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August 3rd, 2011
07:50 PM ET

Air Force: Bible and nukes don't mix

By, Barbara Starr and Jennifer Rizzo, CNN

Washington (CNN)–The Air Force has suspended an ethics briefing for new missile launch officers after concerns were raised about the briefing's heavy focus on religion.

The briefing, taught for nearly 20 years by military chaplains at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, is intended to train Air Force personnel to consider the ethics and morality of launching nuclear weapons - the ultimate doomsday machine.

Many of the slides in the 43 page presentation use a Christian justification for war, displaying pictures of saints like Saint Augustine and using biblical references.

"Abraham organized an Army to rescue Lot," one slide read, referring to the story of the Hebrew patriarch and his nephew found in the book of Genesis.

"Revelation 19:11 Jesus Christ is the mighty warrior," another slide read.

The Air Force halted the class last week after 31 missile launch officers reported the religious nature of the briefing to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group which tries to ensure religious freedom among the troops.

"There were several things that they found disgusting," Mikey Weinstein founder of the foundation said. "The first was the fact that there is actually a slide that makes it clear that they're trying to teach that, under fundamentalist Christian doctrine, war is a good thing."

Weinstein said his group had to act.

"We were literally blown away by what we saw on the slide presentation. And one of the first things I did was to contact some of the most senior leadership for the Air Force in the Pentagon and made it very clear that this has to stop immediately," Weinstein said.

The Air Force said headquarters officials were not aware of the religious component of the ethics course, despite it being taught for nearly two decades by chaplains.  The matter came to their attention they said when they received an inquiry by Truthout.org, an online publication which initially reported the story.

Here is a link to the story and associated slides CNN obtained from Truthout.org.

"That is when we became aware of concerns about the course and our commander here reviewed the course and decided immediately that it was not appropriate for what we want to do and suspended using that briefing," David Smith, an Air Education Training Command spokesman said.

The briefing was meant to mimic an academic setting where concerns could be voiced, according to Smith who claims chaplains were used to oversee the briefing for that reason.

"A chaplain is not required to take action if concerns are voiced," Smith said.

A review is underway at the base to see if an ethics briefing is needed at all.

"Ethics discussions are an important part of professional military development and it is especially important for our airmen who are training to work with nuclear weapons because they have to make hard decisions," Smith said.  "We are looking to see if we need a briefing like this... but it will not be a religion based briefing."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church and state • Military • United States

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soundoff (1,189 Responses)
  1. Annexian

    War is Cain's sin, repeated and magnified endlessly. Look at the Nuke itself, essentially a rebellion against nature by fracturing exotic matter in a special way. (versus the stars that use a Union of basic matter for energy)

    August 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • WeNeedMurrow

      Except that your "exotic matter" is actually naturally occurring, and nature (or God if you perfer) causes it to fracture all on its own all the time. Uranium atoms (and many, many others, down to the potassium atoms in the bananas you eat for breakfast) are fracturing all the time. Nuclear fission is no more or less natural than nuclear fusion. The only thing that makes a nuke special is that you put a whole bunch of fracturing atoms close together, and cause a whole bunch of them to start fracturing at once.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Chris

      Exotic matter is not created by nuclear bombs. Uranium, rare as it may be, is normal matter just like iron or lead. Exotic matter is a strange material that theoretically exists only in neutron stars as an ultra-dense neutron soup.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Bruce

      Actually you are correct that war is Cain's sin, but you forget that Cain's sin was not murdering his brother, rather it was creating agriculture and thus civilization so we all stopped wandering around as nomads following our herds of animals. This is why his sacrifice was not acceptable to God.

      And civilization led to prosperity, and prosperity led to a limitation of resources, and that fundamental economic reality is what led to war.

      So, be careful what you wish for. You want an end to war? You have to end civilization first.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  2. Annexian

    From Ghandi of course

    August 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  3. Sniggly

    To answer another poster's question, I don't know what religious preferences the crew of the Enola Gay (Hiroshima) had, nor Bock's Car (Nagasaki).

    I DO know, however, that as the Enola Gay turned away from Hiroshima, the copilot looked out his window at the mushroom cloud and murmured, "My god, what have we done?" They weren't happy about what they did.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  4. Annexian

    "I like your Christ. I dislike your Christians, they are so unlike your Christ."

    August 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Miles

      In the Gospels, the Christ character introduces the idea of hell. And there was the whole rampage through the temple. I've lived my entire life without running into a building on Wall Street and throwing the bums out. And he was kind of stingy with his knowledge – he didn't even tell people that pooing in the drinking supply was a major cause of disease.

