Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Because There's Nothing Jesus Loves More Than War

It's no joke: we're being led by religious zealots who neither understand nor accept the idea of religious freedom; who see the US as exclusively a Christian nation; who have no respect for anyone who disagrees. Not to mention that they also believe war is the best thing America does; has ever done; will ever do. Truly, we are screwed. And it's not just this guy: the entire Republican party is perfectly fine with it.
A Republican congressman has introduced legislation that would force cadets at the Air Force’s Academy to say “so help me God” during their oaths every school year. He said the legislation is necessary because Americans don’t have “freedom from religion.” 
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) said the bill, called the Preserve and Protect God in Military Oaths Act of 2015, would protect the religious freedom of American troops. 
“Our Constitution’s very First Amendment protects every individual’s freedom of religion. But our servicemen and women who protect our county with their lives are seeing that freedom under fire,” he said in a statement. 
The U.S. Air Force Academy announced in 2013 that cadets would not be required to say “so help me God” while reciting the Honor Oath.
The oath, which the cadets recite at the beginning of every school year, reads: “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.” 
Johnson said the Air Force’s Academy only made the end of the oath optional “because of one radical atheist group’s demands!”

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  1. I find it interesting that the three service academies have similar but different codes (or "oaths") for honor. The Air Force Academy (USAFA) has their "Honor Oath", the Naval Academy (USNA) has its "Honor Concept", and the Military Academy (USMA) has its "Honor Code". The differences are minor: USNA's is wordy, while both USMA's and USAFA's are much shorter and nearly identical. The similarity of the latter two are not surprising due to the Army having given birth to the Air Force.

    The main difference is that the USMA honor code has never had the "so help me God" appendage. USAFA added those words back in 1984 in response to a big academic cheating scandal. USAFA has existed since 1954, so those words were present for only half of USAFA's existence. They didn't add the words in order to weave religion deeper into the Air Force Fabric. They added it because they felt that they needed to try to fix a serious ethics problem.

    In other words, they added the old "fire and brimstone" threat (how's that for God's help?!) as the final punctuation to help keep the congregation (the "Wing" in Air Force terminology) in line with expected behavior. Evidence in subsequent years suggests that it either wasn't very effective, or that it managed somehow to keep an epidemic contained with only occasional outbreaks.

    It is shameful that Representative Johnson is using this to further political aims.

    I should disclose that I am a graduate of one of the service academies.

  2. And then there's the duck dynasty grifter who just suggested that without god we'd all be rapists and murderers. Projection?

    Yours are interesting points; and I've often wondered why the AF seems the service where revelations of religious pressure seem to occur most often. I served in the AF, but didn't go to the academy. Vietnam draftee, I was. Flight surgeon in Vietnam.

  3. Sounds like a duck dynasty tell!

    I was in the Armored Cav in the 70s but, fortunately, never made it to Vietnam. The class before us was the last one where the majority were shipped there right after graduation and branch training. As you might imagine, I have classmates who regretted greatly that they missed out on combat service. Most of my time was spent in Germany.

    My comments about the Air Force Academy and their honor oath were a little less than charitable. I suppose that's the old rivalry rearing up. I can tell you that the honor code (at USMA) is something sacred for cadets. I live by it. But I also know for a fact that there are always some bruised apples in the basket.

    My wife's sister is married to a USAFA graduate who retired from the Air Force. One time he brought up the topic of the religious conservatism at the Air Force Academy, expressing concern and not understanding where it came from. It was news to me.


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