Air Force Bars Atheist From Reenlisting Unless He Signs And Orally Repeats an Oath To God

1280px-Oath_of_enlistment_·_DF-ST-91-07705150px-Seal_of_the_US_Air_Force.svgThere is an interesting case of religious freedom that has arisen at Creech Air Force base in Nevada where an unnamed airman has been told that he will not be allowed to re-enlist because he does not want to take an oath including the words “so help me God.” He is an atheist and, for obvious reasons, finds the words objectionable. Curiously, despite that fact that he clearly does not believe in God, the Air Force wants him to swear to God as a condition for his serving his country. It is not only a violation of this constitutional rights under the First Amendment but an offense to the many atheists who have served and continue to serve our country.

The American Humanist Association has complained to the Air Force Inspector General that the rule not only violates First Amendment but also Article VI, which bars using a religious test as qualification to any office or public trust of the United States.

The Air Force insists that they have no leeway because the oath is contained in a statute. Notably, however, the Air Force used to allow airmen to omit the words but changed the policy during the Obama Administration. The old version of Air Force Instruction 36-2606 included an exception: “Note: Airmen may omit the words ‘so help me God,’ if desired for personal reasons.” The change in 2013 requires that even atheist be forced to swear to God as a condition for service.

In this case, the airman simply crossed out the phrase “so help me God.” He was told that who have to both sign a statement swearing to God and then recite those words.

The statute, 10 U.S.C. 502, states:

§502. Enlistment oath: who may administer
(a) Enlistment Oath.—Each person enlisting in an armed force shall take the following oath:
“I, ____________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) 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.”

Notably, if this goes to court, the airman would not be required to swear to God on a bible as an atheist. Instead, he is allowed to attest that his testimony will be true under an alternative to the religious oath:

If any person of whom an oath is required shall claim religious scruples against taking the same, the word “swear” and the words “so help you God” may be omitted from the foregoing forms, and the word “affirm” and the words “and this you do under the penalties of perjury” shall be substituted therefor, respectively, and such person shall be considered, for all purposes, as having been duly sworn.

The refusal to accommodate the religious beliefs of this service member is deeply disturbing and contravenes core American values. He should challenge the rule under the Declaratory Judgment Act in federal court. He will then doubly serve his country in standing against not just enemies from without but those within our country who refuse to respect the religious or non-religious views of all citizens.

Source: Air Force Times as first seen on ABA Journal

850 thoughts on “Air Force Bars Atheist From Reenlisting Unless He Signs And Orally Repeats an Oath To God”

  1. I saw it. You and they try ot present it as he asked specifically for AG’s vote ballot. He didn’t he asked just as I would ask using my name or you using yours. He left because he knew he would be committing, I am assume a felony, had he voted. You use it as proof but it is proof only that this guy asked about someone’s name, not his own and was told yes we have him. The guy did not sign, would the pollworker refuse him when he saw the signatures didn’t match? It is funny to me that the “proof” of fraud is that no fraud was committed.
    To my knowledge Moore has never broken thelaw or staged something to be what it was not such as the prostitute thing with OKeefe Juan Carlos Vera will receive (US)$100,000 in a settlement of his lawsuit against James O’Keefe. The money is to be paid within 30 days and, as part of the settlement, O’Keefe “regrets any pain suffered by Mr. Vera or his family.” Vera was an employee of ACORN in National City, California, when, in 2009, James O’Keefe, posing as a law school student boyfriend (not a pimp) and Hannah Giles, dressed similarly to a prostitute, surreptitiously video-taped the encounter. A “severely edited” version was published by the late Andrew Breitbart and Vera was subsequently fired

    Moore has never misrepresented himself,(to my knowledge, I have not seen all his work) O’Keefe did exactly that in order to get what he wanted ot get as opposed to the reality. Moore is biased and certainly shows his bias. He goes after those who meet his expectations but he does so by representing himself and his positions as he is. That is a big difference.

  2. We’re not just talking ‘access’. We’re talking disenfranchisement. But it is interesting to know where you stand. Odd though….libertarians favor sooo many regulations these days.

  3. Docmadison,
    Why in the world would I need to provide you voter impersonation fraud data? When I make claims to specific data then I will provide you the source. In the meantime, if you need it so badly, go find it yourself. Your problem is you made this a partisan issue and got called on it.

    I’ll repeat: Any policy that disenfranchises one eligible voter or allows one ineligible voter is unacceptable.

    Would you prefer ALL CAPS to have it finally sink in for you?

  4. I don’t do links, leej. Simply YouTube “Eric Holder ballot.” I know you don’t like O’Keefe. I look upon him as the right’s Michael Moore. They are both effective in showing hypocrisy, but I find both annoying. Mike Wallace was annoying. It takes creativity and aggressiveness to uncover corruption. When you watch it is clear why the guy did not vote. He was not going to break the law, which is commendable. He easily could gave. Then folks would have gone for his jugular.

