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. Purportedly – being an atheist is what very rational people do. That being said, very (intelligent) rational people don’t get into the trenches of a war. Very rational people don’t risk the wrath of the powers that be; if rational and logic are their foremost value system traits. The rationale behind all of such, is that there is no such thing (are such things) as g0d(s).

    But that is assuming facts not in evidence.

    As the current dictionary defines g0d – in the Christian sense of the word – as a belief in the one and only supreme being. But, on the other hand, in other religions g0d is a superior being (deity).

    Only narcissistic farquark’s believe we humans are all that there is!

    For, if you are truly and intellectual (scientific or otherwise) then you have to analyze the facts presented; and address the questions that beg. Did you pay attention to the intriguing lines of Brad Pitt in the film Troy; where he said he has met with g-d(s) and that they are envious of our mortality?


    Most versions of the Bible state “Let’s make man in our image”. Could it be that the writers and/or interpreters thereof knew better than to say “I shall make man in my image”? Or, about the 10 commandments where it states that there shall only be one true g0d for I, the lord thy g0d, am a jealous g0d.

    Do such verses, text or lines imply true omnipresence intelligence?

    Isn’t the premise that g0d exists in heaven and implication of alien existence? If you make your fist equal to the entire known universe; then what is beyond that? If, as Tesla presupposes, we are all nothing more than probability and outcome off frequency and vibration (or the big bang)

    where did frequency, vibration and the stuff making the BANG – come from?

    As for me, I hope I never become the intellectual genius like those who claim/ feign to be such, within this realm (including his Lordship the Professor). For, given the empirical evidence profuse; all intelligence seems to take a 2nd seat to veiled agendas.

    And that’s just plain evil and dumb!

    The reason why Annie and AY are such great independents in this realm; is that they check their emotions and make sure such is secondary to rational thought. Which is why others here have such great banter vain against them;

    because truth and facts are unemotional.

    You can’t tell me that a one true G-d would condemn anyone to eternal hell; where even the greatest of sinners would be repenting in short order (much less years, decades and centuries). Nor can you convince me, by any debate with evidence dispositive – that we would be placed upon a finite earth; only to die and go to eternal bliss. For eternal life, no marriage,no need for food, no health risk, no risk v gain – would drive even a deity insane.

    Ever play pinball and block all chances of losing the ball?

  2. Dems are running from Obama this election cycle, Obamacare and the lie of “you can keep..” is the biggest reason.

  3. BTW: The companies in the link that you obviously didn’t bother to read are offering the ‘skinny’ plans at the request of their employees.

  4. Did you even read the link you submitted. The employers are not going around the law. They are complying WITH the law. How is this wrong>

    ” they will offer in 2015 these so-called skinny plans along with at least one insurance option that does qualify under ACA standards.

    The results weren’t entirely unexpected. Last year, it became clear that ACA regulations would allow skinny plans and even make them attractive for some employers. But this survey gives one of the first looks at how many companies followed through.”

    They are offering an ACA compatible plan, which is a low deductible and high cost plan. At the same time they are giving their employees a CHOICE of other plans and the employees can pick what fits into THEIR budget. Everyone gets a choice. It seems you are against individual choices and want to shove everyone into a one size fits all program.

    You are right. It is useless to discuss with someone who has zero idea about the issues and doesn’t even want to face the facts.

    ” it was not the President who made the plans but the private companies.”

    The government made the rules. Yes? The companies comply with the rules. Yes. The insurance companies have to make the plans required and the companies have to live with the rules. And according to the link you provide….they are.

  5. (not going to spend time googling this this first story I found)
    The government made the law and companies worked to go around it. You are being disingenuous, trying to ignore the fact that it was not the President who made the plans but the private companies. No point in continuing this ‘debate” you are sure of your position and I am sure of mine ((*_*))

  6. “The president didn’t offer plans that did not meet the ACA requirements, the private insurance companies did, causing those who went with these plans to lose them.”

    Yes and those plans that were canceled and those plans that are offered are based on the rules and regulations that are IN the FEDERAL ACA that Congress and the President passed and made (regretablw) law.

    You are being very disingenuous (I’m being generous here) or else extremely uninformed. The insurance companies didn’t decide to not offer those plans. They were forced to not offer them by the letter of the law.

    The government made the law. The insurance companies complied. We lost our plans and lost our doctors despite the Government’s assurance that we would not. The Government knew, or should have know if they had taken the time actually READ the bill, that many plans would no longer qualify.

