'God' Now Optional in Air Force Oath

Cadets can skip it if they'd like
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2013 3:08 PM CDT
'God' Now Optional in Air Force Oath
Members of the U.S. Air Force's 437th Airlift Wing perform a pre-flight check in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

An oath of honor uttered by Air Force cadets might be a little less godly from here on out. The service says cadets now have the option to skip the last phrase, "So help me God," reports the Air Force Times. The move comes in response to a group pushing for separation of church and state in the military, but it might not be enough to ward off a lawsuit. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation wanted the phrase cut entirely—the Air Force chose to keep it, but make it optional.

The full oath: “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.” The founder of the MRFF calls it unconstitutional, though he wouldn't object if cadets continued to say the phrase even if it were stripped from the official oath. “They can swear so help me God, so help me Allah, so help me Spider-Man. But when you have it there, that is a noxious violation of separation of church and state.” (Read more Air Force stories.)

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