Several critics — primarily on the liberal-leaning, anti-religious freedom side — have laid into US Congressman Sam Johnson (R-Tx) for his “Preserve and Protect God in Military Oaths Act of 2015” — and it is abundantly clear that none of them actually read the proposed bill.
Most of the critics portrayed the act as some version of requiring enlisting military members to “pledge to God” during their military oaths — something that recalls issues with the US Air Force and Air Force Academy in 2013. One employee of the Air Force Academy summed up much of the criticism when he tweeted to the Congressman (thick with irony):
What part of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” did you miss, sir?
You are in Congress. You are sponsoring a bill to establish Christianity as a state religion. Have you READ the Constitution?
— Phoenix Blue (@Phoenix_Blue) March 23, 2015
Similarly, an astonishingly ignorant Michael “Mikey” Weinstein claimed Read more
The Liberty Institute recently published a 2014 edition of a 400-page report entitled “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America” (PDF). Sections I, II, and III are “attacks” in the public arena, schoolhouse, and against churches and other religious ministries, respectively.
For the first time, the report now includes a dedicated Section IV: “Attacks in the Military.”
Similar in theme to the “Clear and Present Danger” published by the Family Research Council, the Liberty Institute report includes a list of 46 incidents representative of the hostility toward religion within the US military [emphasis added]:
Hostility once unthinkable, such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs telling grieving families as they arrive at their loved one’s funeral site that they may not have a religious funeral service, is becoming increasingly routine. Another line of hostility is a new wave of lawsuits attempting to eliminate all symbolism that touches on the numinous from our nation’s veterans memorials…
Religious freedom in the military is protected by the U.S. Constitution, Department Read more
Update: The Air Force declined to release the legal opinion behind the decision to alter the AFI last year requiring “so help me God” to remain in the oath. The reason: attorney-client privilege.
After seeking guidance from the Department of Defense, the Air Force immediately implemented a policy change making the oath “so help me God” optional during the oaths of office and enlistment.
The Air Force will be updating the instructions for both enlisted and commissioned Airmen to reflect these changes in the coming weeks, but the policy change is effective now. Airmen who choose to omit the words ‘So help me God’ from enlistment and officer appointment oaths may do so.
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said the Air Force takes religious freedom seriously:
“We take any instance in which airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said. “We are making the appropriate Read more
The Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition took a page from Mikey Weinstein’s playbook and posted a billboard near the US Air Force Academy:
On a background of Mount Rushmore, the text reads:
Air Force Cadets: Are you free to say “So help me God?” They did.
and references the militaryfreedom.org website. The text, which Read more
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 Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein penned half of a pro/con debate for the local Colorado Springs Gazette regarding the presence of “so help me God” in the USAFA Cadet Honor Oath. Weinstein boils his argument down to this:
Removing those words from the published oath does nothing to change [cadets’ First Amendment] right [sic].
In balance, however, if the removal of those words affects not the First Amendment rights of believers, why would the presence of those words affect the rights of others? Weinstein fails to justify his call for a change.
In one respect, Weinstein’s premise seems to be correct: No religious Read more
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: Read more
Chris Rodda, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s paid research assistant, writes an occasional article for Weinstein’s MRFF. Rodda considers herself a history buff, and her writings reflect that. She is also exceedingly verbose, with many of her articles going on for pages even before she says ‘the reason I’m writing this….’
She recently struck again, in a letter to USAFA Superintendent LtGen Michelle Johnson that was co-signed by Weinstein. The letter was clearly hers, as it lacked the alliterative vitriol or the acidic hyperbole characteristic of Weinstein’s writing. (It also contained no gratuitous ellipses or the pastel colored font Weinstein so favors in his emails.) She wrote it, ostensibly, to rebut a letter written by the ACLJ’s Jay Sekulow and Skip Ash: Read more