(photo: U.S. Air Force graphic)
The U.S. Air Force has garnered backlash from GOP lawmakers after it removed a reference to God that appears on the patch logo for the Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO).
The RCO, which was created in 2003 to communicate weapons system reports to the U.S. Air Force's top officials, changed its patch logo several weeks ago after the atheist group, the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAFA), complained about the logo's reference to God.
The logo originally read in Latin "Doing God's Work with Other People's Money." However, it has been changed to read: "Doing Miracles with Other People's Money."
A bi-partisan group of 35 lawmakers, led by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), are protesting the change.
The group wrote a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, advising them to restore the God reference in the logo.
In the letter, Forbes referred to the logo change as setting a "dangerous precedent" for religious freedom in America. According to The Blaze, the letter stated:
"The action taken by the RCO suggests that all references to God, regardless of their context, must be removed from the military. As we are confident that your legal advisers would not suggest that censorship is required for compliance with the First Amendment, we ask that you reverse this perplexing decision."
Rep. Forbes also spoke to Fox News, saying that the Air Force's decision is "most egregious."
"The Air Force is taking the tone that you can't even use the word 'God'," he told Fox News. "[It is a] bridge too far in terms of the rights of men and women who serve in our services and their ability to express their faith."
This serves as one example of what many critics are deeming a "war against religion" in America, with many institutions dropping their God references in exchange for more secular expressions.
In Jan. 2012, Alaska Airlines dropped its 30-year practice of issuing prayer cards during mealtime. Similarly, in early January a federal court ruled that a Rhode Island school remove a Christian prayer banner, over 50 years old, from its campus.
Geoffrey Surtees, attorney for the American Center for Law and Justice, told The Christian Post that the logo change was a "silly demand by [MAAFA] and the United States Air Force should not have heeded the demand."
Although there are some groups who seek to remove God from America's public sphere, Surtees contended "it's a war that I just don't think that they're going to win."
"The history and traditions of our country are just too strong, I think, for these groups to prevail over such things," he told CP.