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So help me…

On October 30, 2013, the Air Force changed their rules. It used to be that they would allow you to omit the phrase “So help me God” at the end of their enlistment oath. But no more.

So for now, you have to swear to God in order to be in the Air Force. And indeed, an airman who crossed out the “So help me God” part has been told that if he does not sign the full oath and also recite it (including the God part), he will be kicked out.

Considering that the constitution prohibits the establishment of any religion, and further prohibits requiring religious tests to hold an office or public trust, this will be an interesting court case.

Personally, I think that putting religious beliefs ahead of the constitution is a supremely bad idea. The Hobby Lobby ruling was bad enough, but at least that was not an actual arm of the government requiring someone to swear an oath to God.



  1. Michael wrote:

    But, but, but… TRADITION! Damn your personal autonomy and individual conscience. It’s a tradition and you’re being un-fun if you dare suggest we change it.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink
  2. Zyvlyn wrote:

    Boy, christians sure are persecuted in our society, aren’t they?

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  3. westomoon wrote:

    Interesting. My first reaction was that it wasn’t surprising that this happened in the Air Force, since that Branch underwent a takeover by fundamentalist Christians some time ago. Here are a few links:;;

    What interested me, though, was that my search for a link turned up a whole slew of RWNM pieces about the Air Force “persecuting” Christians, in pretty much the same time period. Of course, the “persecution” turned out to be trying to get Xian wingnuts to rein in their “religious expression” on the job.

    It’s depressing to learn that apparently the wingnuts have won this battle.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  4. PatriotSGT wrote:

    We’ll, what I know is the SEC DEF could change that with a Pen and the Commander in Chief could also order the SEC DEF to change that with a pen. Think about that. Don’t blame the Air Force if their superiors allow it. Blame their superiors.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink
  5. Ralph wrote:

    I don’t think this Commander in Chief would want to ruffle those feathers, certainly not at this point. He’s already seen by many as a secret Muslim and a non-American born Kenyan to begin with. Republicans and hardcore Christians would have a field day! He may be a constitutional lawyer but he’s also not stupid.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink
  6. Jon wrote:

    Strange especially because the biblical Jesus said, “But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.”

    Swearing an oath doesn’t make anything any more true. “Let your yes be yes, or your no be no.”

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink
  7. Don wrote:

    I make it a point to not say “under god” when I recite the Pledge of Allegiance at all the meetings I attend up here. So far, no one has questioned me about my failure to acknowledge the wisdom of our country’s Christian founders. Of course, the language wasn’t added until after I was born (added by Eisenhower and Congress in the mid-50s during the McCarthy reign of terror), so I can always claim that I’m living in the past, I guess.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    The “under god” thing was added after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus. See

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink
  9. ThatGuy wrote:

    Making someone swear to a diety that for all intents and purposes in such a situation doesn’t exist seems like an odd way of ensuring loyalty.

    Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink
  10. Dan wrote:

    First off I’m retired Air Force and I always “affirmed.” This is truly Ironic because in three Gospels appears the words- Swear not an oath, rather let your yes be yes and your no be no.

    Friday, September 12, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink
  11. Dan wrote:

    Normally I would say the court would find the law unconstitutional, but with this court who knows.

    Friday, September 12, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink
  12. Iron Knee wrote:

    Luckily, the Air Force changed their minds. The rules went back to the way they were, allowing “so help me God” to be omitted. See

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink