Quote by Mikey Weinstein

Hello,
This is in reply to the quote below MRFF.
The American flag is not a religious symbol, the American Constitution is not religious scripture and American patriotism is not religious faith.
Why would you use that as if it’s actual truth?
And why is this added at the end of the JROTC creed?
“May God grant me the strength to always live by this creed.”
And this to the ROTC creed?
“May God give me the compassion and judgment to lead and the gallantry in battle to win.”
This violates the First Amendment.
There are about 23% of United States citizens who are not religious, so why should they have to deal with this “god” think in the military if they want to join? My grandson is in JROTC and he is not a “god” believer, but he has to deal with religion when he shouldn’t have to. The creeds would be perfectly fine without adding a “god” to them.
Thank you,
(name withheld)

Response by MRFF’s Research Director, Chris Rodda
Hi (name withheld) …
 
I’m Chris Rodda, MRFF’s research director.
 
We agree with you 100 percent that those religious lines should absolutely not be in the JROTC and ROTC creeds. 
 
There shouldn’t be any religious statements in any military creed or oath, and we have fought against them, and continue to fight against them.
 
One of our big fights was to get the Air Force Academy’s prep school to remove the words “so help me God” from a poster of its Cadet Honor Oath, and to ensure that these religious words were made optional for all Academy cadets and that it was made clear to the cadets that these words are optional.
 
We have also defended other service members throughout the military when they were told that they must add the religious words for their oath to be valid, which is completely untrue. No military cadet or service member can be forced to say these words. That is a blatant violation of the “no religious test” clause in the Constitution.
 
We have not yet fought specifically against the religious statements in the JROTC and ROTC creeds, but you are far from alone in your frustration with the religious language in these creeds and wanting it removed.
 
As for MRFF’s statement that “The American flag is not a religious symbol, the American Constitution is not religious scripture and American patriotism is not religious faith,” that is the ideal that we are fighting for — that the secular symbols of our country should never be made into religious symbols and that the patriotism of our service members should never be judged by their religious beliefs.
 
Thank you for reaching out to us, and if your grandson runs into any problems whatsoever due to his beliefs, please let us know. We will always be here to help.
 
Chris

Hello Chris,
Thank you for that reply, it helped me understand a lot more about what you do at MRFF.
I’m wondering why anything to do with religion isn’t removed from the military, etc… Isn’t it a violation of the First Amendment? I’m pretty sure it is according to the FFRF (Freedom From Religion Foundation) who writes about the JROTC AND ROTC here. https://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/26731-ffrf-objects-to-religious-rotc-creeds  Why do some organizations seem to be exempt from the violation of the First Amendment?
Has this been brought to court before? If so, what is the reasoning for religion to still be allowed to wiggle it’s way into State?
My grandson when he was younger wanted to be a cub scout, then a boy scout. We were told that he had to believe in the Christian god in order to join. I don’t see why it’s still allowed for this to happen.
Thank you for all you do.
(name withheld)

Hi …

Asking why this stuff that clearly violates the First Amendment isn’t removed from the military might seem like a simple question, but it’s not as easy as it might seem. 

For example, the religious “so help me God” ending in military oaths can only be removed by an act of Congress since these oaths are part of the U.S. Code, meaning that these words are actually part of a federal law passed by Congress that can only be changed by another act of Congress.

Given our current very religious Congress, this isn’t going to happen. In fact, in retaliation for MRFF’s fight to get the religious words removed from the Air Force Academy’s Cadet Honor Oath (which was not created by a law and actually could be changed by the Air Force without an act of Congress), a fundamentalist Christian congressman actually introduced a new bill to PROTECT keeping these words in ALL oaths.

So, unfortunately, all we can do for now is defend the service members who are told that they must say these words. Even though the words are in the oath by law, they have to be optional because of the “no religious test” clause in Article VI, Section 3 of the Constitution. In other words, the words are there but nobody can be legally forced to say them, and we can defend anybody who is wrongly told by their superiors that they have to say them.

Hopefully, the day will come when we have a Congress that isn’t packed with religious fundamentalists whose version of “religious freedom” means ignoring the First Amendment and forcing their religion on everybody, but with the Congress that we have, the existing laws are not going to change, and even worse than that new laws are being introduced under the guise of so-called “religious freedom” that would make things even worse.

Chris


 

 

 

 

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