Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy now have the option as to whether to say “so help me God,” when they take their oaths, according to a new report by Air Force Times.
The Air Force Academy, the premier academic institution for creating Air Force officers, located just north of Colorado Springs, Colo., requires their students to take an oath.
It reads “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.”
Now, students have the option of leaving off the last part.
“Here at the academy, we work to build a culture of dignity and respect, and that respect includes the ability of our cadets, airmen and civilian airmen to freely practice and exercise their religious preference — or not,” academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson told the Air Force Times. “So, in the spirit of respect, cadets may or may not choose to finish the honour oath with ‘so help me God.'”
Leaders say that requiring that religious affirmation in the oath is unconstitutional. Interestingly, Air Force leaders do not cite the 1st Amendment in their reasoning. They cite the religious test clause of Article VI of the Constitution:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
The last time religion in the military made headlines, it was because the Marine Corps, in an official document, listed “lack of spiritual faith” as a sign of instability.
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