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Angry Atheists Strike Again

This time their target was a class called "Christian Just War Theory" taught by chaplains at Vandenberg Air Force base. Never mind that for literally centuries just-war theory has played a critical role in military history and military ethics. Never mind that just-war principles underly not just the Geneva and Hague conventions but also the U.N. Charter itself. Never mind that just-war theory is critically important to thousands of current American service members and that questions about just-war theory are common and recurring (I heard them while deployed to Iraq). All of that is less important, apparently, than the fact that a few delicate souls were offended by a PowerPoint.

The Fox News article contains this astounding quote from Air Force spokesman David Smith:

“In an effort to serve all faiths, we try to introduce none in our briefings and our lectures,” Smith told Fox News Radio. “Once we heard there were concerns, we looked at the course and said we could do better.” 

Our military is comprised of hundreds of thousands of Christians and thousands of members of other faiths (and thousands of atheists as well). They come from different intellectual and spiritual traditions, and the government is emphatically not “serving” them when it essentially acts as if they — or their ideas — don’t exist.

The chief complainant, Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, declared that had the course not been pulled, he would have filed “an immediate class action lawsuit.” He further declared that the Constitution “absolutely separates church and state.” It does no such thing, and it’s a shame that the Air Force has capitulated (for now, at least). Mr. Weinstein’s lawsuit would have faced very, very long odds in federal court.

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