Quantcast
U.S. & World

Air Force Academy may drop religious reference from oath

Comments

Return To Article
  • A Guy With A Brain Enid, OK
    Oct. 28, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    @ Ranch - Here, UT "@A Guy With A Brain; It isn't a war against religion, it's simply taking away religion's authority over us."

    Ranch - 2 comments:

    1) Religion is not claiming any "authority" over anyone. Just because the honor code mentions 'god' does not, and cannot be construed to mean, that "authority" or power/suppression is occuring.

    2) I've read your posts for many months. You are not a member of the USAF Academy so you are not a part of the "us" featured in this article.

    Respond if you wish but the only responce you can give is an apology in terms of over-playing a false hand.

  • Bob K porland, OR
    Oct. 26, 2013 8:30 p.m.

    Really? ...a comment in which the President of the United States is referred to disparagingly and disrespectfully, as able to be kicked out of the country (I guess he is not really a Citizen, huh?) What are goonies?

    Some of my comments which were FAR less strong, more temperate, and actually funny came back to me as "denied" -- but they expressed a more liberal point of view.

    I feel I must say again that a blog belonging to a major church ought to be as hard on the right-wingers as the left. Jesus loves all of us.

    Liberal Ted
    Salt Lake City, UT
    The next thing we'll tell the military, is that they no longer have families. Since that will offend those that do something other than One man and One woman that are married....

    ...Hope and change is here everyone! This is what you chanted about and re-elected.

    Now it's a sad country song....Maybe we can turn it around in 2014.

    Got my health care back, got my freedom to worship back, got my money back, got my truck back, got my freedoms back, and kicked bo out of this country along with his goonies

  • Bob K porland, OR
    Oct. 26, 2013 7:10 p.m.

    Several people wrote: "this nation was founded on Christian principles"

    It is a Christian principle NOT to require people to pretend to believe in something they do not.
    It is a Christian principle to allow that non-believers or followers of other religions and spiritual practices have a right to choose as they wish.

    Nowadays, the military and politics are full of people who vainly consider themselves "The only kind of Christians" and will berate, dismiss, or thwart those of us who believe, but do not believe exactly as they do.

    There is a lie going around, that religious people are being persecuted, even when asked to stop telling others that they believe wrong. Some folks put up a smokescreen about persecution, when they are asked to accommodate to a changing world, or to follow non-discrimination laws in their public businesses.

    One might think that the lds, having had a history of being driven away or killed over polygamy and other beliefs, should be FIRST in saying that all ways of believing are welcome in America

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    Oct. 26, 2013 4:52 p.m.

    @Dan Malloy,

    I disagree vehemently with 99% of The Scientist's critiques of religion, but he is correct here. The Academy has been a hotbed of Christian evangelism, spurred by the fact that Colorado Springs is ground zero for many evangelical megachurches. It has been a controversy for at least a decade. Evangelized cadets put pressure on "non-Christian" cadets that makes greenie LDS missionaries look subtle. Resistance is punished. The Air Force IG office even investigated and issued a scathing report indicting Academy leadership for sanctioning or willfully turning a blind eye (at best) to actions that violate the religious rights of those who aren't interested.

    A guy in my LDS ward and a Jewish officer I work with, both Academy grads, told me that it made for an awful experience. I think that those who decry this as more of the war on Christianity need to be more aware of intrusions on the rights of those who believe differently. If you don't play nice with people who aren't of your faith, be prepared for this kind of pushback.

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    Oct. 26, 2013 11:10 a.m.

    Re: "You say it [A.D.] does not stand for After Death."

    "'A.D.' does not mean 'after death,' as many people suppose" - Paul Brians, "Common Errors in English Usage."

    It's not just a "technical" matter, either. If the years in the era A.D. were reckoned from Jesus's death, there would be a thirty-three year gap, the length of Jesus's life, between the year 1 B.C. and the year A.D. 1.

    Re: "And the Lord never said not to take an Oath."

    The Quakers refused to take oaths, and were persecuted for this religious principle.