      Most everyone I know is way nicer than Christ.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  5. Eric of Reseda

    Onward Christian Soldiers! War is GOOD! Jesus would be PROUD!

    August 4, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  6. mike

    jesus isnt real. Grow up.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • PossumHunter

      He is real. I saw him mowing my lawn yesterday afternoon.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • mike

      LMFAO.. my bad. You are right. I guess it was Jesus that I saw on my toast the other day. I will now try and sell it on ebay for $107 dollars.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  7. tillzen

    god is a theory no more real than Santa or the Easter bunny. Mankind is an abomination to the planet and this is god's shame. An ant is equal to a man,. No more and no less. Soul and spirit are man created to make us feel special and to give our meaningless lives import. The bibles are books written by men to justify their needs. Who is god truly? Look at Somalia to see gods' worthlessness or more accurately to see the joke that is god. I fear man not the Easter Bunny.. Luckily life is brief and the planet will outlive us all.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • JoePub

      You sound depressed. Maybe you can do you part for the planet and take a final exit.

      August 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  8. boyamidumb

    The truth can come from many sources. God Bless you Mr. Vonnegurt

    August 4, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  9. Ivan Bial

    Sounds like a “Monty Python” Sketch.
    Pass the “Holy Hand-Grenade”

    August 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  10. Propervillain

    Yes, let's blow up the world for Christ. I'm pretty sure that's what he had in mind.
    What a bunch of empty headed morons. Christ and all his followers died a martyrs death. There was no sedition or rebellion against Rome involved. Had there been I can see the "justification" for blowing up the world in the name of Jesus. Turns out, there wasn't.
    The slide show was probably made by some "End-times" obsessed right wing moron. Note to "end-timers": there are SEVERAL different interpretations of the book of Revelation. One is that everything in there was a veiled reference to the reign of Nero. Another is that no-one really knows what it means and it is best to be ignored (my personal favorite). The book BARELY made it into canon, what does that tell you? I really think people's obsession with the end has more to do with laziness in confronting reality and the issues of the day and little to do with actual prophecy...

    August 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  11. memphispiano

    I fear for our country when I read the stupidity and hatred on these forums. 50 years ago, our country espoused Christian ideals. In most places in America, you could leave your doors unlocked and go on vacation for 2 weeks. We walked through the downtown areas of our major cities without fear for our lives. Were we perfect? No. We had sore blights like racism, but it was actually our Christian ideals that ultimately convicted us that this was wrong. But then we started to call those Americans who espoused these Christian morals as idiots and try to blame them for the acts of people who claimed to be Christians a world away (like Hitler) or even centuries away (like the Crusades). We started treating them like you see on this forum. And America changed. We wouldn't dare walk at night in most downtown cities, we lock our door to walk to our neighbors...and are stupid enough to think things are better.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • gaucho420

      50 years ago blacks had no rights in the US. 50 years ago crime in the US was higher than it is today, poverty was worse and the US was a socially backwards. If you want to go back to that, you live in lunacy.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • huh

      Guess what over the past thirty years, the crime rate rose throughout the 1980s, reached its peak in 1993 and then began to decrease throughout the 1990s and 2000s. One hypothesis is the link between legalized abo rtion and this drop. It's not as bad as you are making it out to be stop watching so much TV for starters.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Hank

      Actually, Gaucho, our world is socially backwards today, not 50 years ago. We've become a highly immoral society that is disconnected from our cultural roots. It's disgusting to see how today's generation acts sometimes. No respect for adults, no respect for authority, no respect for the law. Just pure lack of culture and pure lack of civility. Minus the REAL racist policies, no I wouldn't mind taking us socially back to about 1955.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • mtfrommd

      @ memphispiano, as previous poster points out, that is the upper middle class / upper class white version. 50 years ago, people were lynched and abused based on skin color, women were still considered the property of their husbands, the poor starved and people in poor neighborhoods lived in fear of hoodlums as well. Christianity is only as good as the person that is thinking about it at the time. It's not a magic potion.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • griz5106

      What do you mean "we." I am very comfortable in my neighborhood and never lock my doors.

      August 4, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  12. gaucho420

    I can't beleive that the Air Force, I fund with my Tax Dollars, would display such nonsense. For a country that pretends its got a separation of church & state, stuff like this truly flies in the face of that farce.

