Rep. Sam Johnson Of Texas Is Not Quite A Student Of History
Rep. Sam Johnson is a veteran, and former prisoner war. He has thus suffered privation in the name of preserving and protecting the American Experiment far greater than I ever will endure myself. For that, I thank him.
However, the good Representative appears to have at least a piece of his American history in twist, and as such I’d like to point out a few salient details that could go a long way towards clearing the air, and respecting the religious liberty that is so deeply codified into the document that details the rules for this our, again, American Experiment.
Rep. Johnson recently wrote a short entry in response to the Air Force Academy - Johnson served in the Air Force - changing its rules so that uttering the phrase “so help me God” when stating Cadet Honor Code is now optional. This is in keeping with the religious rules of this country such that you are can participate in religious activity if you so desire (cadets may still say the words), but that it cannot be forced by the government onto any of it citizens in any form, period (this is why the new option to not say the words is in keeping with American law, the letter of the Constitution, and the spirit of those who wrote it).
However, Rep. Johnson is opposed to the change, and wants to pass legislation in protest:
In response to the U.S. Air Force Academy’s unilateral decision to make the phrase, ‘so help me God’ of the Cadet Honor Oath optional, I introduced H.R. 3416, a bill that would require congressional approval prior to any change to Oaths of Office. I was joined by original co-sponsor Congressman Pete Olson (TX-22).
Our Founding Fathers declared we are, “One nation under God,” and you better believe I’ll fight like mad to keep it that way. I can tell you from experience, there are no atheists in foxholes. We are the land of the free because of the brave. Many people don’t know this, but when you survive a near-death experience, you realize that the only thing you had to hold on to was your faith in God.
The good Representative has his facts backwards. Our Founding Fathers, such as they were (deist, agnostic, Christian, moral of varying degrees, slaveholders, not, and so forth) did not say that.
The Declaration of Independence, yes, does mention a “Creator,” but only after it gets past the phrase “Nature’s God,” so I am not sure how far that gets us.
However, in the actual fundamental document of these United States - recall that Declaration of Independence was written far closer in time to the Articles of Confederation than the Constitution (11 years!) - there is no mention of God.
Now, Rep. Johnson brings up: “One nation under God.” As you certainly know by now, my dear friend, those words were added to the yet nascent - in comparison - Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, and not in a time period in which the Founding Fathers were still corporeal.
It’s also worth noting that the bit about God in the Pledge was not added until more than 60 after the Pledge was first conceived. So, it’s not even close to original to the piece of Americana that it attaches itself.
Also, as a part of the Flag Code it’s unconstitutional, and will eventually be stricken, I presume.
To our friend Rep. Johnson, please respect the words that the Founding Fathers did indeed write down because they really meant it:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
Those words work for me.