U.S. Airman Not Allowed to Reenlist Because He Won't Swear to God

An airman claims he's being denied reenlistment because he doesn't believe in God. An atheist airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada has reportedly been denied reenlistment because he refuses to take the oath, "So help me God." The American Humanist Association, which is fighting the unnamed airman's case, says:

The government cannot compel a nonbeliever to take an oath that affirms the existence of a supreme being.

While the group asserts that numerous previous cases have found that atheists can have religious language omitted from military contracts, Air Force rules have been changed to demand that enlistees must take an oath to God during their allegiance, which the group says is unconstitutional.


The Air Force doesn't sound like it's going to back down in this either. In a statement to WTSP, it said:

Reciting 'So help me God' in the reenlistment and commissioning oaths is a statutory requirement under Title 10 USC 502 ... airmen are no longer authorized to omit the words 'So help me God.'

Wow, what year is this? Did I miss the part where we all time-traveled back to the Dark Ages? Hey, some people used to worship trees, you know. It's true. Probably not a bad idea either.

What about reciting your fealty to a supreme being makes you a better soldier? What about refusing to do it would make you a worse one?

Nothing. Nothing about believing or not believing in one supreme God will make you any more or less likely to help your fellow soldiers, listen to your commanders, or serve your country.

Perhaps the Air Force is worried that anyone who has the critical thinking skills to question a supreme deity would also question authority? Who knows.

Unfortunately this new rule might mean the loss of some great servicemen and servicewomen.

Do you think everyone in the military should be required to recite allegiance to God? If so, why?


Image via Beverly & Pack/Flickr

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