Air Force members once again have the option of omitting the phrase “so help me God” from their enlistment and appointment oaths. The service joins the other three military branches in making the phrase optional for its service members, a practice it had followed until last year when a legal review determined there could be no omissions of the phrase. Continue reading
The Pentagon said today its General Counsel had determined that the Air Force cannot compel its airmen to include the phrase in its oaths. The Air Force says it will institute the change immediately, returning to a practice it had changed last year.
The issue had arisen in August when an unidentified airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada was denied re-enlistment after he refused to take a re-enlistment oath that ends with the phrase “so help me God.” The airman, who is an atheist, was told by superiors that, according to Air Force regulations, he must include the phrase so his re-enlistment could be processed.
Airman Snuffy sounds like a pain in the ass to me. He sounds like one of those millennials who won't eat their peas or vote for a Republican. Someone is going to have to tell the First Shirt about him and count how many times he goes off of the base to buy that synthetic marijuana or whatever it is. If you don't believe in God, good for you. If you don't want to do what the Air Force tells you, don't re-enlist (assuming, of course, that this same Airman used the words "so help me God" when he enlisted in the first place). None of the Founding Fathers believed in God (save that anti-Catholic bigot John Jay) because they were men of the Enlightenment. They knew about oaths and duty, and they knew that the masses were well in the thrall of organized religion and needed to be cowed and led by their ministers and pastors. The country they built separated Church from State to make it easier to keep people in line. Airman Snuffy thinks he is above all of that. Good for him. He can go home and detail cars. Military service is not about your fee-fees or your beliefs. It is about putting the needs of the mission at hand before your own needs. Your relationship with the God who does not exist is your business. It is not the business of the United States Air Force to do anything except ask you to recite an oath so that, when you screw up, they can kick you out for violating that oath.