Religion vs Duty: Ronnie's Rules

1263 WordsJul 8, 20186 Pages
In 2005 the Air Force was devastated by allegations of religious harassment and discrimination at the Air Force Academy. Seven years later, Air Force leaders are still struggling to find an appropriate balance that will continue to allow airmen their religious freedom while honoring their commitment to duty. The debate over religion and duty came to the forefront again in February when Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins gave a presentation titled “Ronnie’s Rules” at his first commander’s call. In it included two references to God. The first was when he stated, “Always put God first and stay within his will,” and the second, “Always remember God is good,” concluded his brief. Some members of Lt. Gen. Hawkins staff were offended by his brief and…show more content…
Naval War College, the issue of religious tolerance in the service comes not from religious freedom, but rather from a misconception about the freedom of religious speech. The military does a great job of ensuring that service members have the right and availability of religious worship. However, service members are trying to be too politically correct when talking about religion beliefs. Professor Cook believes that there is too much reliance on chaplains to explain the boundaries of religious speech, when they are actually a matter of law. “I’ve always said one of the mistakes we make is that we assume that chaplains are the subject matter experts about this issue and they’re not,” he said. “I’ve never heard a JAG give what I thought was a wrong opinion about this, but I have heard a lot of chaplains go off the reservation.” Professor Cook goes on the say, “The reality is that when members of the military swear an oath to the Constitution, they give up autonomy about a lot of things, and not just religion.” He also believes there is a solution to helping correct this problem that is plaguing the Air Force. Officers should have a better understanding of the historical aspect of the Constitution, and boundaries concerning religious speech should be made more easily available outside of the chaplain corp. Religion is going to affect every service member’s commitment to duty, regardless of their own religious beliefs. In itself, it is a

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