    Why did they refuse? Because, as quoted in my first comment (9:21 a.m., Oct. 25, 2013), Jesus said not to take oaths.

    "A testimony against the taking of oaths came directly from the New Testament, Matthew 5:34-37 and James 5:12.... Speaking the truth on all occasions has been a cardinal Quaker principle, and Friends believe the practice of taking oaths implies that a person might be telling lies on other occasions" (Baltimore Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Part I. Faith, A. Historical Sketch, 6. Early Quaker Testimonies).

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 11:10 p.m.

    The religious discrimination and problems at the Academy have been well-documented for well over a decade. Yale and Harvard scholars have studied it.

    I know of it from personal experience. But unlike others who think their personal experience tells the full story...

    See "The Report of the Headquarters Review Group Concerning the Religious climate at the US Air Force Academy, June 22, 2005."

    There has long been an "evangelical choke hold on the Academy", and the "evangelical pressure tactics at the Academy" continue to this day.

    Women at the Academy have been taught that her "career should be that of a wife and mother," and in Biblical terms, "the female is the sheep and the male is the shepherd."

    The problems have been so pervasive that in September, 2012, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz had to send a servicewide email cautioning leaders at all levels to balance the Constitution's protection of religious freedom and the prohibition on government intrusion.

    The Air Force had to suspend an ethics course for new nuclear missile officers that contained so many biblical references it was jokingly referred to as the "Jesus Loves Nukes" training.

  • The Skeptical Chymist SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 10:03 p.m.

    Until this change, officers were required to end the oath with the phrase "so help me God." Can anyone truly say to me that forcing an atheist to mouth these words is not an infringement on his religious freedom? Would it be an infringement on your religious freedom if you were forced to conclude your oath with the phrase "so help me Vishnu?" Of course it would be! Atheists are Americans too, and they should not be forced to assert that a god exists in order to join the military.

    The Constitution states "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States". Forcing a person to conclude an oath with the words "so help me God" is clearly a religious test. An atheist would not be able to honestly say those words.

    As the military oath was originally drafted by the Congress of 1789, it had no such phrase. In fact, this was only added in 1862. It is high time that we returned to the what the Founders envisioned.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 4:11 p.m.

    Yeah, we don't need to be claiming to be 'bombing for god'.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    Oct. 25, 2013 3:04 p.m.

    @ The Scientist - Provo, UT - "This is a good thing. The AF Academy has had a problem for years with religious discrimination and favoritism: "Christians" helping one another advance, discriminating against non-Christians, and preaching a Christians-vs-Islam ideology reminiscent of the Crusades. Things need to change."

    What is your proof?

    My proof is the fact that I've been an active duty USAF officer for 22 1/2 years and have never, repeat never seen even the slightest hint of discrimination against "non-Christians" in a career where I've interacted with thousands of Air Force personnel at over 7 assigned bases and dozens of TDY (temporary duty) base locations.

    But then again, you would know better than I do......

    (By the way, I'd include my rank, my branch of service and the base I'm assigned to but the last 4 times (yes, 4 times) I tried to do that, the DeseretNews moderators keep finding excuses not to post my comment.)

    Apparently, even though we're encouraged to post with our real names, when you really do post your real name it's suddenly considered "personal information".

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 2:21 p.m.

    @ Lightbearer

    Thanks for a definition version of AD. You say it does not stand for After Death. If you want to get completely technical, well then sure. However, since Roman and British Conquest, it has been referred to just that, AD, time periods. In fact it was the early beginning of what led to the crusades, a religious conflict.

    But since we are getting technical, A.D. is the abbreviation of the Latin term anno Domini, as you explain. Which its many definitions is the division fall during a Christian era. Thus the Birth and Death of Christ as it was used from and before.

    Next:

    And the Lord never said not to take an Oath. He did say all Oaths should be taken between you and the Lord, and that you should not perjure yourself by an Oath. To take an Oath outside of the Lord would then be to perjure yourself as the only one who can hold you accountable is God. This can all be found in Exodus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, etc. Heck even Joseph took an Oath in Genesis with God for the Children of Israel.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 25, 2013 1:58 p.m.

