Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Preparing for a Holy War

The Blaze

An Army recruiting station in Phoenix, Arizona, has been ordered by higher ups to remove a sign on display outside of its entrance that read, “On a mission for both God and country.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command told the Army Times that the text — which created concerns over the separation of church and state — was placed on the signboard by local personnel and that headquarters would have never permitted it.
“Had the process been followed, the copy shown would not have been approved,” spokesman Brian Lepley told the outlet, adding that the military is looking into who authorized the controversial text.


  1. An Army recruiting station in Phoenix, Arizona, has been ordered by higher ups to remove a sign . . .

    . . . was placed on the signboard by local personnel and that headquarters would have never permitted it.

    “Had the process been followed, the copy shown would not have been approved."

    In other words, problem solved, no harm done (no one shot, blown up, or beheaded). If that's the Christian version of "Holy War," I can't say I like their chances.

    1. The sign was up for months. No big deal for you.

    2. The sign was up for months.

      And was taken down quickly when someone complained. That would indicate that for months, no one did complain. That, in turn, would indicate that I am very far from alone in characterizing this silliness as "[n]o big deal."

    3. How do you know no one complained and that it was taken down quickly when someone did? Maybe there were many complaints and after a tremendous groundswell, action was finally taken.

    4. How do you know no one complained and that it was taken down quickly when someone did?

      The order to take it down came almost immediately after Army Recruiting Command became aware of the "controversy" (my emphasis):

      A poster with the phrase "On a mission for both God and country" on display outside a Phoenix recruiting station was removed Friday morning, an Army Recruiting Command spokesman said, hours after the unapproved display was brought to the command's attention.

      As for this notional "tremendous groundswell," can you find any mention of it in the news before Jan.15 (the day before the order to take it down)? I can't. Wouldn't this "tremendous groundswell" have involved Mikey Weinstein, president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, from the beginning? And yet he didn't start talking about it until last Thursday.

      I'm an atheist, and acknowledge that the sign should never have been printed, and that whoever made the decision to do so is an idiot--but is this really worth getting worked up about, especially in light of the fact that the sign has been taken down, and that the Army is investigating the circumstances behind its going up in the first palace?

  2. Must be a slow news day. Someone who has made it his life's mission to be offended at any mention of God in the government complains when he sees this. Must chap his ass to carry cash around.
    For God and Country, for King and Country, etc., an old concept. Or perhaps the offending person is just a fan of the Blues Brothers,


    "Pro Aris et Focis is a Latin phrase used as the motto of many families, military regiments, and some educational institutions.
    Meaning "For God and country" or literally "for our altars and our hearths", but is used by ancient authors to express attachment to all that was most dear and venerable. It could be more idiomatically translated "for hearth and home;" as the Latin term "aris", generally refers to either the altars of the spirits of the house and is often used as a synecdoche for the family home. Thus the famous Latin orator and philosopher Cicero uses the phrase to emphasize the importance of his argument in his philosophical work De Natura Deorum (3.40)."


    1. Do you really have no problem with characterizing Marine Corps recruitment as a mission for God?

    2. Army Mike, no, I don't. However, this is a wonderful example of something pretty minor getting inflated by the media into becoming more serious than it really is.
      Some NCO or officer made this up, likely in response to a being told to come up with something new. Recruiters are sales people after all. Sometimes advertisements fall flat, but it doesn't equate to calling it advocating a holy war as some of our opponents already do.

  3. America does not have an official God, and as an American I'm offended that my military would profess they are fighting for God. SS is correct about his history, but this is not 1,000 years ago and America does not fight for God, it fights for our own security. Sometimes.

    1. If your elected official isn't one of these nine, you might want to write to them to voice your displeasure.

      "The House of Representatives passed a bi-partisan resolution Tuesday night reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States. The 396-9 vote came at the request of Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) – in part over President Obama’s refusal to correct remarks he made that misstated the motto as “E pluribus unum” instead of “In God We Trust.”
      Lawmakers voting against “In God We Trust” include Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA). Voting present were Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC).
      The bi-partisan resolution not only affirms “In God We Trust” as the national motto, but it also “encourages its display in public buildings and government institutions.”
      “There’s been no motto in U.S. history that’s been more inspirational than ‘In God We Trust,’” he said, noting that he felt it was appropriate for members of Congress to “firmly declare our trust in God.”


