TRENTON — A video tribute to first sergeants was recently removed from the YouTube channel of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey following complaints over the overtly Christian content in the production, reports state.
The video was based on a poem written by Chaplain Douglas Hess and was written in the vein of a piece narrated by famed late radio broadcaster Paul Harvey called “So God Made a Farmer.” Harvey’s piece was later used in a Super Bowl commercial for Dodge Ram.
“So God Made a First Sergeant” was reportedly approved by several chaplains and other officials and was posted on the base YouTube page to honor first sergeants.
“On the eighth day, God looked down on His creation and said, ‘I need someone who will take care of the airmen,'” the production begins. “So God created a first sergeant.”
“God said, ‘I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, work all day, drive across the base five times, be at every function, eat supper, attend an evening base event [and] take a crisis call before going to bed,'” it continues. “God had to have someone fight for the least of the airmen: to stand up when rights and privileges weren’t provided, the soul that wasn’t afraid to get into the mess people had made in their life, counsel them, guide them and do it again for the other ten airmen whose files are sitting on his or her desk.”
According to reporter Todd Starnes, the video was removed last week following complaints from others at the base. Starnes states that he obtained an email explanation of the removal.
“I would not recommend using this at all,” said the chief of the Air Force News Service. “The choice of ‘On the eighth day’ verbiage to begin this video is highly suggestive of the Book of Genesis in the Bible and has Christian overtones.”
“How would an agnostic, atheist or Muslim serving in the military take this video?” he asked.
“The Air Force removed the ‘God Created a First Sergeant’ video from the official Joint Base McGuire-Dix YouTube site to evaluate whether it is consistent with official Air Force guidance,” spokesperson Ann Stefanik told Starnes, “to include whether it meets official guidance governing religious neutrality in the Air Force as prescribed in Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Culture.”
Reaction to the removal of the video has been mixed.
“All soldiers deserve respect and appreciation, and this video disrespects any military person who is not Christian, including the many other religions practiced in America, as well as those who choose not to practice any religion,” wrote one commenter named Destiny.
“Removing God is the downfall of our nation,” wrote another commenter named Gloria. “God and His word — the Bible — were always part of our country. It needs to be restored before the complete fall of our country.”
It is not known whether the video will be restored to the base YouTube page if found to be permissible according to Air Force guidelines.