No More Official Military Bibles

My friends at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation have won another victory, pressuring the Pentagon into pulling the rights to make Bibles bearing the official insignia of the four branches of the armed services. They explain the story in an email:

The Holman Bible is a modern English, Baptist translation that was completed in 2004 and is published by LifeWay Christian Resources’ Holman Bible Publishers, a subsidiary of the Evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist Bible Convention. These editions were prominently emblazoned with exact replicas of the trademarked emblems of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force…

The dangerous nature of an official endorsement of Bibles by the U.S. Military is made clear by the fact that the Holman translation does not include those texts purged from the Bible during the Protestant Reformation which are still included in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox editions of the Holy Bible.

Entitled “The Soldier’s Bible,” “Sailor’s Bible,” “Marine’s Bible,” and “Airman’s Bible,” respectively, the HSBC Bibles contained material merging Evangelical symbolism and theology with national and military iconography and anthems. Each HCSB Military Bible also contained “quotations, prayers, and inspiration” from figures ranging from George Washington and President George W. Bush to various historical figures from each of the respective branches of the U.S. Armed Services.

Following a request filed by MRFF’s outside legal counsel under the Freedom of Information Act, the foundation discovered that the U.S. Military had given authorization to LifeWay allowing for reproduction of the emblems, an action that stood in direct violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Upon investigation, each branch of the military responded in succession with the notification that permission to use each branch’s imagery had been revoked.

The Pentagon says there’s no connection between MRFF’s campaign and their sudden decision to revoke permission to use the emblems, that strains credulity a bit. I doubt they would have pulled the right to use them absent MRFF’s action on the matter.

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  • timothyyoung

    This whole religion in the military thing is reaching pretty frightening degrees….

    “Smite now the scions of the Witch!

    Grant us the strength to pierce their unclean flesh!

    To cover their fields with the pale form of the blasphemous dead!

    To drown the thunder of guns with the shriek of their dying!

    To lay waste to their citadels with hurricanes of fire!

    To wring the hearts of their kin with unavailing grief!

    To send them into the waste of their desolate land in rags and hunger, broken in spirit, worn with travail and begging for the refuge of the grave.

    We ask it, in the spirit of wrath, O Master of Mankind!”

    – “Abhor the Witch, Destroy the Witch”,

  • d cwilson

    So the next time a group of soldiers get killed in battle or in a training accident, we can expect the fundies to blame it on this.

  • Gregory in Seattle

    And I am already seeing the extremists screeching about how the US government is banning Bibles and forbidding them from being sold in the PX.

    Anyone remember the good old days when delusions had at least SOME grounding in reality?

  • Rip Steakface


    At least the Black Templars are open about their zealotry.

  • Robert B.

    The four branches of the military? Poor coasties, they never catch a break.

  • Quantum Mechanic

    Gregory in Seattle:

    And I am already seeing the extremists screeching about how the US government is banning Bibles and forbidding them from being sold in the PX.

    I see no problem with them selling bibles in the PX… just so long as it’s next to all the other fantasy novels. It’s totally a rip-off of The Silmarillion, though, but no accounting for taste.