    @bj-hp – “You and other critics are confrontational which has no place here.”

    The “cherish freedom more than you” comment was uncalled for and over the line.

    I’m sorry you see our engagement in the discussion as being motivated by hate & disgust. I think we’re just expressing on own points of view in a forum (and country) that values the marketplace of ideas more than conformity (religious or otherwise).

    And I would defend your right to do the same, and want to offer my sincere thanks for your service in protecting our right to do so as well.

    Peace…

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 1:31 p.m.

    Re: "Study up on 'Year of out Lord' my friend.... You are right, it is how dates were calculated. It began with the death of Christ. This is where the term 'Year of our Lord' came from. It is a recognition of his death, and then dates today were calculated from that period of time."

    The "year of our Lord" is the English translation of the Medieval Latin "anno Domini," abbreviated A.D. The abbreviation A.D. does not stand for "After Death." It has nothing to do with Jesus's death, but with the traditional year of his birth. The year A.D. 1 was thought to be the year Jesus was born. This method of reckoning years was not devised until the early 6th century, and did not become widespread until the 9th century.

    Since Jesus said "Do not take oaths at all," shouldn't Christians be in favor of scrapping the oath altogether? Or didn't Jesus really mean it, or was he just kidding?

    Is the best way of honoring and obeying Jesus to insist on doing the opposite of what he said?

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    Oct. 25, 2013 12:40 p.m.

    Ranch: There will come a time where every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is The Christ. You may not see and neither may I but it will happen just as surely as you are living today. You and other critics are confrontational which has no place here. You really don't belong so why come but to express your own hate and disgust to the people who cherish freedom more than you or any of your associates will ever do.

    We may as well take the motto off our money, IN GOO WE TRUST, as we do with the oaths. I served 20 years in a military that gave you the right to be free but you like others wish to take that freedom away from us.

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 12:36 p.m.

    @Ranch

    Study up on "Year of out Lord" my friend. Re-read my post. You are right, it is how dates were calculated. It began with the death of Christ. This is where the term "Year of our Lord" came from. It is a recognition of his death, and then dates today were calculated from that period of time. The World recognized it as such, because they recognized a Lord and Savior. Thus the "Year of our Lord"

    I also said in my post, that I know they did not make mention of God anywhere. I was making a point that if you are going to remove "So help me God", why not just go as far to say that we need a new date system as well, since it is recognized and started from the time of Christ death.

    Heck, all these non believers want to take God out of everything, so why don't we just go ahead and start from the beginning. I think you can honestly say that is where it all started, so lets not just pick and choose our ignorance of where we begin, but yet lets start from the beginning and move forward.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 12:18 p.m.

    @bj-hp;

    You'd better drink a lot of water before you start you crying; it's going to take a lot of tears for you to complete your self-appointed task.

    @UB;

    That they used "Year of our Lord" in no way proves they believed in god in any way. It's how dates were calculated and was common parlance.

    @A Guy With A Brain;

    It isn't a war against religion, it's simply taking away religion's authority over us.

  • A Guy With A Brain Enid, OK
    Oct. 25, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    So....liberals are screaming bloody murder over the mention of "God" in an honor code oath at the Air Force academy.

    And yet there is no "war on religion"?

    Does.

    Not.

    Compute.

    I mean, if it's not an attack on the religious, what is it? A free trip to Disneyland?

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 11:38 a.m.

    The next thing we'll tell the military, is that they no longer have families. Since that will offend those that do something other than One man and One woman that are married.

    After all you don't want to offend single people, divorced people, polygamists people, gay people, players etc.

    You can't mention God or religion, but, now the government is pushing to let people partake of drugs and make that institution legal.

    Why can't people see through what is happening? It's soo very obvious.

    Then again there are Germans and people today that actually believe the Holocaust never happened. Or atheists controlled Soviet Union and other countries discriminated against people of faith, marching millions of the faithful to their deaths or working them in the gulags to their deaths.

    Hope and change is here everyone! This is what you chanted about and re-elected.

