You knew when the Air Force made the perfectly reasonable decision to make “so help me God” voluntary in the Cadet Honor Code, the wingnuts were going to lose their minds over it. So of course two legislators from Texas are submitting a bill to make it mandatory again.
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, Congressman Sam Johnson (TX-03) introduced H.R. 3416, a bill that would require congressional approval prior to any change to Oaths of Office. Johnson joined by original co-sponsor Congressman Pete Olson (TX-22) released the following statement:
“Our Founding Fathers declared we are, ‘One nation under God,’ and you better believe I’ll fight like mad to keep it that way,” said Johnson.
No, you ignorant demagogue, they did not declare that. That phrase was added to the pledge of allegiance in 1954, more than a century and a half later. But that’s what is known as a “fact,” which is as irrelevant in your world as prayer as in mine. And the Air Force didn’t take the religious phrase out of the oath, it made it voluntary. A cadet who doesn’t believe in God can make the same oath without it. Hey, you know what other oath doesn’t include “so help me God”? The one the president takes. It’s right in the Constitution, written by those same Founding Fathers you are so fond of and so blissfully ignorant of.
Johnson spent nearly 7 years as a Prisoner of War (POW) in Vietnam – more than half of that time in solitary confinement. Remembering his time in captivity, Johnson said, “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.”
Only on Planet Wingnuttia and in George Orwell books could a bill to force non-religious soldiers to make religious statements be called an effort to protect religious freedom. Up is down, black is white, war is peace. And this kind of demagoguery just drives me crazy. Johnson being a former POW has absolutely nothing to do with the issue. He’s citing it solely to get people’s emotions fired up. But the argument is inane: “I’m a former POW whose faith in God helped him get through that experience, therefore Air Force cadets should be forced to make religious statements they don’t believe in” is an utterly moronic statement.
And seriously, why would they even want an atheist soldier to swear an oath to a god they don’t believe in? Wouldn’t that be taking his name in vain and lying? This is what they want to demand that Air Force officers do? Really?