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Air Force Suspends Christian-Themed Ethics Training Program Over Bible Passages
By Todd Starnes
Published August 03, 2011

The Air Force has suspended a course that was taught by chaplains for more than 20 years because the material included Bible passages.
The course, called “Christian Just War Theory” was taught by chaplains at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and used Scripture from both the Old and New Testaments to show missile launch officers that it can be moral to go to war.

But the watchdog group, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said the course violated the constitutional separation of church and state and filed a complaint last Wednesday on behalf of 31 missile launch officers – both instructors and students.

David Smith, the spokesman for the Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command, said the main purpose of the class was to help missile launch officers understand that “what they are embarking on is very difficult and you have to have a certain amount of ethics about what you are doing to do that job.”
He said the class was suspended the same day the complaint was filed.

The class is currently under review by Air Force officials who will determine whether or not to revise the material or end the class.
“In an effort to serve all faiths, we try to introduce none in our briefings and our lectures,” Smith told Fox News Radio. “Once we heard there were concerns, we looked at the course and said we could do better.”
Smith said the inclusion of the Bible verses was an “inappropriate approach” in a “pluralistic society.”

“The use of Bible passage and other elements was just inappropriate,” he said. Mikey Weinstein, the president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, hailed the military’s decision to suspend the course. “We’re very pleased that the Air Force did it,” Weinstein told Fox News Radio. “Had they not done that, we would have filed an immediate class-action lawsuit in federal court to force their hand.”
Weinstein said the officers who complained are Protestant and Roman Catholics, noting the class was simply “unconstitutional training.”

“The United States Air Force was promoting a particular brand of right-wing fundamentalist Christianity,” he said. “The main essence was that war is a natural part of the human experience and it’s something that is favored by this particular perspective of the New Testament.
Weinstein said he was particularly concerned about a passage of Scripture that was taught from the New Testament book of Revelations. The passage, chapter 19, verse 11, describes Jesus as a mighty warrior, Weinstein said.

But David French, senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, said there is no violation of the Constitution. “Just-War theory has been a vital part of American military history for the last several hundred years,” French said, dismissing the complaints as what he called “another attempt to cleanse American history of its religious realities.”

“It’s about cleansing religion from the public square and building a completely secular society and military, said French. Commander Daniel McKay, a retired U.S. Navy Chaplain, agreed, telling Fox News Radio he was deeply concerned by the military’s decision.
“Why is it inappropriate to give our people guidelines that have withstood the test of time – to give us moral guidance,” McKay asked. “I think there are certain segments within our society who are making concerted efforts to take us away from our Judeo-Christian values, principles and morals,” he said.
“History will prove that if you stay true to God’s wisdom, it will serve us well and it has served us well.” McKay said it’s possible that parts of the military are trying to play “all sides of the fence – trying to take a middle-of-the-road approach.”
That, he said, is a mistake. “If you stay in the middle of the road, you become road kill,” McKay said, urging the military to stay true to what the Founders established.
“You need to take a stand.”

The Air Force and Weinstein denied that political correctness had anything to do with the suspension of the class. “Everyone in the military takes an oath to support and defend, protect and preserve this United States Constitution, which absolutely separates church and state,” Weinstein said.
“The military is made up of people from all walks of life, all faiths,” Smith said. “It’s most appropriate to let folks practice their faith on their own and not try to introduce something else to them.”

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Commentary below from Univ. of Pittsburgh Researcher, Gary Morella re the news article today:

stlouisixon Open Thread

In regard to the referenced report from FOX News below regarding the action of the Air Force in being intimidated by the ignorant to include purported people of faith, the following comments are in order.

There is NO Constitutional separation of Church and State.  NOWHERE is that found in the Constitution, and just because activist judges may rule to the contrary in erroneously reading into The Constitution what ISN’T THERE, that doesn’t make it right.  I seem to recall Dred Scott was upheld by just such a horrendous decision.

As for any Catholics who don’t believe in a just war, they are a reflection of poor catechesis on the part of those who should care more for their souls, as evinced by their ignorance of the teaching of Thomas Aquinas, doctor of the Church, who clearly explained under what conditions a war is just, which, evidently, was never taught to them in their woeful Catholic formation

See the following link from The Summa Theologica from the Catholic Encyclopedia
SUMMA THEOLOGICA: War (Secunda Secundae Partis, Q. 40)

I answer that, In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. For it is not the business of a private individual to declare war, because he can seek for redress of his rights from the tribunal of his superior. Moreover it is not the business of a private individual to summon together the people, which has to be done in wartime. And as the care of the common weal is committed to those who are in authority, it is their business to watch over the common weal of the city, kingdom or province subject to them. And just as it is lawful for them to have recourse to the sword in defending that common weal against internal disturbances, when they punish evil-doers, according to the words of the Apostle (Romans 13:4): “He beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil”; so too, it is their business to have recourse to the sword of war in defending the common weal against external enemies. Hence it is said to those who are in authority (Psalm 81:4): “Rescue the poor: and deliver the needy out of the hand of the sinner”; and for this reason Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 75): “The natural order conducive to peace among mortals demands that the power to declare and counsel war should be in the hands of those who hold the supreme authority.”

Secondly, a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault. Wherefore Augustine says (QQ. in Hept., qu. x, super Jos.): “A just war is wont to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished, for refusing to make amends for the wrongs inflicted by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized unjustly.”

