October 25, 2013

AFA: ‘God’ Already Gone

Weinstein’s Target Is NOT the Honor Code

Getting it partially right, Fox News reported this week that the Air Force Academy is under pressure to removed “so help me God” from its Cadet Honor Oath. However, on the facing page in Contrails, the Academy’s official handbook, “so help me God” has already been removed from the Cadet and Officer oaths. (Click to View)

As first reported by Mark Alexander last May in “Obama’s Frontal Assault on Faith,” until 2011, the AFA handbook contained the words “so help me God” in bold letters after the Cadet and Officer oaths. However, under the tenure of AFA Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, those words were removed from the Class of 2015 handbooks, and are absent in all subsequent year editions of Contrails. (Last we checked, the cadet and officer oaths at the Naval Academy and West Point have not been altered.)

In 2012, when Alexander first asked the AFA’s Public Affairs Office who had ordered the removal and why, the PAO dodged the question for two days, then on the third request responded tersely that Alexander could file a “Freedom of Information Act” request. In other words: “Take a hike.” (Alexander is now in the process of filing an FOIA for all communications related to this omission.)

This week, Barack Obama’s top military appointees at the AFA claimed that their review of the remaining instance of “so help me God” in the Cadet Honor Oath, is the result of a challenge by ultra-leftist Mikey Weinstein’s so-called “Military Religious Freedom Foundation” (MRFF). In fact, Weinstein, who was tapped by Obama earlier this year to “consult” with DoD on faith expression in the military, is little more than a proxy for the Obama administration. He is a surrogate doing the bidding of the most faith-intolerant regime in the history of our Republic.*

Of course, if any military officer publicly suggested this was their CINC’s agenda, they would face a court-martial. However, off the record, Alexander has spoken to many senior officers who believe this is precisely Obama’s agenda.

What is the Obama/MRFF strategy in this case? Given that AFA administrators have already removed “so help me God” from the Cadet and Officer Oaths, if Weinstein pursues legal action, it will be difficult for the AFA to argue for retaining “so help me God” in any oath. And, if Weinstein “wins” a legal challenge against the AFA, he will undoubtedly pursue “domino effect” rulings to amending oaths in the other Service Academies – and by extension throughout the Service Branches. Weinstein’s target is much bigger than the AFA Honor Oath.

At present, AFA leadership is attempting to side step Weinstein’s complaint by suggesting the inclusion of “so help me God” in the Honor Code will be voluntary. “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,” said Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, Academy Superintendent. “So, in the spirit of respect, cadets may or may not choose to finish the Honor Oath with ‘So help me God.’”

But the fact is, “so help me God” is already elective. While 5 U.S.C. § 3331 specifies the inclusion of “so help me God” for both military and civilian oaths, it is understood that these words are elective under our Constitution’s Article VI prohibition of any religious test for public office. However, it is no longer elective in the AFA Cadet and Officer oaths because the words have been removed!

Moreover, according to the most recent Air Force Instruction issued by the Secretary of the Air Force, section 1.4. Oath, subsection 1.4.1. Enlistment Oath and 1.4.2. Oath of Office (Commissioning Oath) both specify “So help me God.” Further, the SecAF orders “Compliance with this publication is mandatory.”

Dr. Hans Mueh (Brig. Gen., Ret.), who was tasked with formulating the Honor oath in 1984, “To add more seriousness to the oath, we decided to mirror the commissioning oath and add the words, ‘so help me, God.’” But there is nothing there to mirror now!

At best, the AFA is not in compliance with the SecAF’s mandate regarding oaths, and any military officer(s) who approved the oath alterations could be subject to prosecution under UCMJ Articles 90 and 92. At worst, somebody has provided Weinstein with a lay up for a legal “gimme,” which he can ultimately parlay into the removal of “so help me God” from every military oath.

So the question remains, who ordered the removal of “so help me God” from the 2011 Cadet handbook, and why? We are going to demand answers to those questions, and it will be interesting to see if Obama’s appointees attempt to pass this off on a “Cadet committee” or some equally innocent scapegoat.

In the meantime, Obama and his Leftist cadres should heed this formative advice on faith in the military, from an order issued by General George Washington ahead of Valley Forge: “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” Twenty years later, President Washington wrote, “Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths…”

> Editor’s Note: This column was updated Saturday, 26 October. In his Thursday, 31 October column, Mark Alexander will be providing more details on Michael Weinstein and the Obama/MRFF strategy to remove “so help me God” from all Armed Services oaths.

*(The MRFF is dedicated to freedom from religion, not freedom of religion. In 2011, Weinstein demanded and received an apology from AFA Commandant of Cadets, Brig. Gen. Richard Clark, for authorizing cadet support of “Operation Christmas Child,” which assembles and fills millions of shoe boxes with toys, school supplies and other gifts for impoverished children in 130 countries! Weinstein objected because OCC places a Christian tract in those boxes.)

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.