All too appropriate, I suppose, that the Academy (with the help of taxpayers and donors) is spending over $30M to build a big Crystal Phallus that sits atop (astride?) the new CCLD (Center for Character--or that C for 'Christian?' I always forget--and Leadership Development.) It should inspire people like Rosebush every day!
The Air Force would be better just paying all of the preppies to go to a year of junior college or a state school to improve their chances at success at USAFA. Of course, that wouldn't really help the football and basketball teams red-shirt student-athletes and train them with another year of playing experience, so one has to believe that sports is the primary driver for the P-school.
A good question to ask might be: for all of the football recruits brought into the prep school in 2009--ultimately for the USAFA class of 2014--how many are on the roster and how many are still cadets in good standing. That might inform the overall return-on-investment question for both the P-school and the D-I football program.
The simple fact that Willoughby had no hesitation using his name and proclaiming his intention to violate AFI1-1 indicates that the Academy environment condones this sort of conduct and has for over a decade. The Academy leadership may not approve of Willoughby, but failing to punish him or respond to a variety of other 1-1 violations leads to a perception that they approve--or is indistinguishable from approval. Sadly, Mike Gould seems to have passed along his prejudices and dominionist philosophy to the current leadership--that of disdain for respect, open discussion, and a search for common ground--much to the detriment of USAFA and its cadets.
TT, I have (twice--been under enemy fire) and, while I can't affirm directly that there are no atheists in foxholes, there are plenty in helicopters and in the Pentagon on 9/11. And, you can find the testimony of many. many others here: http://militaryatheists.org/atheists-in-fo…
Remember, just because you were comforted by your faith under fire doesn't mean that EVERYONE requires the same reassurance or solace or even believes that a supreme being exists. You can't imagine a world without one--good for you. I have no evidence that explains the world with one--leave me alone.
I once heard the analogy that religion is a lot like a penis. It's great if you have one--and it's your right to have one and even 'practice' it freely within certain Constitutional constraints. It's also okay if you don't. You can be proud of yours and you are free to meet with others and discuss how wonderful yours is and how good it makes you feel. But, if you try to shove it down my throat (or push it into any other part of my life/body, or force my children to see it) without my consent, then that's wrong and I'll fight to keep you (and it) out.
TT, you said "So some cadets now pledge to keep their oath under God's almighty judgement, while other cadets pledge to follow the oath as long as it doesn't conflict with following their heart's...which of these teenagers getting a free ride education would you trust?"
What evidence do you have that swearing to almighty god is all that effective anyway? Did it keep the missileers (recently) from sleeping on the job with the blast doors open or the admiral from using fake poker chips or prevent the 26,000 (reportedly) sexual assaults per year in the military or any number of other scandals that regularly hit the military? They must've all said SHMG. Unless you'd like to violate the Constitution (Art 6) and require that all serving military be christians of your ilk, then REQUIRING cadets who may not believe in your god to say SHMG is REQUIRING them to lie while affirming their honesty and integrity or accepting their commissioning. See the dichotomy there? Shouldn't out first oath be taken honestly? And how does it weaken your faith if someone doesn't believe as you do? Are you that insecure that you NEED others to believe as you do? BTW, you might want to check out what Matthew 5:33 has to say about the value of oaths.
The Academy is absolutely correct in making SHMG optional, but, what the Major and Academy leadership still have not clarified is HOW that option will be exercised. for example, if the administrator of the oath (Honor, commissioning, etc) will, by default, read the whole thing (after asking the person taking the oath to raise their right hand and REPEAT after them), INCLUDING the optional four words, and then relies of the taker of the oath to NOT repeat SHMG, then they are dead wrong. That would be put the oath taker in the same situation as telling them that they have the OPTION of not standing for the playing the national anthem, but by so doing, they bring enormous attention and (potentially) scorn and ridicule upon themselves. Now, I'm not suggesting here that cadets NOT stand for the national anthem at all. I'm just illustrating a point.
For the final four words to truly be optional, leadership and the oath takers need to accept dual responsibility. For a one-on-one oath-taking situation, the taker should clearly indicate to the administrator whether they choose to add those four words to the end or not. If they do, then all goes on as is tradition. If they do not, then the administrator stops short of SHMG and the oath is over. No coercion, no embarrassment, no pregnant moment of silent anticipation.
For larger scale oath-taking, when the administrator can't be sure that all of the oath takers want to say SHMG (think graduation or some other mass swearing-in), the administrator should still stop before SHMG. Then, every taker of the oath should be free to either add (of their own volition) SHMG--as loud as they'd like--or stand silently. In that case it would truly be an option. And, I'm sure, the MRFF would fully support any cadet's or officer's right to add SHMG to the THEIR oath--befitting of the freedom of speech and religion guaranteed by our Constitution.
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