Christian Nation Nonsense in Military Training

FTBer Chris Rodda documents an appalling bit of training given by the U.S. military to foreign troops studying American culture and history. She quotes this passage from the training session that is simply incredible:

“Just as importantly, the church has a still-important role to play in the formulation of national values, ethics, and morals. Beginning with the liberal court of Franklin Roosevelt, the supreme court has divested American law from our religious cultural heritage. The justices have more pronouncedly than ever based their interpretations of law on the written verbiage of the us Constitution and increasingly less on the intentions of the founding fathers. The bible has become less and less an authority for the adjudication of complex legal issues.

“This trend has led to the complete disestablishment of church and state. American secondary schools, which were originally intended to provide religious education, have evolved to produce responsible citizens. The ethics and morals of citizenship, however, must be taught in a complete void of American religious heritage. Since the 1960’s, American law has forbade organized prayer in public schools. As late as 1992, such common and traditional rites as non-denominational benedictions at graduations have been banned. Issues arise over the portrayal of christmas nativity scenes at or on public land. And even such long-standing verbiage on us coins — in God we trust — has come under attack.

“Still, the values parents pass on to their children are, for the most part, those of our traditional, judeo-christian heritage. Without the benefit of public education, parents must rely on Sunday schools or their own tutoring to impart moral values. With this disestablishment of the church to the community level and with the shear vast diversity of the various sects and churches in this nation, one must wonder how we, as Americans, can claim any moral standards whatsoever. The answer lies in a greater ecumenical movement in to bring the majority of religions, sects, and denominations together on our basic values. For this reason, issues which are not given a second thought in nations possessing a religious homogeneity or majority, become major causes in the United States. The right to have abortions and civil rights for homosexuals are cases which immediately come to mind. Until reconciliation of traditional values occurs among the majority of churches, the debates will remain long and heated.”

Wow. This is David Barton-level dumb.

19 comments on this post.
  1. Ellie:

    Incredible, offensive, and surely a dozen other adjectives, but what I found puzzling was, “Without the benefit of public education, parents must rely on Sunday schools or their own tutoring to impart moral values.” So is this yet another instance of a person too lazy to teach his religious beliefs and moral values to his children so he wants the (teeny tiny) government to do it?

  2. anandine:

    He claims the Supreme Court bases “their interpretations of law on the written verbiage of the us Constitution” rather than the Bible.

    I’d say they base their interpretations based on gut feeling and ideology and then massage the written verbiage to rationalize it.

  3. The Christian Cynic:

    Beginning with the liberal court of Franklin Roosevelt

    Someone better versed in history can correct me, but wasn’t FDR trying to stack the court at one point, indicating that the court wasn’t quite that liberal? And what decisions exactly are objectionable from that Supreme Court?

    For this reason, issues which are not given a second thought in nations possessing a religious homogeneity or majority, become major causes in the United States.

    Sounds like someone’s jealous of Saudi Arabia.

  4. Eamon Knight:

    American secondary schools, which were originally intended to provide religious education, have evolved to produce responsible citizens.

    Did they just admit the two goals are not compatible? ;-)

  5. DaveL:

    American secondary schools, which were originally intended to provide religious education, have evolved to produce responsible citizens.

    Well, as least they seem to admit the two are in opposition.

  6. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne:

    What is it about wingnuttery that makes these people incapable of constructing a coherent English paragraph?

  7. democommie:

    Once again the fundamentallydeficient reveal their lack of belief in their ThreeO’s GOD’s ability to take care of his own shit.

    At this rate it won’t be long before the U.S. military has religious “commissars” as an analog to those in the russian military during WWII when idelogical purity was more important than winning the war.

    Somewhere in hell, Joe Stalin is laughing his ass off.

  8. Who Knows?:

    It is really difficult to imagine this kind of training in today’s military. When I served back in the 70′s I saw nothing of this kind of thing.

    Was there some point in time that things changed and this came about?

  9. Hank Fox:

    That “shear vast diversity” is obviously CUTTING us apart.

    Also interesting, if the quote is a direct quote, that “the bible” isn’t capitalized.

  10. scienceavenger:

    With this disestablishment of the church to the community level and with the shear vast diversity of the various sects and churches in this nation, one must wonder how we, as Americans, can claim any moral standards whatsoever

    Simple: recognize that moral standards come from human desires, cultural norms, and shared values, not religion. By claiming it is impossible to have morals without religion, you are the very cause of the problems you are complaining about. What’s next for you guys, tormenting homosexuals and then pointing at their depression as evidence that homosexuality is evil?

    Wait a minute…

  11. feralboy12:

    Someone better versed in history can correct me, but wasn’t FDR trying to stack the court at one point, indicating that the court wasn’t quite that liberal?

    Yeah, more or less. In 1937 he introduced a bill that would have allowed him to appoint another justice to the court for each sitting member over 70 years and six months of age, up to an additional six justices. Some of his new deal legislation had been ruled unconstitutional. It’s not considered Roosevelt’s finest moment.

    The justices have more pronouncedly than ever based their interpretations of law on the written verbiage of the us Constitution and increasingly less on the intentions of the founding fathers.

    Since it’s the Constitution that grants civilian control over the military, I can’t think of a more dangerous attitude than this one. Seven Days In May, anybody?

  12. Eamon Knight:

    By claiming it is impossible to have morals without religion….

