As people who already know who I am (or have read my little bio blurb over on the side of the page) will know, my day job is working for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). But, since the content of my blog here is naturally going to include political opinions, I want to make something very clear right from the start. This is my personal blog, and when I’m posting here I am not speaking for MRFF, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Any opinions I post here are my personal opinions, and not the opinions of MRFF.
That said, I will absolutely be posting about religion in the military, since the military is a bastion of the same Christian nationalism found in politics, education, and the media. I’ll also be posting about victories over Christian nationalism, and we just had a whopper of a victory in the Air Force! As reported last Friday by Truthout, and yesterday by The Washington Post, the Air Force has pulled the section of its missile launch training that had come to be known among some officers as the “Jesus loves nukes speech.”
How bad was this training? Well, not only did it use Christian theology and numerous Bible verses to justify nuclear war, but it quoted former Nazi and SS officer Wernher Von Braun as a moral authority. That’s right, the U.S. Air Force will do just about anything to work a quote endorsing the Bible into its training, no matter who that quote came from. In this case, they quoted Von Braun as saying upon surrendering at the end of WWII, “[W]e felt that only by surrendering such a weapon to people who are guided by the Bible could such an assurance to the world be best secured.”
This training has been around for about two decades, but it was only when about thirty Air Force officers decided to come to MRFF and do something about it that it was finally stopped. After working for MRFF for over four years, I’m not often shocked by anything that’s reported to us, but when I first saw the PowerPoint presentation used for this training I was speechless (except for a few choice expletives).
Last Wednesday, Truthout exposed the content of this training in an article titled “Air Force Cites New Testament, Ex-Nazi, to Train Officers on Ethics of Launching Nuclear Weapons.” By Friday, the training had been suspended. This is what happens when members of our military, like the thirty officers who decided to take a stand against this unbelievably reprehensible training, report these things to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
For those who want to see the “Jesus Loves Nukes” presentation for themselves, it’s available on the Air Force’s FOIA site, where documents that people have gotten with FOIA requests, which is how this presentation was obtained, are available to the public. There’s no way to post a direct link to the documents, so here’s how to get to it. Go to https://www.efoia.af.mil and click on the “FOIA Reading Room” link on the left side of the page. Select “Miscellaneous” in the drop down menu, and hit “Search.” (Just leave the default asterisk for “Document Name.”) The documents, titled “ICBM Training Material,” will show up on the first page of the list, and you can download them as a PDF. The nearly 40-slide “Ethics” training PowerPoint begins on page 4 of the PDF.