US Air Force reviews its policy, now allows airmen to omit “so help me God” in enlistment oaths

Last month, an atheist airman for the United States Air Force was denied reenlistment for refusing to recite an oath ending with the words “so help me God.”  After a letter to the Air Force Inspector General from the American Humanist Association, the Air Force consulted with the Defense Department’s top lawyer and sought a legal opinion on whether it could require airmen to include the religious reference in its reenlistment oath.

Earlier this week, news broke that the Air Force has changed its original decision and will now permit its airmen to reenlist by omitting the phrase “so help me God” from the oath if they choose. “We take any instance in which Airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said in her statement. “Airmen who choose to omit the words ‘So help me God’ from enlistment and officer appointment oaths may do so.”