Air Force Religious Motto Ignites Debate

References to God in official mottoes can cause conflict – even if they’re in Latin.

Thirty-six members of Congress – including Congressional Prayer Caucus Co-chair Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) – sent a letter to Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz recently to protest removal of “God” from the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) logo.

In their letter, Forbes and his allies said, “The action taken by the RCO suggests that all references to God, regardless of their context, must be removed from the military. We ask that you reverse this perplexing decision.”

The logo, which was recently altered thanks to a complaint from a military atheist group, originally contained the somewhat tongue-in-cheek motto Opus Dei Cum Pecunia Alienum Efficemus (Doing God’s Work with Other People’s Money). The motto is now Miraculi Cum Pecunia Alienum Efficemus (Doing Miracles with Other People’s Money).

Forbes says he’s out to end “a disturbing trend of inaccuracies and omissions, misunderstandings of church and state, rogue court challenges and efforts to remove God from the public domain by unelected bureaucrats.”

Jason Torpy, president of the Military Association of Atheists and Free Thinkers, said the word “God” doesn’t belong in the logo because not all service members believe in God, according to the Religion News Service.

At press time, it was not known what response, if any, the members of Congress received.