“For God and Country” is a phrase often used by the military.
It’s the official motto of the American Legion, and it was the phrase used by Navy SEALS to confirm the death of Osama bin Laden.
So, perhaps it should come as no surprise that Air Force recruits must now say “so help me God” while reciting the required oath of enlistment.
The Air Force Times tells us the story of an atheist airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada who was denied reenlistment last month for refusing to recite the oath fully.
The airman crossed out “so help me God” on his contract and asked to be allowed to reenlist without having to swear to a deity. He was told his only option was to sign the religious oath section of the contract without adjustment and recite the oath or leave the Air Force.
The American Humanist Association said the oath is unconstitutional and is preparing a lawsuit.
Previously, airmen were allowed to drop the religious oath if they preferred, the Air Force Times reports. But, in October 2013, Air Force Instruction 36-2606 was modified and swearing an oath to God is now required.
The Air Force said it cannot make “so help me God” optional unless Congress changes the federal law mandating it.
Here’s the full oath required to be taken by all member of the military:
“I, [state your name], do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
The paradox (and potential unconstitutionality) of the oath is that it requires full faith and allegiance to the Constitution, which specifically states “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust.”
As often as politicians mention religion, you’d think it would be a requirement for them to do their jobs too.
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