Wingnut on Wingnut Crime: Bryan Fischer vs AFA Attorney

The American Family Association seems to be having a bit of trouble deciding which side it’s on in the battle over forcing members of the military to swear an oath “so help me God.” Bryan Fischer, the “director of issues analysis” says that atheists should be banned from the military and all soldiers should be forced to swear such an oath. The group’s chief counsel, Patrick Vaughn, rightly points out that this is unconstitutional:

Refusing to allow an Air Force sergeant who is an atheist to reenlist on the grounds that he will not take a “so help me God” oath violates Article 6 of the Constitution and the First Amendment. The loyalty oath is required by a single sentence in Article 6 that also allows a non-religious affirmation as an acceptable alternative and stipulates that no religious test shall ever be required (1). Long ago, the Court of Military Appeals clarified that “In cases of affirmation the phrase ‘So help you God’ will be omitted” (2)…

Nevertheless, the Constitution was adopted with the “no religious test” clause, which was subsequently reinforced by the First Amendment. In 1961 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government’s refusal to accept an atheist’s loyalty affirmation would “unconstitutionally invade the [individual’s] freedom of belief and religion” (5).

The men who adopted the Constitution wisely evaluated that the tyranny of allowing government to judge whether a citizen was acceptably religious was a greater threat to the nation than allowing a person’s statement of loyalty to stand without an oath.

Hell, even Gordon Klingenschmitt, says that they should be allowed to omit that phrase from the oath. Apparently, Klingenschmitt and Vaughn aren’t quite theocratic and fascist enough for Bryan Fischer.

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  • D. C. Sessions

    AFA has needed a new counsel for a while anyway.

  • magistramarla

    OT, but this article about the Texas secessionists getting inspired by the possible Scottish secession is something that I would love to see Ed comment upon:

    If anyone reads this article, please be sure to read the comments. It’s good for a laugh, but somewhat scary for those of us who have to live in Texas, knowing that anyone that we meet might be one of these nutjobs.

  • robnyny

    It’s worth pointing out that the Presidential oath of office, which is spelled out in the Constituion, offers the choice between swearing and affirming, and contains no reference to any god.

  • busterggi

    Ah the great independent Republic of Texas – a country won over by a bunch of gringos who violated their loyalty oaths (sworn to in the name of god) to Mexico because they wanted to have slaves which was illegal in Mexico (before the US) while assisted by a second bunch of illegal alien gringos who wanted free real estate after they couldn’t hack it back east.

    Who wouldn’t be proud?

  • tbp1

    At busterggi, #4

    That’s not exactly the way we learned it in 8th-grade Texas History class.

    But I suspect it’s a more accurate summary than the whitewashed version, complete with hagiographies, that we did learn.

  • Modusoperandi

    tbp1 “That’s not exactly the way we learned it in 8th-grade Texas History class. But I suspect it’s a more accurate summary than the whitewashed version, complete with hagiographies, that we did learn.”

    No. The Texas school version is more accurate. Who can forget George Washington crossing the Rio Grande to help Davey Crockett beat General Antonio López de Santa Anna and sink the Alamo for America and Freedom and America?

  • jefferylanam

    If Scotland had as much autonomy today as Texas or any US state, there might not be much of a push for independence. Westminster still controls a lot of things that are left to the states in the USA.

  • kantalope

    Misremember the Alamo!

  • dingojack

    jefferylanam – Texas (or any other US state) can define it’s own foreign policy? That’d be news to most Texans, I’d suspect.


  • hunter

    DIngo @9:

    Are you sure about that?

  • jefferylanam

    Foreign policy isn’t the only thing Westminster reserves. From the Wikipedia page on the Scottish Parliament:

    The Scottish Parliament is unable to legislate on such issues that are reserved to, and dealt with at, Westminster (and where Ministerial functions usually lie with UK Government ministers). These include abortion, broadcasting policy, civil service, common markets for UK goods and services, constitution, electricity, coal, oil, gas, nuclear energy, defence and national security, drug policy, employment, foreign policy and relations with Europe, most aspects of transport safety and regulation, National Lottery, protection of borders, social security and stability of UK’s fiscal, economic and monetary system

    Some of those are controlled by Congress in the US system, certainly. However, taxation also is restricted; Edinburgh can adjust income tax by 3%, but can’t create its own tax structure.

  • dhall

    #5 – tpb1 – And that’s just the proverbial tip of the iceberg of crap we were taught about US history. busterggi’s summary is right. The ‘heroes’ at the Alamo were pretty much illegal immigrants to Mexico who fought for the right to keep their slaves in a country where slavery had already been abolished. Crockett and Bowie were apparently there for the thrill of it all. Somewhat like Daniel Boone and Andrew Jackson, they’re held up as American heroes for questionable reasons. And maybe if Americans were taught the truth about their country in K-12, they’d be less arrogant and dumb-sounding to the rest of the world. Maybe. For some Americans, it wouldn’t help at all, though.

  • dingojack

    Hunter – you’re seriously contending (along with jefferylanam) that you truly believe that Texas can set it’s own foreign policy — seriously?



    jefferylanam – when I call Wikipedia ‘the Font of All Wisdom’ there is a large degree of sarcasm in the label. Wikipedia is NOT A RELIABLE SOURCE.

  • Modusoperandi

    dingojack “Hunter – you’re seriously contending (along with jefferylanam) that you truly believe that Texas can set it’s own foreign policy — seriously?”

    They can set their foreign policy. Texas is against it, as “Too ferrin'”, followed by shooting six-guns in the air and hooting and hollering. (And their domestic policy is “chicken fry it”). And other sterotypes, too.

  • dingojack

    A recent photo of the Governor of Texas, according to Modus…

    :) Dingo

  • Nick Gotts

    Wikipedia is NOT A RELIABLE SOURCE. – dingojack@13

    Well it’s a good deal more reliable than you when it comes to the degree of autonomy Scotland has. You can read the Scottish Parliament’s own explanation of the powers it does and does not have here.

  • magistramarla

    Dingojack @15

    Looks about right to me!

    BTW, sorry about hijacking the thread!