28 September 2011

The US Air Force defends the Constitution

For some time now we've been hearing disturbing stories about religious proselytizing and pressure within the military, ranging from officers pushing religion on their subordinates to coercion to attend religious-themed events to an ethics/indoctrination course on "just war theory" that has come to be known as "Jesus Loves Nukes". Since the alarm was raised about such anti-Constitutional practices, the military has made some effort to curb them; for example, the "Jesus Loves Nukes" training was suspended at the beginning of August (the initiative for this, note, was taken by a group of Air Froce officers who are themselves mostly Christians).

This month General Norton Schwartz, the Air Force Chief of Staff, issued a memo firmly prohibiting this behavior:

Leaders at all levels.....must avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion. Commanders or supervisors who engage in such behavior may cause members to doubt their impartiality and objectivity.

[C]ommanders.....must refrain from appearing to endorse religion generally or any particular religion.

More on the memo and its background here. While one might wish that this action had been taken much earlier, it's understandable that the top leadership might not have been aware of activities like proselytizing within the ranks, or of the exact content of ethics- training courses, until word about these abuses filtered out into the civilian media and raised controversy. It's gratifying to see that, once the magnitude of the problem became clear, the Air Force's top officer issued such a firm directive. Now we need to see whether those officers who have been pushing religion will obey or defy it -- and, if the latter, how well it will be enforced.

Between this and the end of DADT, it's been a good month for the military.


Blogger Andrew Hall said...

Definitely good news.

28 September, 2011 05:08  
Blogger okjimm said...

ya, but a better month for the military is when we leave the middle east. Damn... if it would work, I would pray for it.

28 September, 2011 07:43  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

I've seen little snippets about this but hadn't realized how pervasive it was. Good for General Schwartz.

28 September, 2011 08:24  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Definitely a good month for the military.

It always amazes me that the majority religion in any group of people never sees itself as proselytizing when it forces its beliefs onto others.

They never consider themselves arrogant when they do this, but if an atheist were to suggest that belief in incorporeal beings is irrational, that they consider effrontery!

Go figure.

28 September, 2011 09:21  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I think they're so firmly convinced they're right, that they can't see things from anyone else's viewpoint.

28 September, 2011 14:36  
Anonymous Chris said...

Kudos to the Commander-in-Chief, indeed. One shudders to think how many indoctrination classes would be tacitly mandated by a Bachmann, Perry or Cain led military.

Keep kicking ass, Obama. We can't survive another Republican administration.

29 September, 2011 13:26  

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