When I enlisted in the Marine Corps back in the day, I swore that I would “Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.” So did everyone else who enlisted with me. The last four words of the oath we took were “so help me God.” For decades men and women joining the military have recited a similar oath that included the same simple but powerful four-word ending. But thanks to cowards posing as Air Force officers, young men and women entering this branch of the military will no longer be allowed to say “so help me God” as part of their oath. Notice that I did not say Air Force personnel will be given the option of swearing to God or not. I said they will not be allowed to swear to God. The words “so help me God” have been removed from the Air Force’s oath of service.
The unceremonious demise of “so help me God” in the Air Force’s oath was the result of a challenge filed by an atheist advocacy group that recruited an officer candidate who was willing to object to saying these four words. Rather than just waive the requirement for the one lone dissenter who objected, Air Force officials—I refuse to call them leaders—over reacted and took immediate steps to protect themselves and their careers from the slightest hint of controversy. Rather than risk standing up to the small but vocal squadron of atheists that is always trying to chip away at America’s religious freedom, Pentagon officials quickly abandoned a military tradition that dates back to the founding of the Air Force. What is even more frightening than the attack this situation represents on religious freedom in the military is the fact that these same weak-kneed Air Force officials are the officers we expect to lead our nation in a time of war. God help us. Although why He would help us when we refuse to include His name in our oaths is beyond me.
I fully understand that it has become common practice to give people who are taking an oath in a court of law or when applying for a passport the option of swearing to God or just affirming their commitment with no mention of God. I don’t care for this practice, but in today’s age of anti-Christian activism it is a fact of life. But the Air Force is not even giving its personnel the option of swearing to God. The words “so help me God” have been removed from the Air Force’s oath altogether. This action is not just an affront to the thousands of Christians who serve in the Air Force it is evidence of cowardice in the Pentagon. The top brass in the Air Force who removed “so help me God” from their oath have pleased a few advocates of atheism, but they have let down thousands of Christian men and women who serve in the Air Force and hundreds of thousands of civilians outside the military who support them. In so doing, they have shown themselves to be politically-correct careerists who are more concerned with avoiding the risk of a confrontation with an advocacy group than with standing up for what is right.
I live in an Air Force town. My home is just two miles from the biggest Air Force base in the world. Consequently, I am accustomed to attending events in which the Air Force song is belted out with gusto. In fact, although I am a Marine at heart and always will be I know all the words to the Air Force song and have participated in singing it many times. However, I must admit that the next time I hear this rousing anthem sung it is going to be difficult for me to sing the last line: “Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force.” What the Germans, Japanese, North Koreans, Chinese, North Vietnamese, Iraqis, and Afghans could not do, one lone atheist represented by the Appignani Humanist Legal Center achieved. He stopped the U.S. Air Force.