    How would Christiand like it if Muslim verses and BS was put into Air Force Training? Well now you know how I and the rest of the non-beleivers feel about such non-sense. Either there's separation of church and state or there isn't, but do not be fooled into thinking that Christianity is somehow above this law.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  13. Olaf Big

    "The Air Force said headquarters officials were not aware of the religious component of the ethics course, despite it being taught for nearly two decades..." Huh? The brass has no clue how the officers who have their finger on the "launch" buttton are being indoctrinated? This is the really scary part.... Paging Peter Sellers. Nothing has changed since "Dr. Strangelove" came out half a century ago. This movie still has all you need to know about the people who have the power to start a nuclear war.

    August 4, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  14. boyamidumb

    You just have to laugh or you'll go insane and be like them.

    I am baffled. Humans were given this paradise full of life. Look around and the potential for a magnificent life is incredible. Two other things we were given to help us appreciate, enjoy and live in this paradise – a mind that can think if we use it, and a heart that can care if we want it to.

    It would be a shame to let religion or the perversions we call religions lead us into oblivion and let us destroy this incredible planet we live on.

    August 4, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • taxpayer

      Thank you for this comment! It made me feel better after reading all the nonsense in this article.

      It's so sad to experience a world in which humans kill other humans because their invisible deity wrote a book telling them to do so.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  15. William Demuth

    Christians who believe the world must end by fire seem like the LAST people whose morality we want being exercised when the choice to launch in made.

    Predeterminisim, especially as it is practiced by the evangelical wing of the cult, is especially dangerous.

    It seems obvious that anyone who believes that Armageddon is either desirable or inevitable, is fundamentally to unstable to have access to nuclear weapons.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      As in former Prex Bush Jr. who was doing god's will and felt angels guided things.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Willy D.

      Amen brother !

      Peace...

      August 4, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Willy – I would put those of Faith not really that much higher than those not of Faith on this one. Except the thing that you over look is that for the majority of Christians and those of Faith that “thou shall not kill” part might weigh too heavily on them if it was called upon them to push the “button”. You mention that those who believe in Armageddon. It is those that accept and follow, know one thing. If they are faithful, they know how Armageddon will start and we all know that it will not start with a hail of Nuclear Weapons. So what is the fear that you have that a Christian would be one, that fervent a follower of the Faith, but at the same time would go off script and start his own war?

      You can not have it both ways dude.

      Try this, maybe no one should have nuclear weapons. If you find greater comfort that a person not of Faith has his finger on the button to kill millions than a person of Faith, … to me either is just as bad.

      To be honest, anyone that is willing to kill that many on the order of another …. is fundamentally unstable.

      August 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Mark

      I disagree. I have been raised to believe that the human race can reach its ultimate pinnacles WITHOUT being destroyed. Alas Christians do not, making them unfit.

      As for thou shall not kill, when translated to German it becomes “Du sollst nicht töten”.

      Perhaps something was lost to the Christians during translation that made the death camps possible?

      Or perhaps the Spanish version “No matarás” didn't reach the Inquisitors until after they had tortured and maimed thousands?

      Christians no more embrace the commandments they espouse than any other group of zealots who merely use their dogma to persecute others while indemnifying themselves.

      August 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Propervillain

      I agree. That is the last type of person's finger I want on the trigger...

      August 4, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • tom

      You are a smart man. Well spoken.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Dementicus

      You're right – the non-believers have a much better track record. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, to name a few – they had stand-up morals. If you are going to blame all believers for the mis-guided actions of a few, then we'll do the same for all non-believers. I think the ratio of senseless genocide is several orders of magnitude higher for just the 3 named above.

      The silliness of your argument to begin with is that you assume someone with no belief system would have the same relative moral system as you to not push the button. If there is no God, then all morals are relative. So on any given day what's to stop a non-believer from saying, "forget it, let's just end it all now. It really doesn't make any ultimate difference anyhow". As a non-believer you can't even argue with that position as every person can choose for themselves whatever ethic they might want to follow. At least a believer has to consider what God is going to think of their decision to kill millions or billions of innocent people.

      I'm not agreeing with the way this ethics course was run, but it's silly to assert that believers should not be watching over the nuclear weapons launch protocol.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Dementicus

      Stop trying to erase the truth of history.

      Hitler was a Christian, in league with the Vatican which was located in an Axis country that actively engaged in genocide against the other religion competeing for the loyalties of europeans.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”I disagree. I have been raised to believe that the human race can reach its ultimate pinnacles WITHOUT being destroyed.”

      Look around you my friend. Look at the advancements that the human race has made from the art destroying on another. Items from the care given in hospitals to the smart phone in your pocket to the car that is parked in your driveway.

