9/20/14

"So help me God ..."

USAF has once again stepped on its pecker over religion. It wasn't enough that they got their heads handed to them over the forced proselytizing and abuse of 'non-Christian' or 'improperly Christian' cadets up at USAFA ... so back in October 2013 they changed the manner of administering the oath of enlistment to *require* troops to include 'so help me God.'

The oaths of enlistment and commissioning are defined in the US Code, and they both include the phrase 'so help me God' at the end.

The problem with that, is the existence of the US Constitution, which explicitly states that "...  but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." 

It seems somewhat contradictory that an oath to protect and defend the Constitution would actually violate the Constitution, but it does ... or at least, it would, were it actually required of oath-takers to include that 'so help me God' phrase.

Until USAF got another evangelical bug up its ass, it has never been required of any oath-taker to actually include that phrase. So the conflict between the US Code and the Constitution has never really gotten out of hand. Many, possibly most, do include the oath. But many choose not to, and that is - according to the Constitution they are swearing to protect and defend - their right. It is not up to the Air Staff to decide otherwise.

A good many of the 'Christian' Right have a bug up *their* asses over the shocking revelation (as opposed to Revelation) that there are not only people who don't recite the phrase, and who not only refuse adamantly to do so, but who are willing to make a huge stink over being required to include it.

They need to get over it. It should suffice that a person be willing to serve the nation, and if necessary, bleed for it, and quite possibly die for it. Anything else is so much BS, and rather than express their self-righteous prickishness, they should simply be glad there are those willing to serve.

The old saw that 'there are no atheists in foxholes' is also so much BS. Staunch believers, overwhelmed by the butchery and destruction of warfare, have asked, "What kind of God allows this?" and not receiving any coherent answers from God's professionals, cease believing. OTOH, others, cowering (even the bravest will cower under the right conditions; it is what they do in spite of the cowering that makes them 'the bravest') in their foxholes whilst the (insert enemy of choice) blasts the landscape around them to a blood-soaked shambles, choose to allow God's embrace. All of that has nothing to do with the oath of enlistment. You'll note that it is a matter of personal choice and conviction, not something mandated by a pompous ass in a blue uniform.

So the Religious Right has once again completely missed the boat in their rants, raves, and shock and dismay.

Meanwhile, our national cemeteries continue to include not just those deemed acceptable by the Religious Right, but all who have served and died for us. The VA has several dozen different markers for the various faiths and non-faiths. You will find them all in one cemetery or another.

God bless the Armed Forces of the United States, and *all* who serve in them.