Tuesday, April 1, 2014

You'd Think It's April Fools Day




Holy Moly, Wingman!  It's the Battle of the Billboards. 


On one side of this billboard skirmish, the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition has posted a billboard, near an entrance to the U.S. Air Force Academy, supporting the religious freedom of Academy cadets.  See 3/26/2014 announcement here.


Image source: Restore Military Religious Freedom

Literally, on the other side of this skirmish, the Military Religious Freedom has issued a 3/27/2013 press release announcing their billboard rebuttal. See here.

airforcebillboard1


Chad Groening, a Restore Regligious Freedom Coalition advocate, issued his 4/1/2014 over-the-top returning salvo here.

23 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

The anti-religious "Military Religious Foundation" is a racket.

http://christianfighterpilot.com/blog/2014/01/14/donations-to-mikey-weinstein-fall-but-his-paycheck-rises/comment-page-1/

Ray Soller said...

I knew I could count on TVD for some more of his usual off-the-topic tomfoolery stuff. (Thanks anyway for the head's up.) But back on topic, it's worth noting that the RMRFC billboard is based on fake history. None of the presidents memorialized on the face of Mt. Rushmore are known to have added SHMG to their presidential oath. Mathew Goldstein expands on this topic in his recent post to his blog, Fake history from the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition.

jimmiraybob said...

Tom's mind is the Cheyenne Mountain of epistemic closure. The minute we go to DEFCON Modernism the 100-ton blast doors swing shut and the nukes he's been polishing forever go air born.

That Christian Fighter Pilot trope has been handily dismantled and he'd be aware of it except during that discussion the blast doors closed with such great velocity that all the internal presets remained perfectly in tact.

Tom Van Dyke said...

No, the Mikey Weinstein tax returns were not forged.

http://www.christianfighterpilot.com/articles/files/mrffirs2012.pdf

Now it's your turn to withdraw your remarks.

Tom Van Dyke said...








Give your money to him if you want.

As for giving his nonsense free publicity, Ray, I'd rather see him actually waste the money on the billboard than make one out of cybervapor.

As for tomfoolery, bringing his culture war to this blog's front page is what's tomfoolery. I don't mind it in the comments, but this is supposed to be a history blog.

As for your historical point about "So Help Me God," you are as usual correct. Would that you had stopped there.

jimmiraybob said...

The CFP is a zealot with a hard on for Weinstein and a blog. Most excellent case that you present.

Ray Soller said...

Tom, there was more for the thorough reader to notice than just whether GW said SHMG. There's also this whopper from OneNewsNow covering what Ron Crews, executive director of the Christian Alliance for Religious Liberty, has been spouting:

Crews tells OneNewsNow “Most historians agree that when George Washington took his oath of office, he added the words 'so help me God' at the end of his oath of office. And every president since then has added those words."

What most historians have been saying since 1854 doesn't change anything. No matter the number of misinformed historians, there's no firsthand account saying that GW added SHMG to his oath of office. Furthermore, it's a joke to claim that every president since GW added those words. The every president bit only occurs since FDR's 1933 inauguration.

Chris Rodda said...

The biggest thing a thorough reader would have noticed is that Crews is spouting off about the wrong freakin' oath! It's Washington's Revolutionary War oath that's on MRFF's billboard, not his presidential oath! MRFF is using Washington's military oath -- the Oath of Allegiance taken by military officers -- because that's obviously the more apples-to-apples comparison to the oaths taken by military cadets than the presidential oath of office. I tried to post that in the comments on the OneNewsNow article, but they of course "moderated" my comment out of existence, so some of my Facebook followers tried to go post comments saying what I tried to post, and OneNewsNow's answer to that was to shut down the comments ... LOL

And, BTW, Tom ... this is an actual billboard that MRFF is putting up. We just put out a preview of it on the web ahead of the actual billboard. In fact, our billboard is going right on the other side of the historically inaccurate billboard. It should be up by tomorrow morning, weather permitting (they're expecting some snow in Colorado tomorrow morning).

Oh, and I should add that MRFF would like to thank Ray again. It was actually an email he sent me a while back that gave me the idea to start using Washington's military oath, which we used on a previous billboard and are now using again on this new billboard. So, thanks, Ray! And thank you also again for that little book you sent me. I have a feeling that's gonna come in very handy as this issue heat up. :-)

Tom Van Dyke said...

Everytime somebody here uses our front page to give Mikey Weinstein free advertising, I'm gonna tell people the truth about his little racket.

Frankly, Ray, if you must pump the culture war stuff on our frontt page, i think you should tell our readers the WHOLE store.

http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20131025/NEWS/310230013/Academy-makes-God-optional-cadets-oath

In this case, the AF Academy made SHMG optional in its honor code, but that's not good enough for Mikey Weinstein and his ilk, they want to scorch the other.

Religious "freedom" my ass. Even their name is a lie.