    So perhaps Obama didn’t run around and personally slash the plans…..he was directly responsible for it.

  7. The president didn’t offer plans that did not meet the ACA requirements, the private insurance companies did, causing those who went with these plans to lose them. The president didn’t cancel your plan, your private insurance company did. This, of course, is why we need single payer rather then continuing with the private market place.

  8. Then there is also the lie that “if you like your plan you can keep your plan.>>PERIOD.”

    ACA changes concern those with high deductible plans

    A flat out lie. The high deductible catastrophic plan I had was canceled and I would have to get a more comprehensive plan that costs more. My HSA was also altered drastically. By limiting the reimbursement for medical purchases and INCREASING the taxes for non medical withdrawals from the HSA when under the age of 65.

    So it is a lie. If you like your plan….I did….you can keep it period…..I can’t.

  9. “That was not a lie no matter how much you folks want it to be or continue to act as though it was.”

    It was a deliberate misleading of the American public by making a false statement so that people would not be against the ACA and would accept the law. Misleading by knowingly false and inaccurate statements. Can this be classified as a lie. I think so.

    All health insurance plans have in network providers and out of network providers. If your insurance company decides to no longer have YOUR doctor or his group practice IN network, you can’t use that doctor and have the insurance pay for the procedures. Unless you want to pay cash. Many doctors who don’t want to be associated with Obamacare aka ACA declined to be IN network. Unless your NEW doctor, who might be miles away from you, makes a referral to the OUT of network doctor, the one you used to see, you are not covered. In fact there are quite a few doctor groups that have opted completely out of accepting insurance at all and are concierge or membership or just pay as you go. My own doctor is retiring early in December of this year because he is sick of Obamacare and the burdens it has placed on his practice. Specialists that I know, in Southern California, have closed their practices and moved across the border to Mexico. They will still see their patients, but without insurance and….guess what!!! it costs less to see your specialist now because they aren’t subject to all the idiocy of ACA,like the zillions of codes for procedures, paperwork up the gazoo and other time consuming insurance procedures.

    SO unless you want to pay cash….which sorta defeats the purpose of insurance, you may not have that doctor anymore. And makes Obama’s statement that under the ACA you can keep your doctor a flat out lie.

    The other part of this false statement about being able to keep your doctor is that with the new plans that are authorized by the government, many specialty doctors either are no longer classified under the coverage or the specialists have decided to not be included in the plans.

    Hospitals that used to be covered by your insurance are also not necessarily covered in the new networks. So, if you have a oncologist for breast cancer and your hospital is not in the network or your doctor has been dropped from the network, your insurance will no longer cover any procedures by that doctor. Unless you have a huge sh*t pot of money….you don’t get to keep your doctor.

  10. That’s the thing Ay. Because Paul et al don’t want to hear anything bad about Bush but love to hear and say bad about the pres, even when regurgitated lies, they don’t bother to check out before saying oh I don’t like the source so therefore I don’t like nor will I acknowledge the information posted. I shouldn’t havre to do the work but I know he can’t be bothered

  11. Actually LeeJ,

    There were a number of site that showed Bush playing golf right after 911…. I used huffPo for Paul because he loves it so much. The duo have basically called Elaine a liar because any cite she uses they say it’s liberal and bias…. I am done toying with the boy today…

  12. My problem with that, Paul, is that I don’t dismiss it out of hand and ignore the information. I actually will go and check and see if it is valid as opposed to knee jerk, its huff post I don’t trust them

  13. That was not a lie no matter how much you folks want it to be or continue to act as though it was. You can keep your doctor just like you always could unless you choose or have an HMO or other type of plan that gives you a list of doctors from which you must choose but go ahead keep spouting it. A lie does not become the truth no matter how mnay times it is repeated.

  14. Paul maybe in his own words, out of his own mouth. Or that you will dismiss too because it is not what you want to hear, or be known what was said? You may not like Huff post but quotes are quotes are quotes unless you can prove they are wrong which is almost always easy to do. You don’t like Huff post and their “slant” on things, from what you write? Fine, that is what America is about but to dismiss even quotes out of hand shows a willingness to ignore anything with which you do not believe

    1. leejcaroll – dismissing a source like Huffpuff for me is like others dismissing Brietbart. What is your problem with that?

    1. There is a big difference between misspeaking and lying. Ask any attorney who has accidentally said the wrong thing in court. When you say “The British are reporting, etc. you are not lying. And Bill Clinton was not lying either. Nor was Hillary. However, when you say “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” You are lying.

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