Published: November 10, 2013
Before being medically discharged, I remember my year at West Point, and the songs and chants we learned, such as "The Corps, bare-headed, salute it, with eyes up, thanking our God, that we of the Corps are treading where they of the Corps have trod."
Governor of Virginia, Mr. Separation himself, Thomas Jefferson, supported religious schooling. Why? "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," reads our First Amendment. Any English teacher and everyone who comprehends English, knows the difference between establishing something and allowing its influence, except extremists.
Founding father and revolutionary general George Washington called for a national day of thanksgiving to acknowledge God's providence in America. America's greatest general of the 19th century, Robert E. Lee, ordered his troops to obey the Sabbath, saying, "I can only say that I am. trusting in Christ alone for salvation." "Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid," begins a prayer by America's greatest 20th century general, West Point graduate Douglass MacArthur. This is what our most successful military leaders of the past did and had to say.
What's Air Force Academy graduate and atheist Mikey Weinstein say? Forget all that! Atheists portray themselves as the quintessence of reason. Oh, really?
Think about it. At what point is an oath not made to a power greater than oneself? So, Air Force Academy cadets make their oath to the nation-state? A higher power, true, but not one you'd wish to be unswervingly aligned to - witness atheist Josef Stalin's Russia or atheist Mao Zedong's China. Haven't you heard? Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
An oath to oneself? Jeremiah cuts to the quick: "The (human) heart is exceedingly deceptive. who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9).
"So help me God" recognizes human frailty. An oath that includes God means something; one made to anything or anyone else, means no more than the prevailing winds of the day. If one isn't to pledge oneself to God, as one understands God, any oath is so much wishful-thinking and, at heart, vacuous.
Mike Makinney works for Zaccheus Press and is writing a book entitled "Without Contradiction . Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage and the Word of God."
Mikey Weinstein's response:
Again, the MRFF supports Mr. Makinney and friends' right to add SHMG to the oath, meeting their sincere obligations. But Makinney's world (and Gen. Lee's) excludes all from service that don't believe as he (Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic, Jew) and is self-contradictory, given Matthew 5:33,37 "Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne. But let your communication be, Yea, Nay, for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." Upholding the First Amendment's freedoms, we choose the Constitution's Article 6 guidance against religious tests and cede to the soldier the right to choose her/his god (or not).