Chaplains erect billboard supporting phrase “So help me God”—UPDATED

Chaplains erect billboard supporting phrase “So help me God”—UPDATED March 29, 2014

This press release was posted by the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Freedom:

The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Freedom has joined with other members of the Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition to provide a message via billboard to Air Force Academy cadets regarding their freedom to use the phrase “So help me God.”

The billboard went up this week not far from one of the entrances to the academy.

“The message is clear, our Founding Fathers said ‘So help me God’ on taking their oath of office; Air Force cadets have that same freedom,” said Chaplain (COL) Ron Crews, USAR Retired, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. “Our billboard is a reminder that cadets can say the phrase, which is deeply rooted in American tradition.”

Last fall cadets received new handbooks that had removed the phrase “So help me God” from the cadet oath of office. After members of Congress intervened, the superintendent of the academy said that the omission was a printing error and that cadets have the option to say the words.

“‘So help me God’ is a solemn reminder that cadets are pledging their fidelity both to their country and to someone higher than themselves,” said Crews. “The presidents Americans admire all solemnly uttered these words when they took their oaths of office. Our Air Force cadets should be encouraged to follow their example.”

UPDATE:  An alert reader on Facebook notes that the premise of the billboard is inaccurate. According to Wikipedia, at least one of the presidents on Mount Rushmore, Roosevelt, did not use that phrase when he was sworn in. And there are no contemporary accounts of whether Washington or Lincoln did.

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