'So help me God' made optional in Air Force oath
By The Associated Press
Published: Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, 6:54 p.m.
DENVER — Air Force Academy cadets are no longer required to say “so help me God” at the end of the Honor Oath, school officials said Friday.
The words were made optional because of a complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group, that the oath violated the constitutional concept of religious freedom.
Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, the academy superintendent, said the change was made to respect cadets' freedom of religion.
The oath states: “We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, so help me God.”
Cadets are required to take the oath once a year, said Maj. Brus Vidal, an academy spokesman.
Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, welcomed the change but questioned how it will be applied.
If the person leading the oath includes the words, cadets who choose not to say them might feel vulnerable to criticism, he said.
“What does it mean, ‘optional'?” Weinstein said. “The best thing is to eliminate it.”
Vidal said the oath is led by the Cadet Wing honor chair, a student, and that person also will have the option to use or not use the words.
Academy officials did not immediately return a follow-up call seeking comment on Weinstein's question.
The West Point equivalent oath does not include the words “so help me God,” said Frank DeMaro, a school spokesman. It states: “A cadet will not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 2 NYC buildings collapse in explosion; 2 dead
- Prostitution found to have vast economic impact
- Oklahoma governor’s daughter regrets wearing Native American headdress
- Obama losing close adviser to end 9 years of service
- Lerner emails looked for way out of difficulties at the IRS
- FDA approves migraine treatment device
- Attack cat to receive medical treatment, therapy
- CIA accused of meddling in torture probe
- General gets OK to pursue plea deal
- Floodwaters fall in Montana, Wyoming
- Deputy accused of illegal stops