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article imageProtests arise over blessing of 'official bible' for Space Force

By Karen Graham     Jan 14, 2020 in Politics
Washington - The blessing of what's being called "the official Bible for the new U.S. Space Force" at the Washington National Cathedral on Sunday is drawing an outpouring of criticism on social media and condemnation from a prominent religious freedom advocacy group.
A bible blessing took place on Sunday at Washington National Cathedral, according to NPR.com. What made this particular ceremony newsworthy was that it took place to bless an “official” King James Bible on Sunday that “will be used to swear in all commanders of America’s newest military branch.”
The Bible was donated by the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. - a private institution whose board chairman is Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, and will be used to swear in General John Raymond as the first chief of space operations, a spokesman for the Cathedral told The Hill.
It is not really clear if the bible will be used for every Space Force commander's swearing-in, or just its top leaders, according to Military.com. However, the ceremony did mention blessing Trump, Raymond and “all the men and women of the newly created United States Space Force, wherever they may go.”
Mikey Weinstein, president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), as well as many veterans, denounced the blessing, saying Sunday's ceremony displayed overtones of "Christian privilege" within the Defense Department.
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Washington National Cathedral
"The MRFF condemns, in as full-throated a manner as is humanly possible, the shocking and repulsive display of only the most vile, exclusivist, fundamentalist Christian supremacy, dominance, triumphalism, and exceptionalism which occurred at yesterday's 'blessing' at the Washington National Cathedral," Weinstein said in a statement on Monday.
"The utilization of a Christian bible to ’swear in’ commanders of the new Space Force or any other DoD branch at ANY level is completely violative of the bedrock Separation of Church and State mandate of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and also violates Clause 3, Article 6’s total prohibition of No Religious Test for any Federal Gov’t position. Additionally, such blatantly scurrilous activity violates a slew of critical DoD directives, instructions, and regulations," the statement concluded.
"Gross," wrote one Twitter respondent identifying himself as United Church of Christ Pastor Seth Wispelwey of Tucson, Ariz.
"Um. We don't swear our military oaths on a Bible or any text for that matter," writes Gidget, a self-described veteran, in another reply. "Stand at attention, right hand up. That's it."
Weinstein says the MRFF will be lodging a formal complaint with Defense Secretary Mark Esper on behalf of active-duty and civilian personnel who've contacted the organization since the ceremony. And he is prepared to go to the Federal court in Northern Virginia to put a stop to this.
More about space force, official bible, king james bible, all commanders, military religious freedom foundation
 
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