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Reader: An icon of church and war



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I recently finished reading Neil deGrasse Tyson's best-selling book Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military. He details how his professional career as an astrophysicist is inexorably linked to the military-industrial complex and its mission of perpetual war. He explores the counterarguments to his final conclusion that it is a very necessary and inevitable bond but he rejects them. He finds rather that scientists such as himself have to accept being accessories to war in order to thrive.

There is a historic moment about to unfold in our community which highlights how organized religion is also an accessory to war. The Air Force Academy Chapel is about to shut down for four years while it gets a $68 million do-over at taxpayers' expense. Many news stories and much of the tourist literature concerning it use the word "iconic" to describe it. It is indeed an "icon" in the religious sense of that word and thus its existence as a government-sponsored church violates the concept of the separation of church and state. From the point of view of churches it makes them complicit in blessing all wars in which the U.S. becomes involved.

The irony is that the plan put in place in the interim four years is a very sensible, workable alternative. And we should note that West Point and the Naval Academy survive without such an icon on their campuses.

— Bill Sulzman

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