Or is that the Christianists in the Air Force. The Wall STreet journal:
An atheist airman stationed at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada was denied reenlistment for refusing to sign an oath with the words “so help me God,” provoking protest from a legal advocacy group that represents atheists in religious freedom cases.....
“The government cannot compel a nonbeliever to take an oath that affirms the existence of a supreme being,” Ms. Miller told the Air Force Times. “Numerous cases affirm that atheists have the right to omit theistic language from enlistment or reenlistment contracts.”.....
An Air Force spokeswoman [said] that it cannot make “so help me God” optional without congressional authorization. “Reciting ‘So help me God’ in the reenlistment and commissioning oaths is a statutory requirement under Title 10 USC 502,” Air Force spokeswoman Rose Richeson said.
Eugene Volokh disagrees.
10 U.S.C. § 502 expressly says that each person may swear or affirm. Likewise, 1 U.S.C. § 1 expressly says that an oath includes an affirmation. And an affirmation means precisely a pledge without reference to a supreme being. Given this context, it seems to me quite clear that “So help me God” in the statute should be read as an optional component, to be used for the great bulk of people who swear, but should be omitted for those who exercise their expressly statutorily provided option to affirm — because that’s what affirming means (omitting reference to a supreme being).I am SO TIRED of the constant intrusion of certain people's religion into our public life. THis is the kind of thing that makes even a good-tempered atheist start to rave about the flying spaghetti monster and invisible pink unicorns.
Even looking at the statute standing alone, then, the Air Force thus has no business denying people the ability to affirm, which is to say to omit “so help me God.”