Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Have You Heard? If You Don't Swear To 'God' You Can't Join The Air Force

I never wanted to join the military, even though I come from a military family. My father served twenty-plus years in the Air Force and even my sister enlisted. But I never had the inkling to join up, probably because I am staunchly anti-gun, anti-violence, anti-war; yeah, maybe that had something to do with it. But I am grateful for the men and women who do join up, in any branch of the military, and I respect and value their service, and their desire to serve.

Sadly, though, the Air Force doesn’t seem so keen on some enlistees, especially someone who wants to reenlist. At a time when the Air Force, and any branch of service, should be holding the door open to anyone who wants to serve, and is capable of serving, they have decided not to allow one man to reenlist because he crossed out the words "so help me God" at the end of the Air Force oath of allegiance.

His attorney, Monica Miller, with the Apignani Humanist Legal Center, says her client was informed the Air Force would not accept his reenlistment contract because he had crossed out the ‘God’ and that he had just two options: say the oath as written, or leave the Air Force.

In a letter to the inspectors general of the Air Force, Miller said the airman should be allowed to reenlist under a secular oath, and not have to swear to ‘God’ and added that the airman is set to sue the Air Force if he is not allowed to reenlist.

What’s odd is that, up until last October, you were allowed to omit the words ‘so help me God’ from the oath, but for some reason the rules were changed and now this man, who has served his country already, and wants to continue his service, won’t be allowed to because, well, God.

An Air Force spokeswoman confirmed the new policy:
"Reciting ‘So help me God’ in the reenlistment and commissioning oaths is a statutory requirement under Title 10 USC 502. (AFI 36-2606) is consistent with the language mandated in 10 USC 502. Paragraph 5.6 [and] was changed in October 2013 to reflect the aforementioned statutory requirement and airmen are no longer authorized to omit the words ‘So help me God'.”
Basically, the Air Force cannot change its instructions to make “so help me God” optional unless Congress — oh lordy, now the Do-Nothing-Congress is involved — changes the law requiring it. Never mind the fact that to an airman, an atheist airman, swearing to God would be a lie, and never mind that, according to Miller, Article VI of the Constitution prohibits religious tests, and therefore In fact, in the trumps the Air Force Instruction. In fact, in the 1961 case Torcaso v. Watkins, the Supreme Court ruled that “neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person ‘to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.’”

You know, that whole Freedom of Religion thing we thought we had going on in this country.
As I was saying, I never wanted to be part of the military, and yet here we have someone who has served, and wants to continue serving, but will not be allowed to reenlist because he refuses to swear to God.

This is really getting ridiculous, y’all.


anne marie in philly said...

bullshit! I wanna swear to ME, cause I believe in memyselfandI alone!

Helen Lashbrook said...

I'm with you on the anti-war bit, but as long as there are those who don't (and yes Vladimir I am thinking of you among others) then we do need to have armed forces to protect us

the dogs' mother said...

Well, I do know Congress' first order of business is to name six new post offices... so maybe they might get around to it.

Mitchell is Moving said...

I don't get it. When I was a kid, I once yelled in anger at my mother, "I swear to GOD!!!"

I got sent to my room. They MAKE you say it in the Air Force. That's sick!

Anyway, the only true freedom of religion that ever really existed in America was the freedom to practice MY religion and not YOURS.

www.DiatribesAndOvations.com said...

I would think he'd have a good chance of winning a lawsuit.

Frank said...

"so help me God" - what does that even mean in 2014? The language is archaic as is the concept, whether one believes in a higher power or not.

S'A said...

How did that even get changed in the first place? That's ridiculous.

Raybeard said...

I think I'm right in saying (and you'll correct me here if necessary) that to become an American citizen one has to swear an oath containing the 'G' word. Well, don't you have to keep all those dirty Godless Commies out!

In a similar vein, to become a Member of Parliament here, one is obliged to take an oath of allegiance to the Queen. If they refuse to do so they are not allowed to sit and vote - which is why several properly elected MPs from Northern Ireland have never taken their rightful places. No Republicans allowed! (at least in theory.)

Biki Honko said...

Wow! I can't see their is any way possible for the Air Force to win this lawsuit. The law is contrary to the constitution. My question is how did that wee fact get past the fact checkers back in DC?