Chris Rodda said...

Yeah, you keep doing that, Tom, if that's what floats your boat. Nobody whose opinion we'd give a rat's ass about is going to believe you any more than they'd believe your source the "Christian Fighter Pilot," so knock yourself out.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Dishonest attack. Your organization's tax returns themselves tell the whole story.

http://www.christianfighterpilot.com/articles/files/mrffirs2012.pdf

And your organization's billboard is misleading. Air Force cadets were always "free" to omit "So help Me God."

Michael Heath said...

Chris Rodda,

Thanks once again for your hard work exposing liars and defending the religious freedom rights of our military personnel.

Chris Rodda said...

Actually, Tom ... there is no double standard on our part at all. We have verifiable cases of cadets being told that they MUST add the words or their commissioning oath would not be legal.

You want proof? Here is an actual email sent to the cadets telling them that their oath would not be legal unless they included the SHMG:

From: ---------- MSgt USAF USAFA CW/CS21
Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2013 10:45 AM
To: CS21_C14_ALL; CS21_C15_All; CS21_C16_All; CS21_C17_ALL
Cc: ---------- Maj USAF USAFA USAFA CG3/CS21; ---------- Maj USAF USAFA CW/CS27
Subject: INFO: Change to Oath of Office (Optional "So Help Me, God."

Soon-to-be-Lieutenants,

Bottom Line: Don't expect to have any words changed in the near future.
You may remember seeing guidance regarding another Commissioning Source out of Maxwell AFB and an Airman challenging the last sentence in the Officer's Oath of Office ("So Help Me, God."). The Airman was allowed to omit the this statement. I engaged Cadet Personnel earlier this semester regarding this possible change for those who would prefer to omit this verbiage as well (both verbally and on the Form 103 -- your Commissioning documentation -- where the Oath is written and your signature is required). They had received no specific guidance. I also questioned the Chaplain Corps who also had received no specific guidance. Today, I spoke with the JAG and have the following information update:

The Air Force has since rescinded the guidance of omission. The Oath of Office is governed by Congressional Oversight. The words in the Oath of Office MUST be said in order for your Commissioning to be legal. Legislation is addressing the possibility of change however, due to other business priorities, who knows when this will be looked at again. If you are passionate about changing this legislation I encourage you to contact your Congressional Representatives and let them know how you feel. If you'd like to discuss this topic further I'm always here.

~MSgt ----------
Blackjacks 21 AMT

Tom Van Dyke said...

That's not the whole story and you know it. When are you going to tell the whole truth and stop telling half-truths? From your own website:

http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2013/10/military-times-academy-makes-god-optional-in-cadets-oath/

– OCTOBER 28, 2013
Selected Article Excerpt:

The Air Force Academy on Friday announced that it will now be optional for cadets to recite “so help me God” at the end of its honor oath.

The academy made the change in response to a complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which advocates for the separation of church and state in the military.

“Here at the academy, we work to build a culture of dignity and respect, and that respect includes the ability of our cadets, airmen and civilian airmen to freely practice and exercise their religious preference — or not,” academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said. “So, in the spirit of respect, cadets may or may not choose to finish the honor oath with ‘so help me God.’ ”

But MRFF President Mikey Weinstein said the academy’s decision isn’t enough.

“The Air Force Academy took the cowardly route,” Weinstein said after the announcement. “From our perspective, it still creates a tremendous amount of unconstitutional turmoil … for anyone who is a religious objector.”

Weinstein pledged earlier in the week to bring a lawsuit against the academy if the religious language is not dropped entirely from the oath.


Optional isn't good enough for you people. You want to scorch the earth.

Ray Soller said...

Tom, if you were really interested in the whole story with the whole truth, you could have provided the link to the original story as written by Stephen Losey and published by the Military Times.

Instead, you chose to leave out the part that said, Click to read more.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Blogger Ray Soller said...
Tom, if you were really interested in the whole story with the whole truth, you could have provided the link to the original story as written by Stephen Losey and published by the Military Times.

Instead, you chose to leave out the part that said, Click to read more.

April 5, 2014 at 8:44 AM


Actually, Chris Rodda's organization edited the piece; I took it from their website. Why do get on my back instead of theirs, Ray? If you're going to play moderator, take your thumb of the scale.

“You cannot have anyone swear an oath to a supreme being to take a position in the federal government,” Weinstein said. “What we’re talking about is civil rights.”

Among the options the committee discussed were making no change to the oath, making the “so help me God” portion optional, or striking the entire oath.

But Weinstein said nothing short of eliminating the “so help me God” language from the oath is acceptable. Making it optional would not be good enough, he said, because airmen who chose not to say it would feel pressure.


Uh huh. He wants the oath struck, but his question

Are you free NOT to say "So help Me God"

has already been answered in the affirmative---according to the full link YOU just posted--yes, you are already "free" not to say it.

This is a phony controversy.

wsforten said...