      >>>”Perhaps something was lost to the Christians during translation that made the death camps possible?”

      ...and this silly Atheist game. See it goes like this, you point to a negative segment of Christians and I point to a positive side. Why do Atheist think we will fold in a debate because of the acts of a segment of our group. It is the same as a guy ra'pes a woman, should you or me be any less due to his actions. What is lost on them is what is lost on any mob or group mentality.

      >>>”Christians no more embrace the commandments they espouse than any other group of zealots who merely use their dogma to persecute others while indemnifying themselves.”

      Riiiight. There are Christians that hold to the peaceful interpretation of the scripture and there are ones that hold to the more negative side. We all know that. As the words flow to your keyboard that “dogma” you speak of has Christians and other people of Faith doing very positive works in societies around the world. Just as you state we need to accept the ones that do negative you must be a fool if you think we will not wave the banner of those that do good.

      >>>“Or perhaps the Spanish version “No matarás” didn't reach the Inquisitors until after they had tortured and maimed thousands?”

      “This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in – that we do it to God, to Christ, and that's why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.” Mother Teresa

      The power to do good or do evil is found in everyone. You can no more shame a Christian for the acts of the few among them no more than you can shame a white man for the actions of the klan.

      l'chaim

      August 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Mark from Middle River

      The same indoctrination.

      Mother Theresa? Ha! You create the poverty, and then want to claim you are curing it, you create the hatred and then try to fix it.

      YOU sir are part of a three sided cult, all deviant children of the Bronze Age madman that was Abraham, and you WILL be held accoutable for the sins of your cult.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "the sins of your cult."

      How Old Testament of you...holding ppl accountable for actions of others. And here we thought you were suppose to be better than those of faith.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  16. absurd

    Does Steak sauce mix with Icecream?

    Atheist: Yes, it does..taste and see the absurdity..tastes heavenly sorry(reality)...don't beleive in taste to begin with....

    August 4, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Nonimus

      You're right that is absurd and it doesn't makes sense either.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Laughing

      That's adorable, so I'm confused do you not believe in taste to begin with? Are you implying you already know what absurdity tastes like and want to give us a ......taste (I was in troube like, 3 words into that)?

      August 4, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • absurd

      @laughing

      Yes, absurdity tastes like Bible and nukes in the same sentence, it is never 'and' the logic here would be 'either', 'or' akin to icecream and oyster sauce.

      btw., Chef's Choice of the day:
      Taste and see that the Lord is Good.
      Psalm 34:8

      August 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Laughing

      I can quote books too!

      Tiger got to hunt,
      Bird got to fly;
      Man got to sit and wonder, "Why, why, why?"
      Tiger got to sleep,
      Bird got to land;
      Man got to tell himself he understand.

      chapter 81
      Book of Bokonon

      August 4, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • I = rubber, U = glue

      @ absurd

      Actually i have tasted Jesus many times at Catholic Mass when i was younger. It is really not that good. Very dry and bland, luckily they give you some Jesus blood to help wash it down.

      August 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • absurd

      @laughing

      I see you can quote from your book too...yipee!!!!
      IT is not fair between you and me I left you with a 'Book' with answers and in return you left me with a book full of questions:-) you left the man wandering and wondering...

      August 4, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • y

      @irug

      To taste and see that God is good is to experience God first hand and see of his goodness.
      Have you ever trusted God ?
      Then this verse will be meaninful to you.

      August 4, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Laughing

      True, lets see if I have another good quote.....

      Yeah, this is a good one:

      I learned of the Bokononists cosmogony .. wherein Borasisi, the sun, held Pabu, the moon, in his arms, and hoped Pabu would bear him a fiery child. But poor Pabu gave birth to children that were cold, that did not burn; and Borasisi threw them away in disgust. Those were the planets who circled their terrible father at a safe distance. Then poor Pabu herself was cast away, and she went to live with her favourite child, which was Earth. Earth was Pabu’s favorite because it had people on it; and the people looked up to her and loved her and sympathised.
      Book of Bokonon

      There, now you know how the world was REALLY created.

      August 4, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Chris

      *throws Ice-nine on this entire conversation*

      August 4, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  17. Doc Vestibule

    Did the crew of the Enola Gay christian?
    I wonder if they lost any sleep after accomplishing their mission...

    August 4, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • William Demuth

      About as much as the camp guards in Aushwitz did.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      did = was

      August 4, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • God Loves War -That's Why He Makes So Much Of It !

