A U.S. Army recruiting office in Phoenix has taken down a recruiting sign that read, “On a mission for both God and country” after images of the sign, posted online, sparked controversy.
The Army Times reports Army Recruiting Command spokesman Brian Lepley said the sign was ordered to be taken down on Jan. 16 after a public outcry.
Much of that attention likely stemmed from a post on the Daily Kos by Mikey Weinstein, president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. In that post, which ran on Jan. 15, Weinstein wrote that the sandwich board sign in front of the office was an “in-your-face, proselytizing, U.S. Army officially approved recruiting poster.”
The sign, which superimposed the message over the photo of a U.S. Special Forces arm patch, was all the more "offensive" because it directly linked religion to the military's elite fighting forces, Weinstein argued.
“Get this U.S. Army and get it well: The United States armed forces may surely fight and kill ‘for Country’ and our legitimate national security interests,” he wrote. “But our troops do NOT fight and kill for ANYONE’S ‘God’ or related supernatural deity.”
Lepley said the sign went up without the consent of the recruiting office command staff. He told the Army Times that the image of the arm patch was a “stock image” made available to recruiting offices but that the “text was changed by the local recruiting personnel.”
He said the command staff would not have approved the message had the proper procedures for getting such posters printed been followed.
It is not clear when the sign first went on display, but images of it reportedly began surfacing around October on a handful of message boards.
Weinstein told the Army Times he was happy the recruiting office took down the sign.
“The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is delighted that the Constitution has been adhered to by the U.S. Army Recruiting Command,” he said. “But whoever, in any way, shape or form, allowed that poster to be designed, prepared and displayed, those individuals should be aggressively investigated and very visibly punished.”