USA nuclear missile launch officers disgusted to be taught that “under fundamentalist Christian doctrine, war is a good thing”.

USA nuclear missile launch officers disgusted to be taught that
“under fundamentalist Christian doctrine, war is a good thing”.

‘Jesus loves nukes’: US Air Force taught the Christian Just War Theory

To the men and women burdened with the ultimate responsibility of
launching America’s nuclear missiles it was known as the “Jesus loves
nukes” lesson.

By Nick Allen, Los Angeles / 05 Aug 2011

For 20 years the course on “Christian Just War Theory” was taught by
chaplains at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to those who
would turn the key should World War III break out.

The training, which used passages from the Bible and religious
imagery to demonstrate the moral justification for atomic warfare,
has now been suspended.

The Air Force acted after receiving an inquiry from Truthout, a news
website which first broke the story.

A PowerPoint presentation which was part of the course had consisted
of 43 slides which included references to Biblical figures like
Abraham and John the Baptist, and paintings of the Visigoths
attacking Rome in AD410.

Instructors quoted St Augustine’s just cause for war, telling them it
was right “to avenge or to avert evil, to protect the innocent and
restore moral and social order.”

They also recounted how, in the Book of Genesis, Abraham had
organised an army to rescue Lot, and how there were “Old Testament
believers who engaged in war in a righteous way.” Officers were also
told that in Judges, God is “motivating judges to fight and deliver
Israel from foreign oppressors,” and that there was “no pacifistic
sentiment in mainstream Jewish history.”

In the New Testament, they were told, Jesus used the Roman centurion
as a “positive illustration of faith.” One slide read: “Revelation
19:11 Jesus Christ is the mighty warrior.”

The course literature also quoted Werner von Braun, the leading
German rocket scientist who went on to work for the United States
after the Second World War, saying that it was a “moral decision” to
surrender his technology to the US.

Von Braun said: “We felt that only by surrendering such a weapon to
people who are guided by the Bible could such an assurance to the
world be best secured.”

Before the the course was stopped 31 nuclear missile launch officers,
including Protestants and Roman Catholics, had complained to the
Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a group that campaigns for the
separation of church and state.

Its founder Mikey Weinstein said the officers were being told that
“under fundamentalist Christian doctrine, war is a good thing”.

He said the officers found that “disgusting.” Mr Weinstein said: “The
United States Air Force was promoting a particular brand of right
wing fundamentalist Christianity.

“The main essence was that war is a natural part of the human
experience and it’s something that is favoured by this particular
perspective of the New Testament.”

David Smith, spokesman for the Air Force’s Air Education and Training
Command, said ethics courses were “especially important” for nuclear
missile launch officers.

But he added: “Our commander here reviewed the course and decided
immediately that it was not appropriate for what we want to do.

“The use of Bible passages and other elements was just inappropriate.
The military is made up of people from all walks of life, all
faiths.” However, critics accused the Air Force of bowing to
political correctness.

Commander Daniel McKay, a retired US Navy chaplain, said: “Why is it
inappropriate to give our people guidelines that have withstood the
test of time, to give us moral guidance?

“History will prove that if you stay true to God’s wisdom, it will
serve us well and it has served us well.”


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