I am ambivalent. Not sure where I land on this. My instincts tell me that with the hyper-religiosity inherent in the Air Force Academy (a major issue with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation) and throughout the military services that this is another proselytizing attempt at worst, or the unnecessary invoking of Judeo-Christian doctrine at best.
But on the other hand there is a reality that must be confronted. A vast portion of the military is in fact Christian. They were before they entered the military, and carry that affliction around with them on active duty. In the unique position these nuclear missile specialists are in, they would be faced with a life changing ethical/moral dilemma in the event they are asked to launch nuclear weapons. The very thought of such an event should send shivers up all of our spines as its ramifications, including global nuclear war, is the stuff nightmares are made of.
If any one of those airmen hesitates just long enough to ask the question "What would Jesus Do?” or start babbling prayers for guidance, or fumbling with their rosary beads and waiting for a sign from God during the critical moment, we could well be worse off as a nation than had the launch order been immediately executed...unquestioned and instantaneously. If by settling the religious issue or, shall I say, if by justifying mass killing on religious grounds as part of training it eliminates that hesitation, then this may in fact be a reasoned and logical approach.
So, it's not proselytizing to non-Xtians, or even the government endorsing one religion over another. It’s a matter of recognition that the job of these selected few, largely believing, must never be impaired by thinking too hard on how their deity perceives mass destruction. They lay it out and nail it shut: “He's done it lots of times, and He has endorsed it lots more... it’s all good. So be ready to push the button on command.”
I wonder if CFI has given it this kind of thoughtful consideration. I’ll give the Air Force a pass on this one.
[Thanks to Linda Mortensen for the inspiration for this article]