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
When the Air Force reversed its position and allowed enlistees to omit “so help me God” from their oath of enlistment, Pat Robertson had this response:
There’s a left-wing radical named Mickey Weinstein who has got a group about people against religion or whatever he calls it, and he has just terrorized the armed forces. You think you’re supposed to be tough, you’re supposed to defend us, and you got one little Jewish radical who is scaring the pants off of you…
It’s just crazy. What is wrong with Read more
Update: Patrick Vaughn, general counsel for the American Family Association, wrote an article saying “The U.S. Constitution makes it clear: American atheists are not and should not be barred from serving their country through military service.”
Facing scrutiny for its letter-of-the-law requirement that Airmen enlist with “So help me God,” the Air Force has asked the DoD General Counsel to provide an official legal opinion:
The Air Force said Tuesday it was awaiting a legal opinion from the Defense Department’s top lawyer on whether an enlisted airman who’s an atheist can opt out of the phrase “so help me God” in his re-enlistment oath…
“The opinion that we’re seeking will help inform future decisions and the latitude that can be taken with the oath,” Air Force spokeswoman Rose Richeson said Tuesday. “But the Air Force has to comply with law.”
From an objective position, 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
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.”
More from Congressman Bridenstine’s statement.
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