The Supreme Court briefly noted in Zorach v. Clauson that the inclusion of the phrase "so help me God" at the end of courtroom oaths is not a violation of the First Amendment. If this phrase is not a violation in the courtroom oath, then it cannot be a violation in a military oath either.

The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State. Rather, it studiously defines the manner, the specific ways, in which there shall be no concert or union or dependency one on the other. That is the common sense of the matter. Otherwise the state and religion would be aliens to each other—hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly. Churches could not be required to pay even property taxes. Municipalities would not be permitted to render police or fire protection to religious groups. Policemen who helped parishioners into their places of worship would violate the Constitution. Prayers in our legislative halls; the appeals to the Almighty in the messages of the Chief Executive; the proclamations making Thanksgiving Day a holiday; "so help me God" in our courtroom oaths— these and all other references to the Almighty that run through our laws, our public rituals, our ceremonies would be flouting the First Amendment. A fastidious atheist or agnostic could even object to the supplication with which the Court opens each session: "God save the United States and this Honorable Court."

Ray Soller said...

wsforten, thank you for referring back to the 1953, cold war era, Supreme Court ruling, but the current topic under discussion does not involve courtroom oaths, or any formally legislated military oath. (BTW, where does the courtroom supplication, "God save the United States and this Honorable Court" come from?

The issue, in part, involves the annual recitation of the Air Force Academy Honor Code that states, We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, so help me God.

The West Point equivalent does not include the words "so help me God," It simply states, A cadet will not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do. See here.

Tom Van Dyke said...

The Air Force cadets are already free to omit "so help me God." The billboard and this whole phony issue are needless agitation by people who make their living creating bogus controversies.

"...these and all other references to the Almighty that run through our laws, our public rituals, our ceremonies would be flouting the First Amendment. A fastidious atheist or agnostic could even object to the supplication with which the Court opens each session: "God save the United States and this Honorable Court." ---Zorich v. Clausen

Exactly, Mr. Forten. And don't think they don't have that on their to-do list.

Chris Rodda said...

Wow ... way to make me and MRFF sound dishonest, Tom, responding to Ray's comment by saying "Chris Rodda's organization edited the piece; I took it from their website."

Saying we "edited" the piece really does make it sound like we were trying to hide something, doesn't it?

Of course, anyone who follows the link in your previous comment and goes to our website will see that our "editing" was merely our not infringing on the copyright of the original article by using the proper practice of quoting only a few lines from the article with a link to the original article.

But, hey, if you can word things to make me and/or MRFF sound like we're doing something suspicious, you just can't pass up the opportunity to do that, now can you?

Tom Van Dyke said...

Chris Rodda said...
Wow ... way to make me and MRFF sound dishonest, Tom, responding to Ray's comment by saying "Chris Rodda's organization edited the piece; I took it from their website."

Saying we "edited" the piece really does make it sound like we were trying to hide something, doesn't it?


Your reading comprehension is faulty, Chris.

I made no objection to the editing. Ray Soller did. I objected to

Why do get on my back instead of theirs, Ray? If you're going to play moderator, take your thumb [off] the scale.

As for you and/or the Mikey Weinstein organization being dishonest, your billboard is, for reasons given several times now. To repeat:

The Air Force cadets are already free to omit "so help me God." The billboard and this whole phony issue are needless agitation by people who make their living creating bogus controversies.

As for Weinstein and your organization, here's some free publicity

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/04/04/1289720/-Battle-of-the-Billboards-Christian-Taliban-vs-Constitution-at-Air-Force-Academy

so people can see how he really behaves when hanging out with his leftist audiences.

"MRFF has responded to this very latest vile and dishonest attempt at historical revisionism by these fundamentalist Christian supremacist cretins. "

Etc. Bearded Spock Universe.

Ray Soller said...

On May 8, 2014, Mikey Weinstein posted this article, The Last Lie of an Air Force Academy Cadet, at http://www.alternet.org/speakeasy/michaelweinstein/last-lie-air-force-academy-cadet.

Here's a taste (reading the whole story is optional:

The oath of office is well known and traces its heritage to Washington’s oath written for the Continental Army. Unlike Washington’s oath, however, this oath contains four final words: “So Help Me God”. In practice, these four final words are “optional” for those who may object to adding them – consistent with Article Six of the Constitution, which bans any religious test for public office.

However “optional” those last four words may be, legally speaking, the pressure to say them can be literally overwhelming. Large cue cards for all oath administrators not only include those words, but they’re also usually highlighted in a bold, all-caps font. Unless the cadet specifically asks the administrator in advance to omit those jarringly theologically inspired words, they will certainly be said – as sure as the sun sets in the west. This leaves the non-believing cadet the only option of either NOT repeating them – which runs the very real risk of ostracism or being perceived as “disrespecting the administrator” – or stating something that counters their core personal beliefs.

Ray Soller said...
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