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Air Force Academy Pressured to Remove 'So Help Me God' from Oath, Many Are Grieved

Oct 24, 2013 03:06 PM EDT
U.S. Air Force Academy In God We Trust Oath
U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 4th Class Andrew Taylor, along with the entire cadet wing, takes the Oath of Honor Aug. 8 during the Acceptance Parade at the Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Acceptance Parade marks the formal acceptance of the new cadets into the cadet wing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) filed a complaint with the United States Air Force Academy because of a phrase in its Honor Oath which recognizes the Lord. The Academy's Honor Review Committee has discussed the matter internally, and the Superintendent has yet to announce the decision on whether or not to keep, change, or remove the oath altogether. Many Christians believe that the complaint is yet another a indication of how far our country has fallen from the God-honoring nation that we once were.

Every cadet has to take the Honor Oath upon completion of Basic Cadet Training in order to enter the Air Force Academy. The oath 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."

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The Military Religious Freedom Foundation recently took interest in the last phrase of this oath, and filed a complaint with the Academy for violating the law (presumably the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution). One MRFF board member responded to a church leader's rebuke of the organization by saying that its objective is to prevent people like them from shoving their "belief system down the throat of men and women at the U.S.A.F.A. or anywhere in the U.S. military in defiance of our Constitution." He also claimed that the organization is not anti-Christian.

A former Army Reservist expressed his disappointment regarding the MRFF complaint - "I am saddened to learn that some would try to remove 'so help me God' from their oath," he says - "[the fact that] Americans of all faiths and even those with no apparent faith [have given] their oaths before courts of law and upon entering military service is evident to all who study history."

There are numerous military and governmental oaths which respect the authority of the Almighty over this nation. Jay Sekulow from the American Center for Law and Justice says that the oath does not violate the First Amendment's Establishment Clause - otherwise, the President of the United States would be violating the law when he takes the Oath of Office.

"For over 200 years, our Supreme Court has never found justification to rule that we should remove 'IN GOD WE TRUST' from our dollars," says the former Reservist - "Those few people who really object (because of a lack of faith), I suspect still enjoy earning as much U.S. currency with 'IN GOD WE TRUST' as they can."

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