    2. And of course God gets a mention in the oath of enlistment,

      (a) Enlistment Oath.— Each person enlisting in an armed force shall take the following oath:
      "I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

    3. Like the pledge of allegiance, the reference to god was added in the 1950s and 60s (see www.history.army.mil/html/faq/oaths.html.

      You may not be aware that there was a cold war belief that communists, as atheists, could not swear an oath to god. Like most right wing beliefs in the US, this is bullshit.

      Additionally, there is a question as to whether making someone swear (although one can also affirm if their religion doesn't believe in oathtaking) is a violation of USC Article VI: "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

      And, as you might know, but most of you think you know the Second Amendment and that's the extent of your understanding of the Constitution if even that much. The First Amendment also prohibits establishment of religion.

      Those people who wish to be free of religion have that right and not have government ram it down their throats. (See mrff.org

      That is why the ad was yanked.

    4. Then we are no better than those who fight in the name of Allah, or any other theocracy based primitive society whose laws are based on their interpretation of their God. Of course if you think your God is better than their God, that's one reason to kill. Of course killing is a sin according to the God you are supposedly killing for.

    5. "Of course killing is a sin according to the God you are supposedly killing for."

      You might want to study up on that bible. Justified killing is permitted. Just saying...

    6. Laci,

      Considering that that same Constitution also sets forth the president's oath and that the members of Congress should be bound by Oath or Affirmation, your suggestion that these oaths violate Article VI are patently ludicrous.

      Thanks for continuing to offer the same level of scholarship and legal analysis we see here every day.

    7. It's one of the Ten Commandments SS.
      How do you call it justified, if we start wars with a lie? You know, mushroom clouds.

    8. "It's one of the Ten Commandments SS."

      Have no fear, I'm aware of the restrictions against unjustified killing by both the bible AND the military. One of the many things I teach soldiers are the laws of war.

      "The imperative is against unlawful killing resulting in bloodguilt.[2] The Hebrew Bible contains numerous prohibitions against unlawful killing, but also allows for justified killing in the context of warfare, capital punishment, and self-defense."


    9. Sammy, your exegesis of Scripture is about as convincing as Laci's Constitutional interpretation, and it suffers the same problem of pulling a passage you like and trying to interpret everything in light of that one bit, to the exclusion of anything else.

      Laci's analysis about oaths breaks down when one sees that oaths of office are required by the same document, and are not, therefore, banned by other sections of the document.

      Similarly, the same source of the Commandment you mentioned also allows for self defense in some circumstances and commands the death penalty for some crimes, painting a combined picture of a law code that prohibits killing except in certain defined situations--quite different from your little one dimensional analysis.

    10. And I'm aware of religious texts and religious hypocrites like you.

    11. These Bible cherry picking religious hypocrites are sick people. What about turn the other cheek boys? The Bible is a real page turner, and every page contradicts itself with another page. Religion has been the cause of most death and violence in the world, but of course they claim to be the peace makers. Make me laugh "crusade" killers. Do you have a religious educations SS and SJ?

    12. Hmmm, I mention the need to harmonize many passages to come up with the full picture as opposed to pulling one or two passages, like you've done, but I'm the cherry picker?

      Seriously, Sammy, you should evaluate insults before you hurl them out so that you know if they'll stick to your opponents or boomerang back and hit you.

      As for the issue of whether the Bible contradicts itself or whether one can harmonize what it says into a unified philosophy, you've shown that you are incapable of having that discussion whether by lack of interest, knowledge, or ability to talk civilly.

      As for religious educations, it doesn't really matter as long as one has quality education. I've had everything from public school to Christian, and time at both public and private universities. I know what creationists think and I can explain the Big Bang theory in better detail than many High School Science teachers. I've read works on philosophy from Christians and from men such as David Hume and John Rawles.

      If you actually wanted to have a genuine discussion of philosophy, theology, or something else, I would be willing and well equipped by the education I had at various institutions, but you obviously are one of those atheists who just wants to be loud and obnoxious. Have fun and run along shouting at other people--maybe you'll find someone who is willing to waste their time attempting to debate you.

    13. And you are obviously one of the many religious hypocrites thanks for proving it, now on with your uneducated religious BS.