Because of the recent news about a member of the Air Force not being allowed to re-enlist because he is an atheist, the issue of religion and the military is being debated nationwide. The airman in question has refused to accept the Air Force oath in its entirety, crossing out “So help me God,” which appears at the end of said oath. The American Humanist Association has taken up the airman’s case.
The American Family Association‘s head
bigot honcho, Bryan Fischer, always ready to offer an unsolicited opinion on things godly, wrote a guest column for One News Now in which he says that only Christians should serve in the U.S. military. His “reasoning” is based on his understanding of the Constitution, which is flawed. Fischer’s premise is this:
“Military service should rightly be reserved for those who believe in and are willing to die for what America stands for – and what America stands for is a belief in God as the source of our rights.”
That’s his America, mind you. Which is the only America that counts as far as he is concerned. In Fischer’s America, serving in the military is a privilege, not a right. I’m sure that’s a comfort to all of those who were drafted and died serving in the wars we have fought.
Fischer goes on to misread and misrepresent Article VI of the Constitution, stating that the religious test is only for elected or appointed officials. He is wrong. The religious test applies to “a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” We can quibble over whether or not the military counts as a “public trust.” Many Constitutional scholars — which Fischer is not — believe it to be.
Fischer’s main argument is that all of our freedoms and rights come from God. Not from government or judges. He “proves” this by misquoting the Declaration of Independence:
“These rights do not come from government, they do not come from the commander-in-chief, and they most certainly do not come from some activist judge. They come from God himself. We are not evolved, as this wannabe-enlistee believes, but we are ‘created,’ and ‘endowed by (our) Creator with certain unalienable rights.'”
Well, not exactly. Replacing “his Creator” with “our Creator” may seem harmless but it changes the meaning. By using “our,” Fischer is implying a universal understanding of a Creator. One that was definitely not present among either the Continental Congress or the framers of the Constitution.
Fischer maintains that anyone who doesn’t understand his version of the Creator “has no right to serve in the U.S. military.” Because those heathens don’t believe in what America stands for. And that, according to Fischer, is “a belief in God as the source of our rights.”
Nowhere does the Constitution mention God. Not in the Preamble, not in the articles, not in any Amendment. The military has never required that any enlistee profess Christianity in order to serve. The men and women who have died defending our country and our freedom came from all walks of life. That is as it should be, as Americans represent all religions, cultures, creeds and philosophies. As has been stated many times in our history, America is not a Christian nation. Bryan Fischer and those who think like him want a theocracy. That is something the Founding Fathers clearly did not want.