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Forbes, 35 Members Ask Air Force to Reverse Decision to Remove “God” from Logo Due to Outside Pressure
Washington, D.C., February 7, 2012
Contact: Joe Hack (202) 225-6365

Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), co-Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, announced today that he has sent a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz expressing his concern over recent news that the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) changed its logo to remove a Latin reference to "God" after receiving complaints from the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF).  The bipartisan letter was cosigned by 35 other Members of Congress.

"I am concerned that the RCO capitulated to pressure from an outside group that consistently seeks to remove references to God and faith in our military. The RCO’s action to modify the logo sets a dangerous precedent that all references to God, regardless of context, must be removed from the military. In reality, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit the mention of 'God.' Moreover, courts have consistently upheld the constitutionality of the national motto 'In God We Trust,'" said Forbes.

The RCO patch, like many unit patches, included a line in Latin meant to be a clever pun understood by members of the unit. The RCO logo previously displayed the motto "Opus Dei Cum Pecunia Alienum Efficemus" (Doing God’s Work with Other People’s Money), but was altered to now read "Miraculi Cum Pecunia Alienum Efficemus" (Doing Miracles with Other People’s Money).  An image of the original logo is available below.

A copy of the letter is available here, and the text is below.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

February 6, 2012
Honorable Michael B. Donley
SAF/OS
1670 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1670

General Norton A. Schwartz
HQ USAF/CC
1670 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1670

Dear Secretary Donley and General Schwartz:     

It has come to our attention that the U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) has modified the logo on its official patch to remove its reference to “God,” following a complaint from the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers.  Because such alteration certainly was not required by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, we call on you to reverse this troubling decision.

As Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, a bipartisan group of 103 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives dedicated to protecting religious freedom in America and ensuring that our nation is not stripped of references to its spiritual heritage, we are deeply concerned that the RCO capitulated to pressure from an outside group that consistently strives to remove references to God and faith from our nation’s military.   

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the establishment of religion; however, the mere mention of God certainly does not rise to this level.  The action taken by the RCO suggests that all references to God, regardless of their context, must be removed from the military.  As we are confident that your legal advisors would not suggest that censorship is required for compliance with the First Amendment, we ask that you reverse this perplexing decision.

As you know, courts consistently have upheld the constitutionality of our national motto, “In God We Trust,” despite its obvious mention of God.  In fact, that motto appears on our nation’s currency and is inscribed above the Speaker’s rostrum in the U.S. House of Representatives.  In light of these and numerous other instances of prominent references to God and consistent affirmations of their constitutionality, we ask that you reverse the decision to alter the logo.  Thank you for your attention to this matter and we look forward to receiving your prompt response.

Sincerely,


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