    Now it's a sad country song....Maybe we can turn it around in 2014.

    Got my health care back, got my freedom to worship back, got my money back, got my truck back, got my freedoms back, and kicked bo out of this country along with his goonies

  • donahoe NSL, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    See the concept of "ceremonial deism" as defined by the supreme court several times.

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 10:48 a.m.

    @CHS 85

    I too am not a AFA graduate, but a Military Veteran also. I thought I would point out to you the following.

    First, You also gave an oath that concluded with "So help me God" upon your enlistment. It is what made you a soldier or officer.

    Second, You also stated you would "defend the Constitution, against both foreign and domestic." And no where in the Constitution does it mention or refer to God.

    However, there is one place that every single signer of the Constitution recognized God. At the end of the Constitution it does state the date of ratification and was signed "In the year of our Lord." There is NO year of our Lord if you do not recognize the death and resurrection of the LORD and Savior. Each of these men did.

    Lastly, the Taliban is not a fighter of God. They are an Islamic Fundamentalist Political Movement. They are governed by Sharia Law, which most Islamic Leaders do not recognize as Gods law, or Mohammad's law. The Taliban takes what they want from it and claim it as their own to excuse their actions. This is different than your thoughts.

  • Pete1215 Lafayette, IN
    Oct. 25, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    I agree with CHS 85. I also am a veteran (U.S. Navy), and one pledges to defend the Constitution of the Unites States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Theology is no where a part of the picture.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Oct. 25, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    Apparently some would rather have the military swear an oath they don't believe in than be true to their consciences. Religious freedom means just that, the freedom to believe as we choose. It doesn't matter if our nation was "founded on Christian principles," that founding included the inability of government to establish a particular faith. For my LDS brothers and sisters, the 11th Article of Faith also reminds us that:

    "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where or what they may."

    That's a pretty broad statement and the beauty of it is that it defends rights for those who believe differently than we do. That is the essence of religious freedom and the "do unto others" golden rule.

    If America is truly Christian, then we need to start showing it by following the Savior, instead of just talking about Him and using our faith as a form of bully-pulpit-entitlement.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 9:40 a.m.

    I'm not an AFA graduate, but am a veteran of the military. I didn't join the military to fight for and defend God. I joined the military to fight for and defend the USA. If you want to fight for and defend God, then the Taliban or other tribal organization may be for you. I served the people of the United States regardless of their religious affiliation, or lack thereof.

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    "Again, you have heard that it was said to an older generation, 'Do not break an oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.' But I say to you, do not take oaths at all – not by heaven, because it is the throne of God, not by earth, because it is his footstool, and not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. Do not take an oath by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black. Let your word be 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no.' More than this is from the evil one" - Matthew 5:33-37.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 9:12 a.m.

    To me, God and religion are two different things. Many of the founders of this country came here to avoid religious persecution (from certain religions) yet they had a stalwart faith in God. The phrase "So help me God" is a reminder that the oath is not to be taken lightly. It brings into the minds of those taking the oath that they have sworn it before someone greater then themselves; that the oath means something more than pretty words. Freedom of religion does not mean freedom from God. Freedom to practice a religion, or not, according to the dictates of our conscience is our inalienable right. But God remains over all whether we acknowledge this fact or not.

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    These stories like this have got to be the most absurd thing. Seriously, is it that big of a deal if it is said or not. The Oath is there, it has it in it, so what does it matter? If you don't want to say it, then don't say it. Hold yourself accountable and move on. These people who keep filing these lame law suits, and keep trying to force these lame things about removing God for this and that. Do you not have anything more important in your life to do? So you don't believe in God. I would venture to guess that the vast majority who do believe in a God are traditionally good people and it is a good thing to those who do. So if you are so worried about people, etc. Why in the heck would you try to tear something down that traditionally promotes and brings out the good in people? It amazes me, so you win your argument or case and you sit back in your lazy boy and gloat in your victory. Lame!

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 9:05 a.m.

