DoctorE

Turtles all the way down

Atheist US Air Force sergeant to take military to court over requirement to take oath with ‘so help me God’

Posted by doctore0 on September 10, 2014


undergawdThe US Air Force has told a sergeant he will have to leave the military unless he agrees to take an oath with the phrase “so help me God”.

The atheist airman was last month denied his request to re-enlist because of his refusal to swear to God.

His lawyer, Monica Miller from the American Humanist Association, said he was now poised to take the military to court.

“We have not received word from the Air Force regarding our letter,” she said.

“It has not indicated a willingness to settle out of court.”

With the deadline for re-enlisting expiring in November, the technical sergeant at Creech Air Force base in Nevada, whose name has not been released, will be forced to sue the government in a federal court, Ms Miller said.

In the past, an airman could opt for an alternative phrase and omit the words “so help me God,” but the US Air Force changed its policy in October 2013.

The other branches of the American military do not require the reference to God and make the phrase optional.

“This is the only branch to my knowledge that’s actually requiring everyone in all instances to use the religious language,” Ms Miller said.

She said the requirement violated the US Constitution, which bars religious tests to hold office or other positions.
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