US Air Force to Atheist: Say God in oath or dont re-enlist
An atheist airman is being denied the ability to re-enlist in the US Air Force because he refuses to use the word “God” in his oath of office, according to the American Humanist Association (AHA).
The unnamed member of the Air Force refused to take the oath containing “so help me God,” wanting a secular affirmation instead. So he crossed out the phrase on his contract. The airman was told by his superiors that he must swear to God or leave the Air Force, the AHA said in a press release. The organization learned of the service member through the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers, a group that represents atheist and agnostic military members. The airman is a member of that group, along with over 3,500 other current and former military personnel worldwide, the AHA said in its letter.
The AHA’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center recently sent a letter to United States Air Force officials on behalf of the service member at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada, demanding that the airman be permitted to re-enlist with a contract using secular language.
“The government cannot compel a nonbeliever to take an oath that affirms the existence of a supreme being,” Monica Miller, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said in the AHA statement. “Numerous cases affirm that atheists have the right to omit theistic language from enlistment or reenlistment contracts.”
In October 2013, the Air Force quietly updated the rules regarding re-enlistments in Air Force Instruction (AFI) 36-2606, its rules governing reenlistments, which all airmen must take when they enlist or reenlist. The new AFI removed the exception: “Note: Airmen may omit the words ‘so help me God,’ if desired for personal reasons,” the Air Force Times reported.
“Reciting ‘So help me God’ in the reenlistment and commissioning oaths is a statutory requirement under Title 10 USC 502,” Air Force spokeswoman Rose Richeson told the AF Times Thursday. AFI 36-2606 “is consistent with the language mandated in 10 USC 502. Paragraph 5.6 [and] was changed in October 2013 to reflect the aforementioned statutory requirement and airmen are no longer authorized to omit the words ‘So help me God.’ ”
The Air Force said it cannot change its AFI to make “so help me God” optional unless Congress changes the statute mandating it.
Interesting. Reports have been rampant for years that the Air Force Base in Colorado is an Evangelical haven.
I am not quite sure how building a "christian" haven within the military is compatible with anything Jesus is recorded to have said ever, but American evangelicals are a bit strange...
It always seemed to me that believing in God and being in the military were completely contrary to each other. I don't understand how an oath like that can make any sense in the first place.
please google US Airforce Acadamy Chapel to see how entrenched the divine mission idea is in the US airforce.
I am still awed by hundrets of B17 covering the sky like an aluminum overcast. signs in heaven. Thor personified.
You have no idea how Evangelicals will twists Jesus to fit whatever they want. According to them, Jesus would have carried a concealed gun and owned an arsenal and would tell the poor to fend for themselves while lynching gay people.
These are my feelings on things like this: considering the re-enlisting bonuses they get, I'd say, "Choose your battles." My son in law used to get many thousands of dollars to re-enlist in the Navy. He was not religious at all: he just said his vow and then moved on with his life.
Long before I was a JW, I stopped saying the pledge to the flag. I was in high school. My decision had nothing to do with the "under God" part. My decision was because of the "with liberty and justice for all" part. I felt like until the day came that there really was liberty and justice for all, I wasn't going to say the pledge. I was the closest I've ever been to being an atheist at the time. The god part didn't ever cross my mind. I remember that another guy in my homeroom class didn't say the pledge for religious reasons. I respected his reasons. Danged if I didn't find him sitting at the KH, the first time I went to a meeting.
Yeah, advise people to sacrifice their principles for money. Sounds like a great way to live.
Advise people to use their heads when making major life decisions. Your decisions can make or break you. If you have a military career underway, it's a heavy, heavy thing to walk away from insurance, free housing or housing allowance and other benefits you get. It's a lifestyle. JWs do foolish things like quit good paying jobs with good benefits for religious reasons. I know that my jw husband, who is now my former husband, did just that. He quit a very, very good job that required him to work over time here and there and most Saturdays for half a day. It spelled financial ruin for us, which helped unravel our marriage. Save the sticking with your principles for things like who you will vote for, not showing racial prejudice, etc.
Right, because being forced to swear an oath against your religion or beliefs by the government is an little thing.
Save the lecture for someone that knows less about the military, making good decisions and principles than you.