Military.com|by Bryant Jordan
The Air Force has suspended decades-old Bible-centric ethics training intended to make Christian officers comfortable with the possible use of nuclear weapons. The training program was given to all new missile officers by Air Force chaplains.
“We’re in the process of reviewing that training and we’ll make a determination whether or not to continue [it] or if it will be a different course,” Air Education and Training Command spokesman Dave Smith told Military.com.
Smith said the ethics training has been in place more than 20 years, although he didn’t know exactly when it was begun.
The training slides include quotations from the Bible, portraits of Christian saints, prophets, and famous American generals known for their faith, including George Washington, Union Army Gen. Joshua Chamberlain, and Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
Every new missile officer had to take the training at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, regardless of their own religious beliefs or lack of them, according to Smith.AETC halted the ethics training last week after an article on the training was posted at Truthout.org. Former Air Force Capt. Damon Bosetti — described as a missile officer who took the training in 2006 — said he and others referred to the religious section of the ethics training as the “Jesus loves nukes speech.”
The website also published the training slides, which it acquired from the watchdog group Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an organization that has filed numerous lawsuits against the Air Force for allegedly infringing on the rights of religious minorities and non-believers and promoting evangelical Christian beliefs.
MRFF President Mikey Weinstein is also on the board of advisers for Truthout.org, the article stated.
Weinstein said more than 30 Air Force officers, most of them practicing Protestants and Roman Catholics, contacted his group in July to ask if he could help get rid of the Christian-themed nuclear missile ethics training. The Air Force released the slides under a Freedom of Information Act request.
“If this repugnant nuclear missile training is not constitutionally violative of both the ‘no religious test’ mandate of the Constitution and the First Amendment’s ‘No Establishment’ clause, then those bedrock legal