      Wanna read the prayer read to them before they unleashed the new horrific bomb?

      http://www.mphpa.org/classic/COLLECTIONS/CG-JPAP/Pages/CGP-JPAP-054.htm

      God loves a nuclear attack. What Would Jesus Nuke?

      August 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • William Demuth

      How come Jesus didn't nuke Satan?

      Does Satan have an Anti God missle ring around hell?

      Can God make a missle so strong that Satans Anti-Missle missle can't shoot it down?

      August 4, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>“About as much as the camp guards in Auschwitz did.”

      The guards of the Nazi camps were able to look in the eyes and hear the screams of those they killed, Willy.

      When you drop a bomb or launch a missile, the faces of your victims are not seared into your mind.

      Remember, the concentration camps and gas chambers were made because the Nazi soldiers had more and more difficulties with lining up Jews at a mass grave and shooting so many. That is why it was called the final solution. A few gas chambers, no sights of bullet impacts and fewer needed to kill many.

      August 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • dcdc

      Well if they did not drop the bomb then you would not be able to sit on your fat liberal ass and type your garbage.

      August 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @dcdc: You're an idiot.

      August 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Mark from Middle River

      Exactly my point! Technology has made the slaughter of the innocents MUCH easier for the Christians to undertake.

      Drones, manmade diseases, chemical weapons. These are ALL embraced by the devout. It is in fact what this WHOLE article is about. HOW CHRISTIANS CAN RATIONALIZE NUCLEAR SLAUGHTER is what it should have been called.

      I don't remember the troops being shown a PowerPoint about ALLAH or BUDDAH before being asked to swear an allegiance to madness and genocide. Just the standard "kill em all for Jesus shtick we have been hearing since 1968
      .

      August 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  18. Rainer Braendlein

    Short outlook on history:

    The Roman Empire (predecessor of the Western World) became Christian by the impact of emperor Constantin. Since Constantin the Roman Empire protected the Christian Church.

    The favoured political system on earth is the Western World, because it promotes the happy life of its inhabitants and hinders nobody to join the Christian Church. It would be desireable to complete the parlamentary rule by a pious Royalty (similar to the Netherlands, Norway, Britain, etc..). A pious Royalty could cause a further stabilisation of the Western countries.

    Seemingly the cold war (conflict between Western World and Atheistic World) is over, and Russia seems to become Christian again after a long period of atheism.

    The cold war is over, but the conflict between Western World and Islamic Empire germinates again (for a long time the Islam was damped down by the impact of the Christian colonial powers).

    Assumed, the Western World would be assaulted by the Islamic Empire again, a defensive war would be legal. In a defensive war every Western soldier would be strictly obliged to kill the soldiers of the satanic host (Islamic army).
    Nukes could be highly effective weapons in a defensive war against a satanic host. I encourage everybody to slaughter satanic soldiers most effectively and with devotion.

    I condemn it to cast nukes on civilians (localities). Solely within a battle a soldier is allowed and obliged to kill adverse soldiers by any means (also nukes).

    The ongoing slaughtering of civilians by soldiers shows that we live in an apocalyptic time. That is an abomination in God's eyes.

    A Christian army is not allowed to kill civilians, that would be a crime.

    Pure aggressive war is a crime.

    August 4, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • William Demuth

      What would you call it when we (US)bombed your German Christian city of Dresden?

      Christians bombing Christians, and as I recall 200,000 or so burnt to death in three hours! Not a strategic target within miles.

      Just a Christiam bon fire, with the sould of a quarter of a million Christians screaming out to Jesus to not let them or their babies burn.

      Luckily Jesus steped in and saved them didn't he?

      August 4, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • jimtanker

      There are a few things wrong with your little tirade there. There is no such political system as the “Western World”. Not sure what you’re talking about there.

      “Assumed, the Western World would be assaulted by the Islamic Empire again”
      Ever hear about a little thing called the Crusades? It was the Christian world that attacked the Muslims in the first place. Get your history right.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • William Demuth

      jimtanker

      Don't waste your time. Ranier is the new Hitler, here to warn the western world of the latest greatest threat to Christianity, the Muslim faith.

      He would gladly gas them all if he could.

      Ain't that right Mein Fuhrer?

      August 4, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @William Demuth

      I didn't blame the US or the Brits. I just made a general remark regarding the behaviour of civilized soldiers or how they should behave.

      Regretably a lot of Germans are only nominal Christians. They do not know or don't want to know that baptism is a call for discipleship.

      US, Britain, Germany, etc. need a strong Chruch preaching the true gospel according to Luther and Bonhoeffer and the Early Church.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • William Demuth

      SO now you support the death of Germans!

