Come now, what's this nonsense?
Air Force members once again have the option of omitting the phrase “so help me God” from their enlistment and appointment oaths. The service joins the other three military branches in making the phrase optional for its service members, a practice it had followed until last year when a legal review determined there could be no omissions of the phrase.
The Pentagon said today its General Counsel had determined that the Air Force cannot compel its airmen to include the phrase in its oaths. The Air Force says it will institute the change immediately, returning to a practice it had changed last year.
The issue had arisen in August when an unidentified airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada was denied re-enlistment after he refused to take a re-enlistment oath that ends with the phrase “so help me God.” The airman, who is an atheist, was told by superiors that, according to Air Force regulations, he must include the phrase so his re-enlistment could be processed.