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Air Force Members Can Now Omit ‘So Help Me God’ from Oath


The U.S. Air Force announced a significant change to its policy for reciting oaths Wednesday. Starting now, members and officers can choose to omit the words “so help me God” when delivering enlistment and officer appointment oaths.

In a press release, the Air Force wrote:

In response to concerns raised by Airmen, the Department of the Air Force requested an opinion from the Department of Defense General Counsel addressing the legal parameters of the oath. The resulting opinion concluded that an individual may strike or omit the words “So help me God” from an enlistment or appointment oath if preferred.

“We take any instance in which Airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said in the statement. “We are making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our Airmen’s rights are protected.”

The Air Force tweeted the news out Wednesday afternoon, receiving one quick response from someone who disagreed with the decision:

The American Humanist Association had been lobbying for the change and declared “victory” after the announcement became public:

[Photo via Wikimedia Commons]

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