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Air Force Makes Religion Optional in Oath

In a victory for secularism prompted by action from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Air Force Academy has made the phrase “so help me God” optional in the Cadet Honor Oath. Naturally, the wingnuts are freaking out over it, like the American Family Association.

The Air Force Academy is considering dropping the phrase “so help me God” from its oath after atheist Mickey Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) filed a complaint.

The Academy’s oath is: “We will not lie, steal or cheat nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and live honorably, so help me God.”

In a meeting with American Family Association at the Pentagon last month, an Air Force spokesman said Weinstein has no influence and that it doesn’t even return his calls.

Ironically, this week, Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson responded to Weinstein within 68 minutes of his email to the Academy. She told Weinstein she immediately had a poster that contained the oath removed from a prep school wall removed (at his request) and that the Academy would consider removing “so help me God” from its oath.

Notice the obsession with Mikey rather than actually engaging the issue. And they want their members to “take action” to keep the oath the way it is:

TAKE ACTION

Urge Air Force Academy Commandant Brig. Gen. Gregory J. Lengyel to preserve religious liberty by defending the oath and recommending the Academy keep the current language intact.

Such a perverse notion of “religious liberty.” For the AFA, forcing all cadets to use religious language is “religious freedom” while making it optional is religious tyranny. Up is down, black is white, war is peace.

Comments

  1. says

    Such a perverse notion of ‘religious liberty.’

    No it isn’t. It’s really quite simple: They’re first in line for religious liberty. And by the time they’ve got their fill, there’s none left for the rest of us.

  2. eric says

    Such a perverse notion of “religious liberty.”

    Perverse, but not particularly difficult to understand, and fairly consistnet with modern conservative thought (IMO). For them the ‘liberty’ resides in the majority’s right to make laws imposing their will on the minority. It’s at the level of the group, not the individual.* Their logic here is that the AF’s “liberty” to impose its religious preference on members is being lost. If you think about it, this is fairly consistent with other parts of modern conservative philosophy. I.e., corporations and such entities have rights like people. Its also consistent with seeing the state as the end-all, be-all political unit (which they do at least in terms of lip service, if not in practice).

    *At least this generation, while they’re the majority. In times and places where they are a minority, they tend to switch to the more liberal, individual definition.

  3. gshelley says

    Well according to the Christian Fighter Pilot, the oath is taken on mass and no one would notice if a cadet dropped the end bit, so it is already optional. Therefore, this is just done to give Mickey Weinstein more power and influence and should be opposed.
    That’s me convinced.

  4. Alverant says

    I noticed that to the AFA being made optional is considered “dropped” as if no one will ever say it willingly so it’s an affront to their religious liberty if they can’t require people say an oath to their god.

  5. Loqi says

    I keep telling Christians that if they want to force me to worship their god, making rules saying I must is the wrong way to go about it. There’s a much easier more effective method, one which is guaranteed to convert any atheist: demonstrate that their god is real. It’s a simple task, right?

  6. magistramarla says

    I think that the words “on my honor” should be substituted. The cadets make a big deal out of being honorable, so this would make sense. It would also call for more personal responsibility, which the conservatives claim to be all about.

  7. greg1466 says

    If you need Gods help in order to not lie, cheat or steal and to do your duty and live honorably, I for one don’t want you responsible for defending the country, including having access to nuclear weapons.

  8. sqlrob says

    Loqi @ 7

    I keep telling Christians that if they want to force me to worship their god, making rules saying I must is the wrong way to go about it. There’s a much easier more effective method, one which is guaranteed to convert any atheist: demonstrate that their god is real. It’s a simple task, right?

    That’s not true. If Christians could demonstrate their god, there is not a chance in hell (pun intended) that I would worship it. Have you read the freaking bible? He needs to be opposed, not worshiped.

  9. Alverant says

    Christians are also getting special rights. Only they have the option to say an oath to their god. A muslim cadet can’t end with “So help me Allah”, Hindu cadets can’t say “So help me Vishnu”, etc. Your choices are the christian god or nothing. Why isn’t AFA going after that attack on religious liberty?

  10. Sastra says

    I’m not sure what the religious oath advocates want. Do they want the atheists to go along and say the oath even though they don’t mean it, thus making the atheists dishonest and the group oath an empty, meaningless gesture? Or do they want the atheists to drop out of the Air Force?

    My guess is that either option is okay with them.

  11. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    Sastra:

    Do they want the atheists to go along and say the oath even though they don’t mean it, thus making the atheists dishonest and the group oath an empty, meaningless gesture?

    Wow! The oath says:

    “We will not lie…”

    and since that means that they would be lying IN the oath, they would have to be immediately kicked out! That’s quite a catch. That’s … Catch 22!

  12. bahrfeldt says

    My dog tags, issued over forty years ago and still on my key chain, say “NO PREF”, no religious preference. Accordingly, I ended all oaths with “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. Amen”.

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