      Dude, do you goose step around in womens undies?

      This whole Christian soldier thing would be funny if your kind didn't have a tendency to start world wars that we get stuck finishing!

      Maybe you should just accept that people don't want your imaginary God?

      I mean, seriously, a German preaching about the evils of other religions is how we ended up with 22 million dead.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @William Demuth

      You have a gob like Goebels!

      August 4, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      It is a matter of fact that the Germans were seduced by the Nazis (propaganda).

      Actually Germany has or had a highly developed culture. But it was weakened by false theologians (false prophets) and wicked philosophers.

      By the way, it is not ruled out that the US will make a similar experience like Germany. Before H. seized power, Germany was a democracy.

      The basic problem is that nearly nobody preaches the true gospel. There are too many false prophets here and in the US.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Rainer Braendlein

      You Said: " Assumed, the Western World would be assaulted by the Islamic Empire again, a defensive war would be legal. In a defensive war every Western soldier would be strictly obliged to kill the soldiers of the(satanic) host (Islamic army).
      Nukes could be highly effective weapons in a defensive war against a (satanic) host. I 'encourage everybody' to (slaughter satanic soldiers) most effectively and with 'devotion'. "

      W T F....?!?!? 😯

      See, this is the kind of thinking that really starts these kinds of fcking sh-it storms. You want to and "encourage" "everyone" to 'nuke' everyone that you deem "satanic".

      –Rainer.... this is the crazy wing-nut bat-sh-it kind of worldview and thinking that leads to wars. And yes, the crazy radicalized Muslims think the same way.

      But, you are an example of a "Christian" that is directly calling for "nuclear strikes" against 'satanic hosts'... Don't ya' think that just a bit insane, Rainer...?

      Ya' know, I've seen a lot of posters on here saying that 'anyone' that is not a Christian, whether it be another religion, e.g. Buddhists, Taoists, etc... or more specifically atheists and agnostics as being "satanic hosts."

      Are you going to call for every Christian to "nuke" the believers in other religions or the atheists/agnostics too...?

      Wow...!!!

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 4, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Civiloutside

      Interesting diatribe there, Rainer. It does twist a few things, though. Firstly, (one of) the advantage(s) of Western democracy is that is promotes a happy life by allowing the people to join *whatever religious belief (or lack thereof) makes them happiest,* not merely Christianity. Secondly, the Cold War was a standoff against Communism (not atheism, though it seems from your prior posts that you are struggling to tell the difference between the two).

      August 4, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Peace2All

      You misinterpret my comment.

      I only support slaughtering of adverse soldiers within a battle, belonging to a defensive war.

      As long as Islamic countries don't assault us, they should be object of Christian mission (a dangerous job there). I don't hate Muslims, but the Islamic doctrine or the unholy Koran and Muhammad (I hate Muhammad, because he was a heresiarch and false prophet, who has caused the physical and spiritual death of millions of people).

      I would welcome the progress of the Isalmic countries, but they don't stand a chance as long as the wicked Imams tell them tall stories.

      Furthermore you must distinguish the rule of the state and the realm of the Church. As Church member I wish that everybody becomes a Christian, but as ordinary citizen of a free state I must and want to accept that there are other beliefs.

      I fight every day to see the Muslim people of Munich seperate from their false belief. I see them just as human beings worthy of God's love.

      August 4, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Rainer Braendlein

      Sorry -Rainer, I beg to differ with you. I read your posting several times...as...apparently others have as well, and are having similar problems and are pointing it out to you and taking issue with you and your statements.

      You now are trying to 'clean up' your posting to mean that 'we' somehow misinterpreted you, when you very clearly stated:

      " Assumed, the Western World would be assaulted by the Islamic Empire again, a defensive war would be legal. In a defensive war every Western soldier would be strictly obliged to kill the soldiers of the(satanic) host (Islamic army).
      Nukes could be highly effective weapons in a defensive war against a (satanic) host. I 'encourage everybody' to (slaughter satanic soldiers) most effectively and with 'devotion'. " 😯

      Your posting in no way, shape or form was about 'just defensive' but about an all-out call for everyone to 'nuke' the shi-t out of "Satan's Hosts" and with "devotion" I might add. Christian "Holy War" much...? 😯

      You crossed the line from a purely defensive stance to turning this into a "Holy War" doctrine.

      Sorry pal... I'm obviously not the only one who apparently 'mis-read' your original posting.

      Wow... Rainer, sometimes dude, I'm just not sure you are really thinking about what you are putting on paper here. Or, maybe you are and you're just not able to let in the feedback.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • LadyAnon

      Rainer: 1st, your lack of knowledge in regard to history is astounding. 2nd, Reading several of the comments you posted were quite scary.

      I can't STAND religious organizations that run over to other countries with bibles and various forms of their religion's literature and propaganda trying to shove and force it down the throats of those in need of aid! I happened to be flipping channels one day and saw where some religious group was so proud of themselves for hauling bibles to a starving nation – I wanted to throw up, I was so disgusted. These people don't need another religion – they need food, water, medicine, education materials, clothing...(birth control?)

      Just so you know, Christianity only makes up about 1/3 of the world's population in regard to religious beliefs – so you're kinda out numbered there.

      Also – just to give you a bit more in 'Real' history: If you're of European descent, I can almost absolutely assure you that YOUR earlier ancestors were NOT originally Christian. On the European continent, the vast majority of the population held to the earlier pagan beliefs and had several Gods/Goddesses. There celebrations were centered around planting and harvest times of the year. When Christianity started to take root (mostly through brutal force, during the Crusades in order for the Church to gain political control) they adopted many of the pagan holiday rituals, dates and themes in order to bring more of the pagans away from their beliefs and into the Christian churches.

      Go back and re-read history.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • William Demuth

      LadyAnon

      We can make beautiful athiests babies together if you like.

      Or we can skip the babies and just have red hot monkey love like our ancestors did.

      Its your call!

      August 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  19. Frogist

    I have to say I like that there are some ethics classes associated with the deployment of nukes. I'm not sure how that would go. I would like to think that the people with their hands on the button have gone through some kind of lessons on the sanct!ty of life, the necessary or unecessary pitfalls of war... I don't know. Something. I do find it a bit disconcerting that the classes would be some kind of pro-war religious fundie type thing. So I really hope they aren't like that.
    I did look up "Just War" theory and it seems to be a set of Catholic rules regarding when and how to proceed in war. And at a glance the rules seem quite reasonable. Jus ad bellum and Jus in bello seem quite fair and honorable with the main thrust being that war must not be fought indiscriminately and must be a last resort always. The specifications for use of nukes is even stricter. At first glance I don't have any issues with these rules. If someone has a more in depth knowledge of Just War theory or can point me to some reading material, I'd appreciate it.

    August 4, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Frogist

      Hey -CK ! SM here.

      Unfortunately, if a government or radicalized religious group wants to indoctrinate you into killing millions of innocents, one of the main ways of doing it is to indoctrinate you with "end times" types of doctrines, as the Air Force was doing here.

      They were teaching about 'warrior Jesus' and using the Book or Revelations as justification. That is a far cry from what we are talking about should be done here.

      Ethics and war theory can be presented without 'any' religious or 'end times' overtones, as basically there is no real difference in theory between our people teaching from the book of revelations and warrior Jesus to the radicalized muslims justification of killing millions of innocents quoting their brand of 'end times' from the Qur'an and 'warrior Muhammed.

      Hope that you are well, -Frogist !

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 4, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Frogist

      @Peace2All: Hi SM! I suspect the TruthOut article explains much better the specifics of what the ethics class was really teaching. The CNN bit didn't explain that much. But it did mention "Just War" theory which doesn't sound that bad to me.
      I agree with you that religious indoctrination leading to the indiscriminate killing of others because Warrior Jesus loves you is far-fetched and dangerous reasoning for nuking people. I also agree that ethics can be taught without referring to religion. But I don't believe that it is completely necessary to leave religion out of ethical discussions in the broader sense. It seems from what you are saying that this was not a presentation of different religious approaches to war as part of a larger discussion of ethics, but a means of indoctrinating soldiers into thinking war and the nuclear option is A-OK with Jesus. And that's not A-OK with me. I wish I could read the TruthOut article... freaking interwebz access.
      Also I'm quite well. Otakon was a blast! Hope you're doing well yourself, my friend!

      August 4, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Frogist

      Who loves ya' baby !!! 😀

      From 'truthout.org, the article:

      ---------------–
      Air Force Pulls Christian-Themed Ethics Training for Nuclear Missile Officers After Publication of Truthout Report
      Saturday 30 July 2011
      by: Jason Leopold, Truthout | Report

      A slide taken from a PowerPoint presentation on Nuclear Ethics and Nuclear Warfare cites St. Augustine's Christian Just War Theory to teach missile officers about the morals and ethics of launching nuclear weapons. (Image: United States Air Force)

      The Air Force, in response to an exclusive report published by Truthout earlier this week, has withdrawn materials used in a training session that relied upon passages from the New and Old Testament and a quote from an ex-Nazi SS officer to teach missile officers about the morals and ethics of launching nuclear weapons.

