Air Force forcing cadet prayer or withholding Officer Commission *UPDATE 1*

I just received this about an hour ago. In violation of the establishment clause of the US Constitution the US Air Force is making official policy forcing religion on their cadets.

Here’s the email:

US Air Force Academy forcing cadets to say “so help me god” to get commissioned!! …..”The words in the Oath of Office MUST be said in order for your Commissioning to be legal.”

From: Xxxxxx, Xxxxxxx X MSgt USAF USAFA CW/CS21
Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2013 10:45 AM
To: CS21_C14_ALL; CS21_C15_All; CS21_C16_All; CS21_C17_ALL
Cc: Xxxxxxxxxx, Xxxxx x Maj USAF USAFA USAFA CG3/CS21; Xxxxxxxx xxx, Xxxxxxx x Maj USAF USAFA CW/CS27
Subject: INFO: Change to Oath of Office (Optional “So Help Me, God.”

Soon-to-be-Lieutenants,

Bottom Line: Don’t expect to have any words changed in the near future.

You may remember seeing guidance regarding another Commissioning Source out of Maxwell AFB and an Airman challenging the last sentence in the Officer’s Oath of Office (“So Help Me, God.”). The Airman was allowed to omit the this statement. I engaged Cadet Personnel earlier this semester regarding this possible change for those who would prefer to omit this verbiage as well (both verbally and on the Form 103 – your Commissioning documentation — where the Oath is written and your signature is required). They had received no specific guidance. I also questioned the Chaplain Corps who also had received no specific guidance. Today, I spoke with the JAG and have the following information update:

The Air Force has since rescinded the guidance of omission. The Oath of Office is governed by Congressional Oversight. The words in the Oath of Office MUST be said in order for your Commissioning to be legal. Legislation is addressing the possibility of change however, due to other business priorities, who knows when this will be looked at again. If you are passionate about changing this legislation I encourage you to contact your Congressional Representatives and let them know how you feel. If you’d like to discuss this topic further I’m always here.

~MSgt Xxxxxx

MSgt Xxxxxxx x Xxxxxx

Description: cid:image002.jpg@01CAFF32.CF5C97C0

Blackjacks 21 AMT

Comm: xxx-xxxx

Cell: xxx-xxx-xxxx

This is an egregious violation of civil rights! No one should have to give up their constitutional right to religious freedom to serve their country!

Congratulations Air Force! Stand the fuck by!

*UPDATE*

Our allies at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation have jumped on top of this issue. We are currently in talks with the highest levels of the Pentagon and the leadership at the Air Force Academy. Our demands are a full retraction and apology from the Master Sergeant. To the best of our knowledge there has been no change in policy restricting Airman from opting out of the religious portion of the pledge. More updates forthcoming with the results of our talks.

 

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About Paul Loebe
  • JasonTorpy

    This is a random email from an enlisted person and hardly official policy. It might be policy… but it’s more likely someone who needs to be set right. Maybe it’s not time to make a public issue of this quite yet.

    • Paul Loebe

      This has happened every year for over 21 years. The time for behind-the-scenes acquiesence is over. People need to publicly be made aware of what their rights are. People also need to be made publicly aware of what they can and can’t do. If it were a first time offense I would agree.

      I’m picking my battles and this is one I’ve chosen to make it public (without disclosing the identity of the Master Sergeant).

      • JasonTorpy

        This may be valid, but saying this has gone on every year for 21 years is a big stretch. Has anyone asked and been denied before? The religious oath is the default, which is an issue, but it’s unclear that there has ever been an official request for accommodation denied — even right now there is no request denied, just a low-level email asserting that such a request would be denied.

        • Paul Loebe

          The official policy is still that the cadet’s have to say the oath. It’s a violation of the 1st amendment and Article III section VI of the US Constitution.

          Normally, the commands let it slide and allow them to opt out of the “god” part of the oath, but if they so choose to do it then they are not by any means violating official policy.

          If you have the plaintiff and the millions of dollars to throw at a lawsuit then go ahead and do it. I don’t have the funds to do that. So I do this and it seems to be working.

          • godlessveteran

            The Constitution trumps any policy or regulations. The command must either accommodate or face charges.

  • Sheri

    He got it from Megan Hurwitt. Listen to last weeks podcast which she was
    on, the stories are very similar. RBB is making a mockery of atheism in the military and I don’t see
    why MAAF supports them in any fashion.

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sgt-skeptic-podcast/2013/09/28/episode-10-the-cadet-creed

    This is why you guys aren’t taken seriously, but keep livin’ your dream!

    • Paul Loebe

      Check your sources. I got this from someone in Colorado this morning immediately after the email was sent out. And yet for me not being taken seriously, it appears the Pentagon is listening seriously. Hmmm….imagine that!

    • http://lipstickandcombatboots.com/ Megan Hurwitt

      This has nothing to do with making a mockery of atheism–this is happening in MULTIPLE ROTC units, sister. It’s not a good thing.

  • Stev84

    Speaking with JAG means shit. Often they are huge idiots as well. For example I read a story where a JAG officer advised a commander that he couldn’t call the same-sex wife of a retiring service member her “wife”, claiming that this would violate DOMA. Which is pure nonsense of course and directly contradicted what other units were doing.

    • Paul Loebe

      JAG? I’m not sure what JAG has to do with this….

      • Stev84

        From the email:
        “Today, I spoke with the JAG and have the following information update”

        It seemed like he consulted with a lawyer and the lawyer told him nonsense.

        • Paul Loebe

          Yeah, that lawyer was probably some boot LT…

  • Greenfxd

    I understand contacting JAG as this is a legal question. What I don’t understand is the MSGT feeling it was appropriate or necessary to contact the Chaplain Corps. Um…What the hell do they have to do with it?

  • taj

    “The Air Force has since rescinded the guidance of omission. The Oath of Office is governed by Congressional Oversight.” “Oversight” being the key word here….

  • Help

    First of all, when you join the military you sign a waiver denouncing many rights everyday ordinary citizens would have. You sign a document stating that you are government property. It’s makes no sense to complain about a statement when you signed a document giving away most of your Constitutional rights. Why are you so offended about the word God? You care more about the word God then the fact servicemen loose a whole bunch of Constitutional rights. These are consenting adults in their right mind. Who are you to be their stand in attorney and say hey I know you signed your rights away, but I have a problem with you using the word God in your commissioning. Yes I know you sighed your rights away before then, but I’m gonna talk to the pentagon about this. It is my life long dream to remove the word God from anywhere in the United States because I want everyone to conform to my belief system. I apparently do not believe in God, so I must be correct in assuming that everyone else in America, particularly veterans, feel the same way.


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