Whatever defenses one may wish to give of the Obama Administration, one thing cannot be denied. Barack Obama has more swiftly shepherded America to the pits of the godless than his predecessors. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in yesterday’s Pentagon instruction to omit the words “So help me God” from enlistment and officer appointment oaths if an Airman so prefers.
Casting the entire issue as one of rights, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James stated, “We are making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our Airmen’s rights are protected.”
The decision follows a request by the Air Force to the Department of Defense Counsel after an Airman at Creech AFB, Nevada struck out the words, “So help me God” on the official oath. The Airman’s unit was unable to process his paperwork due to the guidance in Air Force Instruction 36-2606 which prohibits any omissions.
The Airman in question had secured the counsel of the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Legal Center after he had been informed that he could not reenlist in the Air Force while omitting the phrase “So help me God” from his contract. Monica Miller, an attorney with the AHA responded to the change: “We are pleased that the U.S. Department of Defense has confirmed our client has a First Amendment right to omit the reference to a supreme being in his reenlistment oath.”
Both the Secretary of the Air Force and the AHA attorney who threatened suit against the Air Force have cast this episode as one of “rights.” So also does Jason Torpy, President of the Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and board member of the American Humanist Association. “After fighting for our rights, nontheists now again have the status quo in the Air Force, a secular affirmation consistent with other branches of service and our Constitution.” What shall we say to these things?
First, the entire issue is not a question of “rights.” It is a matter of whether or not America any longer believes that there is such a thing as “inalienable rights” with which we have been “endowed by our Creator” and which our government is interdicted from transgressing. It is a question of whether or not western civilization still “holds” anything such as that to be “self-evident.”
Humanists whine that they have the “right” to be unbelievers in God. Do they indeed have the right to refuse to take an oath before God? Of course they do! Atheists have the perfect right to be nontheists—but at the same time, the nation of citizens also has a “right” to place less or more confidence in one’s integrity if that person is not going to recognize any higher standard than himself as a basis upon which to perform a duty. An atheist may wish to take the “oath” on himself or herself, but oneself is not a very high bar.
For this reason many Courts in early America distrusted the testimony of atheists. By what standard higher than oneself will one pledge to “tell the truth?” Seeing the plethora of modern atheistic scholastic ivory-tower material that vehemently argues that there is no ultimate standard of right or wrong by which to assess conduct, it seems the founding era of Americans knew whereof they spoke.
The Obama Administration says it wishes “latitude” for Air Force inductees to disbelieve in God. But don’t hold your breath for that same type of latitude to be extended to believers who have a distrust of those who declare there is no such thing as an ultimate standard of conduct and duty. No, if I do not believe the integrity of the Mikey Weinstein’s of the world I will be ransacked as some kind of a bigot. Latitude of belief is reserved only for humanists and atheists who wish to attack the foundations of America.
Second, our culture is ignoring the nature of an oath. What is an oath? Noah Webster’s original 1828 Dictionary defined: “A solemn affirmation or declaration, made with an appeal to God for the truth of what is affirmed. The appeal to God in an oath, implies that the person imprecates his vengeance and renounces his favor if the declaration is false, or if the declaration is a promise, the person invokes the vengeance of God if he should fail to fulfill it. A false oath is called perjury.” By its very nature an oath invokes Deity.
Webster was an influential founding father of America whose gifted labors helped ratify the Constitution. A lawyer who graduated from Yale, Webster fought in the Revolutionary War and became a member of the Massachusetts legislature. “In my view,” Webster wrote, “the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed…No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”
Because of the views set forward above he labored incessantly for the original Constitutional Convention. Showing that the basis of our entire Constitutional framework was in the Holy Scriptures, he added, “The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws.”
An oath by its very definition encompasses a theistic world view. It also incorporates a concept of limited government that men might enjoy the freedoms that were given to us by God and it invokes the notion that I recognize that my actions will one day be brought into account before the bar of God. One might exemplify faithfulness to a country or a military promise without believing in God, but the deleterious effect of godless Humanism soaking through society erodes over time any ultimate standard of conduct—for citizens or soldiers.