Televangelist Pat Robertson says it's "crazy" that the U.S. Air Force will now allow servicemen and women to omit the words "so help me God" from official oaths.
“What is wrong with the Air Force?" he beseeched viewers on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s "The 700 Club" on Thursday.
The Air Force announced the policy change this week, after an atheist airman in Nevada crossed out the words on his re-enlistment paperwork. Officials initially refused to accept the man's papers; but after reviewing the case, the Department of Defense General Counsel eventually ruled that the airman could leave out the phrase if he wanted.
"All of the other military services have allowed the alternate language for years," The Associated Press reports.
This fact, however, didn't stop Robertson from expressing his disdain for the Air Force's decision. In an impassioned rant on his show, he specifically blamed Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, who recently wrote to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to ask for the change in language. As Hemant Mehta, editor of The Friendly Atheist, notes, there’s no evidence that Weinstein’s letter was directly responsible for the recent change in policy; but Robertson was adamant.
“There’s a left-wing radical named Mikey Weinstein, who has got a group about people against religion or whatever he calls it, and he has just terrorized the armed forces,” Robertson said. “You think you’re supposed to be tough, you’re supposed to defend us, and you got one little Jewish radical who is scaring the pants off of you.”
“You want these guys flying the airplanes to defend us when you got one little guy terrorizing them?” Robertson went on. “That’s what it amounts to. … How can [the Air Force] fly the bombers to defend us if they cave to one little guy?”
Robertson added that you don't necessarily have to believe in God to say the phrase. "You just say, ‘I want some help besides myself [with] the oath I’m taking,'” he reasoned.
Weinstein says he's not at all bothered by Robertson's remarks, telling Mehta this week, “Pat Robertson is to human dignity and sanity and integrity and character what dog s**t is to a fine French restaurant on the menu.”
h/t Raw Story