Air Force Academy Considers Dropping “God” From Honor Oath

By:  Dave Bohon
Air Force Academy Considers Dropping “God” From Honor Oath

Under pressure from an atheist attack group, the Air Force Academy is giving serious consideration to dropping the words “so help me God” from the honor oath all freshman cadets repeat on upon formal entry into the academy.

The Air Force Times reported that the complaint about the oath, which has been a tradition at the Academy since 1984, came from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, whose president Mikey Weinstein has been at the center of other attacks against religious freedom in the military.

The honor oath currently 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.”

In mid-October a newspaper in Colorado Springs, where the academy is located, forwarded a picture of a poster at the academy to Weinstein. The poster, which included the oath with the “so help me God” phrase, prompted Weinstein to issue a complaint with academy officials.

According to Weinstein, a little over an hour after he lodged his complaint, academy superintendent Lieutenant General Michelle Johnson responded with an e-mail assuring him that the poster had been taken down. “We are assessing the situation and have many mission elements, to include Prep School leadership, the Honor Review Committee and other entities on base, working to put together a way ahead that is respectful to all perspectives,” wrote Johnson in the e-mail reproduced by the Colorado Springs Independent newspaper.

The academy's Honor Review Committee met October 22 to discuss the situation and consider the oath's wording, explained academy spokesman Major Brus Vidal, but came to no decision about how to appease Weinstein. Vidal said the academy committee “considered a range of options, and some of those options will be presented to academy leaders and, ultimately, the academy Superintendent. We value an inclusive environment that promotes dignity and respect for all.”

The Air Force Times reported that “among the options the committee discussed were making no change to the oath, making the 'so help me God' portion optional, or striking the entire oath.”

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