TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

'So help me God' made optional in Air Force oath

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
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

Most-Read Nation

  1. Glenn Beck takes on Common Core
  2. Russia firing into Ukraine, U.S. intel finds
  3. Obama wants to end U.S. companies skirting tax laws by merging with overseas entities
  4. House panel votes to sue Obama over health law implementation
  5. Scientists: Earth in midst of 6th ‘mass extinction’
  6. Tyrannosaurs ran in packs, fossils prove
  7. Biden pushes economic plan
  8. U.N. school in Gaza shelled; 15 Palestinian civilians killed, many children wounded
  9. American kids have false idea of their weight status, CDC says
  10. Warrant issued in Calif. for tuberculosis patient
  11. Death penalty foes decry bungled execution
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.