From: (name withheld)
Subject: A modest suggestion / idea
Date: January 17, 2022 at 12:20:59 PM MST
To: “[email protected]” <[email protected]>
First, I am in 99.999% agreement with your organization and its goals. (I am also cautious.)
Rest assured I will donate money. I am a Navy vet (seven years) with Vietnam service.
But please allow me to donate an idea. It might serve as a powerful point of leverage for all of our efforts. It has to do with the “oath of enlistment.”
I ask you to review the oath that a foreigner must take to become a US citizen. In that oath you will find wording to the effect of renouncing all loyalties to foreign governments.
“My kingdom is not of this world.”
Like you, I do NOT believe that Christian nationalism is compatible with loyalty and service to a secular democratic republic To net it out, the oath of enlistment should be altered with wording that rejects placing a higher loyalty to a “kingdom” or entity than the United States of America.
Thank you very much for your attention.
With deep respect,
Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Martin France
On Jan 17, 2022, at 1:48 PM, Martin France <[email protected]> wrote:
(name withheld), Thanks for you note and suppport of MRFF (moral and financial)! As an advisory board member, I occasionally answer emails like yours for Mikey. Please allow me to do so here.While understand your intent and concern–and share your thoughts on this, I think–when I look up the oath of citizenship, I find the following:
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
And for the oath of enlistment, I find:
“I, _____, 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.”
While I’m certain that the last four words on both may be legally omitted, I’m not sure I understand your point. Is it that a Christian Nationalist (citizen or not) could claim allegiance to the kingdom of (their) god(s) and since they’d claim it’s “not of this world,” they wouldn’t have to obey legal military orders of their superiors if those orders conflicted with what they thought were “orders” from their heavenly kingdom?
If that’s the case, working to change either oath may be a tough stretch, even for Mikey. For one, the inclusion in the official oath of the “SHMG” almost implies religious endorsement of the oath and encouragement for the religious to mingle military and religious duties. I don’t like that one bit and have worked hard to encourage military members to omit the last four words for many reasons.
Anyway, please let me know if I’m still not understanding your point. I’d be glad to reevaluate my position and respond.
Sincerely,Marty France, PhDBrigadier General, USAF (Retired)MRFF Advisory Board Member
On Mon, Jan 17, 2022 at 7:35 PM (name withheld) wrote:
Marty — thank you so much for your reply. It deserves much more reflection on my part, and I never expected to hear back so soon.
These are just some random, initial thoughts.
I think we can find common ground in the concept that an oath is a very sacred (and powerful) thing. I remember when I took the oath of enlistment in the Navy. I did not take it lightly.
I was born into a Roman Catholic family, which meant I was baptized soon after birth — and then later around 5th grade — made the commitment of “confirmation” — and, in between, learned the catechism of that faith. It’s part of my foundation.
I assert that a foreigner who comes to America and wants to become an American citizen goes through something of a similar process. As you well know, natural born citizens don’t ever have to affirm their loyalty unless they enter a position that requires it. (We’re lucky if our young people learn much about civics and our system of government — which in a way makes them sitting ducks for extremists.)
One thing that sticks out in the current oath of enlistment is the absence of the word “lawful” as it applies to orders. We have a clear duty to obey lawful orders. And… we must be taught how to handle situations where an order might be unlawful. (Not the main point, but something for noting.)
The other area that I have to address and make more clear is coming to an oath with words that make it inherently wrong to pressure our sisters and brothers in service in matters of religion. I confess to feeling sad as I type these words. I am thinking of our Pledge of Allegiance and how I recently heard M. Flynn trying to twist the words into “one religion” under God.
Therefore, sir, I believe these critical passages — the oaths especially — must be discussed. In matters of freedom of (or from) religion, there can be no ambiguity, and the oath must support our common goals.
As I move forward, I want to reassert that a revised oath — properly worded — can become a tremendous leverage point in establishing right from wrong in these matters. I don’t know the right words at the moment — only that they are out there.
Thank you again,
Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Martin France
On Jan 18, 2022, at 7:00 AM, Martin France wrote:
Tom, I’d assert that the phrase “according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” in the enlisted oath covers the “lawful orders” that you mention. The UCMJ exempts members of the military from prosecution if they refuse to execute an unlawful order. The very important role the military then has is to educate all on what is and what isn’t a lawful order. Officers get a decent amount of training in this area, but I’m not so sure the same can be said on the enlisted side. That’s one thing we should all push for, especially in light of the recent study by the DoD on Extremism in the Military. I’ve read much, but not all of that report.
The same can be said for religious coercion within the ranks. All of the services and the DoD have regulations in this regard. The issue has been one of enforcement. This is something that the MRFF has been battling since we were instrumental in getting these regulations codified to begin with. Sadly, they are rarely enforced and we have seen myriad cases in which superiors have bullied their subordinates with mandatory prayer, coercion to participate in ceremonies, improper questions of religious faith, etc. We stand vigilant in this regard, though, and know that it’s only through the support of folks like you and the brave members of the military that report these offenses that we can make progress. We call things to light almost daily, including the egregious “Wreaths Across America” effort that littered many non-Christian graves and created a mulch nightmare in cemeteries while enriching the wreath-sellers who came up with this scheme.
I will say that, while I’d love to see a revised oath, I also think that that is probably a bridge too far in the near term. The oath dates back, in large part, almost 150 years since the Civil War, and could only be changed by a huge congressional effort. If that opportunity arose, we’d support it, but I think that’s very unlikely. In the interim, we will work tirelessly to make sure that existing regs are followed and enforced, that education occurs within the ranks, and that all have an equal right to serve regardless of their religious perspective–so long as they do wo without bullying others into some religious practice.Thanks again for the correspondence and your support. We’re always open to ideas on how we can do our vital work better! Cheers,Marty