Some cadets at the US Air Force Academy have complained of unwanted religious proselytizing. Now, the academy has made 'so help me God' an optional phrase in the cadets' honor oath.
In another test of the constitutional separation of church and state, “God” is now an optional entity in the honor oath sworn to by cadets at the US Air Force Academy.
It’s the latest in a series of episodes involving US service personnel, some of whom have felt pressured to exhibit a religiosity they do not hold too – including overt proselytizing by some chaplains and other senior officers.
When objections were raised to the “so help me God” phrase in the Air Force Academy’s honor oath, academy officials quickly relented.
“Here at the Academy, we work to build a culture of dignity and respect, and that respect includes the ability of our cadets, Airmen and civilian Airmen to freely practice and exercise their religious preference – or not,” Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said in a statement. "So, in the spirit of respect, cadets may or may not choose to finish the Honor Oath with 'So help me God.'"