Independent News from Alternative Sources
According to a letter sent to the United States Air Force, last Tuesday from the American Humanist Association an Atheist airman at the Creech Air Force Base in Nevada refused to take an oath that included the words, “so help me God.” After refusing to take the oath the man was then denied re-enlistment into the air force because of his refusal. The matter was originally brought to the attention of the American Humanist Association by the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF).
Sentry Lion 2006 Staff Sgt. James Yandell, 173d Security Forces Squadron, stands watch recently on the flight line at 3d Airbase at Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria.
The oath was a part of the service member’s contract. He had crossed the words, “so help me God,” out in the contract but left the rest of the document unaltered. According to the letter the service member had requested a secular version of the affirmation but was told to sign the contract as is or leave the air force.
“The government cannot compel a nonbeliever to take an oath that affirms the existence of a supreme being,” said Monica Miller, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center said in a press release. “Numerous cases affirm that atheists have the right to omit theistic language from enlistment or reenlistment contracts.”
“This Airman shows integrity, commitment to the nation, and respect for religion in standing firm for a secular oath that reflects his true values and intentions,” said Jason Torpy, board member of the American Humanist Association and president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers.
The letter threatens legal action against United States Air Force of the service member is not allowed to reenlist.
Chris Hoyler, a U.S Air Force Public Affairs Officer told The Huffington Post that “reciting ‘So help me God’ in the reenlistment and commissioning oaths is a statutory requirement.” He also said that a October 2013 amendment to Air Force Instruction “no longer authorized [airmen] to omit the words ‘So help me God.’”
Author: Joe Fletcher