Veterans Day 2012

In the United States, November 11 is Veterans Day. It is a day to remember those who served in the military during war and peace, and being thankful for their efforts to keep the citizenry of the U.S. safe and defend the Constitution.

Some Asatru people don't always feel as though they are really part of American society. This is usually due to the strong presence of Christianity in its various forms and the way it permeates American culture. You may even wonder if these soldiers are really defending us or if we are just incidental in their defense of a Christian America.

Well, when a soldier enlists in the Army, he or she must swear an oath. This is a very important oath that affirms that the soldier is defending the country and its Constitution. That includes the parts of the Constitution that protect freedom of religion.

According to the U.S. Army Center of Military History web site (accessed November 11, 2012 at the text of the enlisted person's oath is as follows:

I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

In all honesty, the last line really bothers me. It seems a bit monotheist-centric to me. However, no one seemed to mind when I replaced it with "So help me Gods". They also didn't mind that my dog tags read “Other Religion”, which is a catch-all for religions that they don't expect or understand. Let's face it, Asatru is still pretty small and most Americans have never heard of it.

There are some in the military who push for their faith more than the Constitution. That is to be expected. As long as the Constitution stays intact, that is acceptable. It is that Constitution that we rely on.

For that reason, we give thanks to those the soldiers who have served to defend the Constitution, even if some would rather that it not apply to us.

This weekend, please give thanks to the soldiers who have served. Remember that, regardless of whether they believe in Odin, Odin believes in them. The fallen are honored, even if some are a bit surprised in the afterlife.