Thirdly, it is necessary that the belligerents should have a rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil. Hence Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. [The words quoted are to be found not in St. Augustine’s works, but Can. Apud. Caus. xxiii, qu. 1): “True religion looks upon as peaceful those wars that are waged not for motives of aggrandizement, or cruelty, but with the object of securing peace, of punishing evil-doers, and of uplifting the good.” For it may happen that the war is declared by the legitimate authority, and for a just cause, and yet be rendered unlawful through a wicked intention. Hence Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 74): “The passion for inflicting harm, the cruel thirst for vengeance, an unpacific and relentless spirit, the fever of revolt, the lust of power, and such like things, all these are rightly condemned in war.”

[END of Summa Reference]

We have gone from being a country under God to a country that mocks God leading to the necessity of debates on the merits of partial birth infanticide, cloning, stem cell research, and the promotion of sexually perverse lifestyles as a cause for affirmative action in a civil rights sense.

Beware more of he who kills the soul than the body.  The former has eternal consequences more horrible than anything that can happen in this life to include especially any and all forms of physical death.

In almost all of the wars fought for America with the exception of Vietnam as a function of how it was waged and given the outcome, Vietnam is now completely communist, we have enjoyed the protection of the Almighty.  We stood for decency, not debauchery.

When my dad and uncles went to war in the 40s, suffering through the agony of the Aleutian campaign and Iwo Jima respectively, our country wasn’t telling us that killing millions of innocents in the womb in the most hideous of fashion, and promoting sexual deviancy was accepted law.  Do we believe that it was an accident that Vietnam ended as it did in ’74 after Roe v. Wade?  Not if we believe that God is in control.  Our consolation is that God allows good to come out of evil.

The just war theory has its roots are in classical Greek and Roman philosophy; it was transformed by the Christian philosophy of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas; and it has been developed by generations of philosophers hence. It is the official position on the morality of warfare adopted by the Roman Catholic Church, which says that a nation has a right and duty to defend its citizens. Thus members of the armed services are making a genuine contribution to peace.

What we’re witnessing is an attempt to eradicate the name of God from our country by the complete trashing of The Declaration of Independence, THE FOUNDING DOCUMENT of America, which recognized the absolute necessity of the importance the Law of Nature, and Nature’s God in order for a fledgling country to survive.

The founders of this country had no problem in referencing the Bible when they talked about the following:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

How could it be any clearer, by these words, that the founders were more than acquainted with Genesis?  It that was good enough for them, why isn’t it good enough for the Air Force who are ready to kowtow to those who would summarily trash a moral order upon which this country was founded?

If there was ever a time that our nation needed God’s blessing in order to survive, it is now when it’s meeting its greatest threat from the Godless within who have it by the jugular!  And that blessing will never be forthcoming by arrogantly erasing what the founders of this country saw as necessary for its survival!

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About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas


  1. tantamergo says:

    So, my best friend was a missile launch officer at Minot AFB, ND from 1999-2003. Towards the end of his tour, he was a crew commander and instructor. He is also a devout evangelical Christian (in spite of my efforts at Catholic evangelization!), as are many officers in the USAF. It is not well known that many USAF officers are devout Christians. Colorado Springs, CO, the location of the Air Force Academy where most officers are formed and trained, has been a hotbed of evangelicalism, and that evangelicalism has had an impact on the officers trained at AFA. Actually, the evangelical dominance in Colorado Springs that was especially apparent in the 80’s and 90’s has somewhat waned, but there is still a profoundly Christian outlook among many USAF officers. My friend, however, did not got to AFA, he’s an Aggie.

    This course actually makes perfect sense. Missile launch officers are charged with ‘turning keys’ on 10-50 megatons of ‘instant sunrise.’ That is a profoundly difficult thing to do, even if one is sure the US would never order such a launch unless a devastating attack had already been committed against the US. Many officers struggle with this. There are many training scenarios enacted to decondition officers to the difficulty of this act – there are many exercises run where the officers go through all the motions of launching the missiles, and in some of these exercises there is no advance notice that it is only a training exercise. As far as the men in the Launch Control Centers know, they are doing the ‘real thing.’ Having a thorough grounding in Just War theory can be a help to this predominately Christian group of men, to provide a philosophical basis that can clarify the justification for what they are being called to do. The fact that this very sensible training has now been called into question by those politically motivated forces that oppose any public religious act – no, that’s not right – any public exercise of Judeo-Christian religion, for they thoroughly endorse islam in the public square – is a tragedy and revealing of their undying hatred of Christianity in particular.

    In fact, the secular pagan left has become aware of the preponderance of Christians in the USAF leadership and has been waging a campaign against that preponderance for a decade or so now. Witness the construction of a “wicca” worship site on the Air Force Academy grounds in the last year or two – something that is frequented by maybe one or two possibly intentionally placed malcontents, but a dark stain of the pagan and satanic on a noble institution. There have been other lawsuits against USAF for retaining elements of the profoundly Christian character of this nation’s founding. The secular pagan left will not rest until it has completely squashed any remaining Christian character in the armed forces. The Navy is a sad example of where that will lead, with a collapse of morals in the service (over a dozen ship CO’s relieved of command this year alone for fornicating with subordinates on duty) and a further erosion of THE key component character of the formerly American ethos – Christianity.

    May God bless you Bishop Gracida, and thank you for your service.

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