  5. Should have done this ages ago. Maybe this is why Olly didn’t provide any support for voter impersonation fraud….

    Just google ‘voter impersonation’. You’ll find lots of articles. I only glanced quickly, but I think you’ll find that voter impersonation is EXTREMELY rare and as one article noted – a hell of a stupid way to try to influence an election.

    But, stay vigilant patriots! Because freeeedom!

    1. docmadison wrote: “Just google ‘voter impersonation’.”

      It is not just voter impersonation. In some cases, you have people registered in multiple States voting in a federal election.

      Wendy Rosen dropped from her race against Republican Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) today after it was discovered she had been voting in two states in recent elections – Maryland and Florida.

      “The Maryland Democratic Party has discovered that Ms. Rosen has been registered to vote in both Florida and Maryland since at least 2006; that she in fact voted in the 2006 general election both in Florida and Maryland; and that she voted in the presidential preference primaries held in both Florida and Maryland in 2008,” wrote Yvette Lewis, the state party chair. “This information is based on an examination of the voter files from both states. We believe that this is a clear violation of Maryland law and urge the appropriate office to conduct a full investigation.”

  6. Nick I only see your note where you say ther is a video but there is no link (maybe I missed it?)

  7. Mexcat, interestingly when I posted to Mike Huckabee’s FB page (I have said it previously but always bears repeating, I “like” his page to see the lies and twisting of the truth from him and his followers) I put out clicks for links that disprove thru mainstream media and objective think tank sites etc, I wrote something that required me to write G-d in my answer.
    This is where we see how too many of those that want this to be a “Christian Nation” rush to judgment and hate, for lack of a better word.
    The replies were you must really hate G-d, you are insulting G-d, you are a terrible person you won’t even write out the word, that is some new kind of insult etc. Not one who responded, and lots of replies, wrote either I know why you write it that way pr even could you explain why you will not write out the word?

  8. Nick –
    I do think there are more women baseball fans than MLB realizes. I loved Doris Kearnes Goodwin’s stories on Ken Burn’s “Baseball”. I’ve watched that looong documentary a number of times.
    I agree with you about Strasburg. I think the reason he’s just now really showing his stuff is that he was too babied by Davy Johnson.
    You’ve got a nice long love affair with the game. It has always been my favorite. The fact that it IS such a long season is what has always endeared it to me. As you said, we will talk more in the post-season.

  9. leej, You’re breaking my heart. If he voted then he could have been committing a felony. It is CLEAR he could have voted, the poll worker was urging him to vote. You’re absolutely breaking my heart. I thought you were better than this. Did you watch the video??

  10. david – the textbook for the course should be available. You could try Amazon.

  11. David, your comment at 5:42 sure doesn’t seem correct. I recognize that you are a very careful man, so I don’t want to be hasty. I haven’t researched this, but my experience is you go up to a judge, identify yourself, they flip through the book, say ok and you SIGN the form, and are then given a ballot or pointed towards a machine. I thought the minute you sign that form and you are not who you say you are, you are in big trouble. So I ask, are you sure?

    The James O’Keefe slimballs in NH were caught but slipped away before anyone could catch them. NH was plenty mad. Scum. Just scum.

    1. docmadison wrote: “… my experience is you go up to a judge, identify yourself, they flip through the book, say ok and you SIGN the form, and are then given a ballot or pointed towards a machine. I thought the minute you sign that form and you are not who you say you are, you are in big trouble.”

      Go up to a judge? Usually in my experience you go up to a volunteer, usually a senior citizen. They ask you who you are and have you sign. Here we present ID. No, you are not immediately in big trouble. It is like less scrutinized than the tax return that you file. The honor system is in play.

      Please look at the O’Keefe video where he is offered to vote for Eric Holder. It documents the process nicely and shows how easy it is to get to vote as someone else.

      Al Franken won his election to the U.S. Senate in 2008 by 312 votes (so ruled by 3 judges in 2009). The group Minnesota Majority found 1,099 convicted felons were registered to vote, but the law there does not allow felons to vote. In one book, they report that at that time, 177 voters were convicted of voting fraud. This type fraud required proving the voter knew he was ineligible to vote. There were still 66 felons awaiting trial. Many get off by saying they did not know that they were not allowed to vote. If it were not for this group making waves about it, nobody would even know if there was any fraud.

  12. leej

    Proof? We don’t need no stinkin’ proof! JFK made a joke about it. I expect that proof to show up in the next Scalia decision.

  13. Doc,

    I bet his daddy wasn’t too happy about his son breaking into the same building he worked in….. I forget his exact capacity…. But he work at the federal building that got broken into my by his now convicted felon son…..

  14. Is it uncivil the say that James O’Keefe is pond scum? His ACORN pimp getup perfectly illustrated his black heart.

    I wonder if his mother is proud of him?

    1. If I remember correctly, O’Keefe used his mother’s wrap for the pimp outfit. He did not wear it for any of the stings.

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