Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Air Force Pulls Reference to God from Unit Motto

There has been a succession of recent moves to expunge – or perhaps ‘politically cleanse’ would be a better term – any reference to God in general or Christianity in particular from the public square.  Today we see that the Air Force has removed such a reference from the motto of the Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO), a highly placed unit that is directly overseen by a board that includes the Undersecretary of Defense (Acquisitions), the Secretary of the Air Force, and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

The motto on the unit escutcheon used to read Opus Dei Cum Pecunia Alienum Efficemus, meaning “[doing] God’s work from [with] the money of others”.  The words Opus Dei have been replaced with Miraculi, rendering the meaning now to be “[doing] miracles with the money of others”.

The motto is more whimsy than theology, as the meaning has no real reference in scripture.

In keeping with the mission of the unit, this most recent move from the Air Force is in rapid response to a complaint from the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers.  (A quick internet search of the group’s name yields my suspicion that the active component of the ‘association’ is likely not much larger than the spokesman, Jason Torpy.  I am always reminded in these circumstances of the Symbionese Liberation ‘Army’ of the mid-1970s, which probably never numbered more than fourteen.  The British satirical group Monty Python did a good turn on these grandiose titles in The Life of Brian.)

This move has compelled Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Virginia), along with a bipartisan group of some 35 legislators, to write a letter of complaint to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norman Schwartz.  Referring to the deletion of the Latin ‘God’:

Because such alteration certainly was not required by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, we call on you to reverse this troubling decision. . . .
[W]e are deeply concerned that the RCO capitulated to pressure from an outside group that consistently strives to remove references to God and faith from our nation’s military.
The First Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits the establishment of religion; however, the mere mention of God does not rise to this level.  The action taken by the RCO suggests that all references to God, regardless of their context, must be removed from the military.  As we are confident that your legal advisors would not suggest that censorship is required for compliance with the First Amendment, we ask that you reverse this perplexing decision.
This is the same Donley and Schwartz to whom Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) wrote when the Air Force removed references to Christian theologians from a class on ethics and Just War theory.  That issue apparently still remains unresolved.

Congressman Forbes earlier introduced a resolution to re-affirm ‘In God We Trust’ as the nation’s motto.  Obama said at the time that the bill was a waste of time, commenting “I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work.”  Obama here confused scripture with Aesop’s Fables, but it is typical for him to be confused on the topic (such as his statement that Jesus wants us to be our brother’s keeper – that would actually be Cain, not Jesus); or condescending to people of faith (speaking disdainfully about those who ‘cling to religion’); or try to usurp articles of faith through government fiat (some detailed by Scott Johnson in Powerline’s series “Obamacare Against the Church”).

It is an unfortunate continuation of the removal of articles of traditional Christian faith (involving an administration careful about the sensibilities of Islamic Supremacists) in favour of those who express a faith that there is no God.

(H/T to Christian Fighter Pilot)

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