      The Nuclear Ethics and Nuclear Warfare training "has been taken out of the curriculum and is being reviewed," said David Smith, chief of public affairs of Air Education and Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. "The commander reviewed it and decided we needed to have a good hard look at it and make sure it reflected views of modern society."

      Smith said the ethics training has been in place for "20-plus years" and the decision to remove it was made on Wednesday after Truthout's report was published. He added that it will now be "given thorough scrutiny" and "folks will be appointed to look at what we have and determine its utility and if they think its useful to continue having an ethics course they will develop a new course."

      The course was led by Air Force chaplains and took place during a missile officer's first week in training at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Officers who train to be missileers were required to attend the ethics course, which included a PowerPoint presentation on St. Augustine's "Christian Just War Theory" as well as numerous examples of characters from the New and Old Testament the training materials asserted engaged in warfighting in a "righteous way."

      St. Augustine's "Qualifications for Just War," according to the way the Air Force characterized it in slides used in the ethics training, are: "to avenge or to avert evil; to protect the innocent and restore moral social order (just cause)" and "to restore moral order; not expand power, not for pride or revenge (just intent)."

      One of the PowerPoint slides also contained a passage from the Book of Revelation that claims Jesus Christ, as the "mighty warrior," believed some wars to be just.

      At the conclusion of the ethics training session, missile officers were asked to sign a legal doc-ument stating they will not hesitate to launch the nuclear-armed Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) "if lawfully ordered to do so by the President of the United States or his lawful successor."

      The doc-uments' blatant use of religious imagery and its numerous references to the New and Old Testament would appear to const-itute a violation of the First Amendment establishing a wall of separation between church and state and Clause 3, Article 6 of the Const-itution, which specifically prohibits a "religious test."

      The 43-page PowerPoint was included with more than 500 pages of other doc-uments pertaining to a missile officer's first week in training that was released by the Air Force under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and provided to Truthout by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), a civil rights organization.

      Another PowerPoint slide quoted Wernher Von Braun, a former member of the Nazi Party and SS officer who is regarded as the father of the US space program. Von Braun was not cited in the PowerPoint as a scientific expert, rather, he was specifically being referenced as a moral authority, which is remarkable considering that the Nazi scientist used Jews imprisoned in concentration camps, captured French anti-Nazi partisans, civilians, and others to help build the V-2, a weapon responsible for the death of thousands of British civilians.

      MRFF President Mikey Weinstein said more than 30 missile officers contacted his organization over the past week to complain about the Christian imagery and biblical passages in the ethics training. He said the decision by the Air Force to pull the ethics course material is a "great victory for the const-itution." [Full disclosure: Weinstein is a member of Truthout's Board of Advisers.]

      "We are not going to commend the Air Force for doing something they should have done a quarter-century ago," Weinstein said. "It's an outrage and a deliberate attempt to torture and distort our const-itution when the US Air Force mandatorily teaches its nuclear missile launch officers that fundamentalist Christian theology is inextricably intertwined with the 'correct' decision to launch nukes."

      There you go @Frogist.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Peace2All: You're the best! *hug*
      That was pretty ef-fed up. It's so ridiculous it's hard to believe.

      See I was reading this:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_War
      ... which is just a little bit different than what they were shoveling.

      August 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Belloch

      Frogist –

      I taught ethics in a Catholic education setting for several years. What is listed on the site you referenced reflects the current teachings of how the Catholic church views wars (including nuclear) and the justification for it. I know for certain that the Catholic church doesn't view Jesus as a warrior/soldier in the Book of Rev. and the Book of Revelation is interpretted as a book of history and poetry, not as a book of prophecy about the end times as many would believe.

      The TruthOut article that was posted makes it sound like the AF put together a hodgepodge of different beliefs and put together their own definition, which is entirely possible.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Belloch

      Sorry...that should be EXcluding nuclear war. 🙂

      August 4, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Frogist

      Hi Belloch: Not having seen the presentation myself I am inclined to believe you that the Air Force simply put together a mish-mosh of what they thought would be convincing as a religious pro-war argument. It all seems ironically unethical. Thanks for the insight!

      August 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  20. Summary

    The bible and nukes don't mix because only god should be allowed to kill and maim and burn thousands of people at once. He's the best at that.

    August 4, 2011 at 10:34 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.