Prayer and the American military have gone together like bread and butter for as long as we can remember, but the United States Air Force has now apparently decided to count its blessings — because it doesn’t really need them anymore.
The catalyst for this decision was an airman stationed in Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev., who was denied re-enlistment because he purposely omitted that sacrosanct phrase when taking said oath.
He (along with the American Humanist Association) chose to raise a stink, and two weeks later we have this:
“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 will be updating the instructions for both enlisted and commissioned Airmen to reflect these changes in the coming weeks, but the policy change is effective now. Airmen who choose to omit the words ‘So help me God’ from enlistment and officer appointment oaths may do so.”
This isn’t much of a surprise, but the Air Force should certainly prepare for blowback.
Sure, it’s haughty at the very least to think there are only Christians in this world or that everyone must profess faith in a Christian God (or any god, really) to serve his or her country. But will this decision lead to a slippery slope on which other airmen seek a pass from swearing to protect other things that go against their personal beliefs?
Time will tell — and so will more than a few Christian bloggers.