies.”

Later in August, Daniel Smith — a civilian commissary store director — claimed the presence of Gideon Bibles in Air Force Inns was unconstitutional.  He lodged complaints with the intent of removing those Bibles, so traveling active duty Airmen wouldn’t have access to them.

Now, another incident from earlier this year has recently come to light.

It seems another Army atheist took issue with his fellow Soldiers and their families  Continue reading

Retired General, Current Chaplain Face off in Congress

As previously noted, the House resolution to allow military chaplains to serve their congregations — rather than ban them from chapels during the congressional impasse — was proposed by Rep Doug Collins (R-Ga). It was passed in a 400-1 vote.  The lone opponent: Rep William Enyart (D-Il).

Rep Collins is a current Air Force Reserve chaplain with a rank of Major.

Rep Enyart is a retired Major General in the National Guard.

(Coincidentally, Gen Enyart was replaced as Adjutant General of the Illinois ANG by BG Daniel Krumrei — a chaplain.)

Explaining his lone dissenting vote, Rep Enyart said  Continue reading

Pastor: 80 Airmen Meet on Air Force Treatment of Christianity

Pastor Steve Branson of Village Parkway Baptist Church in San Antonio, TX, reported that he recently held a meeting with a large group of members of the US Air Force to hear their worries over the Air Force’s treatment of their religious freedom.

At least 80 airmen attended a private meeting at the church where [Branson] heard them voice their concerns about religious hostilities at the Air Force base. It was a standing-room only crowd.

“The religious persecution is happening,” the pastor said. “It’s getting bigger every day.”

As to the improper conduct for which these Airmen claim they are being discriminated against [emphasis added]:

“A commander told him, ‘Don’t you understand discrimination – that your thought process is discrimination?’” Pastor Branson said.

Branson’s church in San Antonio, near Lackland Air Force Base, has Continue reading