Rep. Sam Johnson, one of the more extreme theocrats in the House, is still trying to pass a bill that would make religious oaths mandatory for all military personnel. He submitted this bill in response to a decision by the Air Force to make saying “so help me God” optional when officers are being sworn in. He defends it with the usual lies and bad arguments.
In response to the U.S. Air Force Academy’s unilateral decision to make the phrase, ‘so help me God’ of the Cadet Honor Oath optional, I introduced H.R. 3416, a bill that would require congressional approval prior to any change to Oaths of Office. I was joined by original co-sponsor Congressman Pete Olson (TX-22).
Our Founding Fathers declared we are, “One nation under God,” and you better believe I’ll fight like mad to keep it that way.
No, they didn’t. That phrase came from Congress in 1954, more than a century and a half after the founding fathers wrote the constitution. A constitution, by the way, that explicitly makes illegal religious tests for holding any public office, including military commissions.
I can tell you from experience, there are no atheists in foxholes.
The existence of actual living, breathing atheists in foxholes notwithstanding, of course. Those people magically disappear the moment Johnson declares that they do not exist.
I spent nearly 7 years as a Prisoner of War (POW) in Vietnam – more than half of that time in solitary confinement. Our captors tried to break our spirits daily. One year, a group of POWs in the prison we dubbed the Hanoi Hilton decided to defy our captors and hold a church service. They hated that we found unity and strength in God and one another. As armed guards surrounded us, a fellow POW pounced onto the poor excuse for a bed and belted out the national anthem and “God Bless America.” I remember how the magnitude of the moment and the magic of the music overpowered any illness or ache. For a fleeting time, we felt strong and faithful. It was truly the greatest gift each of us had during those endless days of torture, isolation, and starvation. It’s not only my experience, but that of my fellow POWs, veterans, and those currently in harm’s way that make “so help me God” vital to the oath. I urge my colleagues to join this effort to protect the legacy of freedom of religion.
1. Singing God Bless America helped me emotionally when I was a POW.
2. Therefore every military officer should be forced to swear an oath to God even if they don’t believe in that God, so we should require them to lie to become an officer.
How on earth does that conclusion follow from that premise? Only in the mind of a wingnut.
“It was disheartening to see the Air Force Academy succumb to anti-religious zealotry from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF),” Pete Olson said. “As a former Navy pilot, I can speak to the value of allowing God to be present for our military men and women.”
Uh, what? If officers are allowed to omit “so help me God” from their oaths, God can’t be “present” for them or any other member of the military? That’s quite a weak god you’ve got there, indistinguishable from a non-existent one.
The military personnel being trained to defend the rights of Americans should be able to exercise their religious convictions by affirming their oath with so help me God.
You mean like they are? See, that’s what “optional” means. It means they have the option of saying it. No one is preventing them from saying it. The only ones whose religious freedom is being violated are those you want to force to say it. Thinking is clearly not their strong suit.