AHA News |  

UPDATE: Humanists Challenge Forced “So Help Me God” in Air Force Oath

Update: Air Force officials have agreed to administer a secular oath and to allow a revision of the written oath the Officer Trainee was required to sign to remove the "so help me God" reference. Maj. Stewart L. Rountree has written attorneys for the American Humanist Association and the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers that the entire graduating class will be informed of the option to take a secular oath and apologized for the error. "Our previous legal advisors were mistaken in advising us that it was required," Maj. Roundtree wrote. "Our current legal advisors made me aware and we will ensure it reaches all corners of our program."

***********************

American Humanist Association Represents Officer Trainee Forced to Assert God Belief

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brian Magee, bmagee@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 ext. 105
Bill Burgess, bburgess@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 ext. 102

(Washington, DC – Aug 5, 2013)—A U.S. Air Force Officer Trainee is demanding that he not be forced to recite an oath that contains “so help me God” during  his graduation ceremony tomorrow.

Attorneys with the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, working with the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, have sent a letter to administrators at Maxwell AFB in Alabama outlining the reasons a forced statement of god-belief is not constitutional, including numerous court cases upholding the right of those who object to oaths with religious language to take a secular version instead.

“A non-religious person cannot be forced to affirm the existence of a God,” said Appignani Humanist Legal Center Coordinator Bill Burgess. “The law is clear that such demands violate the constitutional mandate of church-state separation and the right to freedom of conscience. This officer-to-be must be allowed to omit theistic language from his commissioning oath.”

The letter states that a lawsuit is possible if a secular oath is not allowed. The letter sent to Maxwell AFB administrators can be found here.

# # #

The American Humanist Association (americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington D.C., its work is extended through more than 175 local chapters and affiliates across the United States. Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation and The Herb Block Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms a responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.

American Humanist Association

In recent years, debates have grown over the place of atheists, agnostics, and n...

11 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Did you know about the new social media site, Ello? Neither did we. But hey, we...

13 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Prisoners dodging the rules because of religious exception?

14 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Secular Americans are showing their political side!

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Humanist Celebrant Dan Moran had the honor of performing the first humanist bab...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

DC Metro area humanists! Join us this Wednesday for happy hour at Mai Thai in NW...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA's David Niose in AlterNet today, explaining why rational public policy will...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

This full-page advertisement ran in the Denver Post newspaper this week in respo...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Who caught the latest episode of The Good Wife? The most recent episode of the n...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Do you ever get so overwhelmed with the saturation of religion in everyday life...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week, an apology to a student in southern California will be delivered afte...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

School is a place where students should feel safe regardless of race, religion,...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

There are several volunteer regional grassroots coordinator positions available...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Why don't we start the week off with a laugh? What's a post game interview like...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason, the new b...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Perhaps this kid will go just one step further? #skeptic #humanist

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday everyone!

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

The number of "churchless" Americans is rising! It is now estimated that 38% of...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

On this day in 1946, the first images of Earth from outer space were captured!

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA staffer Matthew Bulger talks about Gamergate. "It’s extremely important th...

7 days ago