When Ray Soller, who deserves the credit for catching Kelly’s historically absurd oath story, emailed a number of people, including myself, about this back in May, I was appalled by it for two reasons — not only because I’m someone who has been fighting the Christian nationalists’ revisionism of American history for over a dozen years, but also because I work for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and have been watching with horror as the same historical revisionism that for years has been steadily making its way into our public schools, the halls of Congress, and even Supreme Court opinions, has also been creeping into our military, with the most well-known Christian nationalist historical revisionist, David Barton, speaking at our military bases and his books and videos being found in military base libraries — including the libraries at several of the military service academies and the military’s other colleges.
Not only did Kelly tell his completely insane story (which of course also included the long-ago-debunked myth that George Washington added the words “so help me God” to his oath) at the commencement at one of our military service academies, but his not knowing that the president’s oath is in the Constitution went completely unnoticed by every news organization that covered this commencement. The only attention at all that was given to John Kelly’s incredible display of constitutional ignorance came from a few bloggers who, thanks to Ray Soller’s alerting them to it, posted about it on their blogs.
As already mentioned, Kelly’s preposterous oath story was part of his remarks introducing Donald Trump, who then took the stage and gave a nearly half hour long commencement address, during which he not surprisingly, and completely inappropriately for the occasion, bitched that no politician in history has ever been treated more unfairly by the media than he has, and boasted in his typical campaign-style manner about his many phenomenal accomplishments so far as president. And then, in keeping with the sudden facade of religiosity that he has adopted since becoming president and surrounding himself with a coterie of theocrats, he told these soon-to-be commissioned officers that they are “doing God’s work.”
No, Mr. Trump, our nation’s Coast Guard officers are not “doing God’s work.” They are bravely defending that “piece of paper” called the Constitution that your new White House chief of staff has apparently never read.