NEW YORK TIMES – ‘So Help Me God’ Optional in Air Force Honor Oath

Selected Article Excerpts:

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — 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 after a complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group.

Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson says 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, when they formally enter the school as freshmen after boot camp, academy spokesman Maj. Brus Vidal said.

Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, welcomed the change but questioned how it will be applied.

If the commander 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.”

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.”

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1 Comment

  1. Kirk McFadden

    Someone needs to have President Obama swear by that oath. Althougt no one is perfect except the Lord Jesus Christ (for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God) but the higher place of leadership requires higher standards. We are to pray for our enimies and those that cause use anguish; so I have to pray for our Pesident.

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