    ISTM this argument shoots itself in the foot. The logic seems to be:

    1) Without religion, we will lose moral restraint.
    2) Without moral restraint, society will degenerate into a mayhem of murder, theft, cats living with dogs, etc….
    3) …which would be a Very Unpleasant Place to live.
    4) Ergo we’d better keep and strengthen (my) religion.

    But given we agree on #3, surely we can restrain the mayhem by agreeing amongst ourselves not to commit any (which is not an arduous requirement, for most of us — I’m not much given to homicidal urges, are you?), and by putting a place a system to restrain and punish those who break the rules. Adding “God” to that system seems superfluous — at which point you realize that it’s really just a scare story designed to preserve the power of religious institutions.

  13. Aquaria:

    Someone better versed in history can correct me, but wasn’t FDR trying to stack the court at one point, indicating that the court wasn’t quite that liberal? And what decisions exactly are objectionable from that Supreme Court?

    FDR tried to stack the courts, yes, because most of the justices were old and opposing everything he wanted to do. However–when FDR started pushing hard for one justice to be named for each current member who was over 70, it lit a fire under one of the justices, who suddenly found it convenient to reverse his opposition to minimum wage legislation, Social Security, and the National Labor Relations Act. By the end of that year (1937), FDR had a friendlier Supreme Court thanks to the friendlier justice, and having another of the fogeys die off and get replaced.

    To this day, conservatives like Buchanan are still pissed about minimum wage, Social Security and the National Labor Relations Act.

    Some of the other key Supreme Court decisions that conservatives hate:

    Johnson v Zerbst: upheld 6th Amendment right for citizens to have an attorney in federal court cases.

    Chambers v Florida: voided coerced confessions.

    Helvering v. Bruun: If a tenant improves the property of a landlord, the landlord can be taxed for the gain in value of the property.

    Thornhill v. Alabama: upholds labor picketing

    West Virginia SBOE v Barnette: Children in public schools can’t be forced to salute the American flag.

    Prince v Massachusetts. Parental authority over children is not absolute. Child labor on behalf of the religious beliefs of said child’s parents still violates statutes forbidding child labor.

    New Negro Alliance v Sanitary Grocery held that African Americans could boycott business if they chose. It also touched on some of the discriminatory hiring practices regarding African-Americans, and granted some feeble rights to them when it came to hiring.

    Erie Railroad held that state laws apply unless a federal law exists.

    I know I’m forgetting some others, but those are some of the major ones that I know piss off conservatives.

  14. Modusoperandi:

    Until reconciliation of traditional values occurs among the majority of churches, the debates will remain long and heated.

    I remember listening to Long & Heated on the hi-fi back in the 70s.

    The Christian Cynic “…wasn’t FDR trying to stack the court at one point, indicating that the court wasn’t quite that liberal?”
    No. It was liberal. And the reason he had such trouble stacking them was due to their egg heads. True story.

    “And what decisions exactly are objectionable from that Supreme Court?”
    Liberal. So…all of it.

  15. abb3w:

    This trend has led to the complete disestablishment of church and state.

    Wow! It’s now complete?

    …nope. My dollar bill still says “In God We Trust”. Darn.

  16. sailor1031:

    Well now I’m back to my normal state of confusion:

    “The justices have more pronouncedly than ever based their interpretations of law on the written verbiage of the us Constitution and increasingly less on the intentions of the founding fathers. The bible has become less and less an authority for the adjudication of complex legal issues”

    Maybe I’m missing something, but what better guide to the Founders’ intentions could we possibly have than what they wrote in the constitution – especially that part about government not establishing religion? Which makes the bible NO foundation for the resolution of “complex legal issues”.

  17. JD:

    It’s surprising no “skeptic” here has had the critical thinking skills to question where, exactly, this falls in their “training,” since Rodda notably leaves out any documentation of the source or syllabus.

    For the record, she cross-posted this at the Huffington Post, where someone actually did that. Between her comments and her critic’s, there is enough information to find the original document, which she didn’t bother to provide originally.

    If you actually look at the entire document, its asinine to say this in any way, shape, or form has any bearing on official military training or policy, which makes it nearly a waste of time to discuss. It appears someone did a poor internet search for a relevant document, did a copy/paste, and didn’t even read it.

    At best, you could say the (undocumented) text does not support the stated objectives. That is, if you bother to take the time to read the objectives of the course.

  18. Nemo:

    JD, thanks for the link (to a navy.mil site!), but I don’t see how it in any way contradicts or undermines the description, “an appalling bit of training given by the U.S. military to foreign troops studying American culture and history”, nor the more detailed description at Chris Rodda’s blog. In short… what are you on about?

    Anyway, I’m thinking this wasn’t written by a wingnut per se, but by a stupid, ignorant person drawing from a variety of sources, including wingnut sources. It has the feel of very clumsily trying to be even-handed, at least in the mind of the author.

  19. llewelly:

    sailor1031 : October 31, 2011 at 8:44 pm :

    Maybe I’m missing something, but what better guide to the Founders’ intentions could we possibly have than what they wrote in the constitution – especially that part about government not establishing religion?

    Thomas Jefferson wrote a bible. Therefor, the bible is the best guide to the intent of the authors of our constitution.

    … hey, don’t look at me that way – it’s no crazier than anything actually in the quote …

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