    Donahoe,

    Don't confuse secular government for secular nation. This nation was established on Judeo/Christian values and principles. Those same principles and values guided the founders to establish a constitution (government) that was secular (neutral regarding religion), as that was the only way to protect religious freedom.

    We have written record of many founders who went on to express their belief that the only way we could maintain a strong country was for the citizens to retain a conviction that god was the source of their rights, not the constitution (government).

    The culture in this country has been religious from its inception. It is only now, over 400 years since Jamestown, that we have seen a significant change in that culture; toward self and away from god.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    I think these are the kind of incidents that lead people to feel like, or talk about, religion being attacked in America.

    I know it's not taking away anybody's rights, but it sure sounds like America is becoming less and less tolerant of any reference to "God" or religion.

    The Scientist,
    The phrase "so help me God", is not a Christian thing. It's whatever God you believe you would be accountable to in your oaths. That would include any religion I know of.

    If you remove it... who are you pledging too and expecting to be held accountable too? Obama?

  • donahoe NSL, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 8:24 a.m.

    Dear Tekakaromatagi and neighbors,
    This issue is not whimsical or hearsay. This is largely based on relentless efforts by Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein who graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1977. I suggest you look into his efforts, because he has written extensively on the issue. He is doing what he learned to do well as an officer, he is providing leadership. He is serving the call of duty (a word heard far too seldom in today's political discourse).

    As far as US history, I point you to the book titled "The Godless Constitution" in which the authors explain early American history. The reality of religious strife is what drove the founders to draft he Constitution as they did (and thus the title of the book).

    As an adult, does it surprise you that life (and history) is more complex than you thought as a child? I would hope that the richness of life's experiences is a gift you enjoy each and every day.

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 8:21 a.m.

    @ Scientist; I thought scientists believed in facts, not 'faith' or 'belief'. If you have facts to support your statements, let's see them.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 25, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    @Mountanman – “Then swearing any oath has no meaning, no purpose.”

    As a taxpayer I would hope that for military cadets, the oath to protect and defend the Country/Constitution would be enough.

    And does it make any sense (or send the right message about personal integrity) to force the increasing number of “nones” to pledge to (in their view) an imaginary being?

    Madison would be proud!

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Oct. 25, 2013 7:29 a.m.

    Mountanman, when you give your word, or pledged to do something, it is wholly up to you as a person. What difference does it make if there is a God or not? What difference does it make if you believe in a God. You, said you would do or not do something. If you don't have the personal character to do as you say, what difference does referencing God make?

    This has nothing to do with whether there are things sacred or not. It's entirely about personal character.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 6:11 a.m.

    How many comments are there going to be before the "war on religious freedom" comments start?

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Oct. 25, 2013 6:02 a.m.

    @Scientist:

    "The AFAcademy has had a problem for years with religious discrimination and favoritism: "Christians" helping one another advance, discriminating against non-Christians, and preaching a Christians-vs-Islam ideology reminiscent of the Crusades."

    Really? Would you care to elaborate or this hearsay?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Oct. 25, 2013 5:44 a.m.

    Then swearing any oath has no meaning, no purpose. If nothing is sacred, nothing meaningful, nothing more important or larger than oneself, what possible meaning can anything have? Honor compared to what? Yourself? Commitment to what? Dedication to whom, yourself? Thou shalt have no other god before the government?

  • Mike Johnson Stafford, VA
    Oct. 25, 2013 3:34 a.m.

    Taking "so help me God" out of the honor code oath will do nothing to change a perceived pro-Christian bias at the Air Force Academy.

    Of course, graduates of the academy, on commissioning, will still say those words in the oath they take as 2nd lieutenants and then periodically on promotion throughout their careers.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 11:53 p.m.

    I don't see any thing with the fraze. But that's just me wanting to be a good person. America was founded on Christen principles. I figure, it's their house they make the rules. Respect the privilege to live in America.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 9:58 p.m.

    This is a good thing. The AFAcademy has had a problem for years with religious discrimination and favoritism: "Christians" helping one another advance, discriminating against non-Christians, and preaching a Christians-vs-Islam ideology reminiscent of the Crusades. Things need to change.