Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) Introduces Bill Forcing Air Force Academy Cadets to Recite Oath to ‘God’
A Republican US congressman has introduced a bill that would force cadets at the United States Air Force Academy to acknowledge and swear an oath to the Abrahamic deity figure ‘God.’
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), a former Air Force colonel, has introduced HR 1425, the Preserve and Protect God in Military Oaths Act of 2015, which he claims is meant to protect the religious liberty of American troops.
“Our Constitution’s very First Amendment protects every individual’s freedom of religion. But our servicemen and women who protect our county with their lives are seeing that freedom under fire,” Johnson said in a statement posted on his website. The statement continued:
In 2013, the US Air Force Academy (USAFA) made the phrase ‘so help me God’ optional in the oath each cadet takes. And why did they do this? Because of one radical atheist group’s demands! Let me be clear: Americans have the freedom of religion—but not freedom from religion. That’s why I am introducing legislation that requires Congressional approval before any change would be made to military oaths.
Without an act of Congress, HR 1425 would force USAFA cadets to say the words “so help me God” during the Honor Oath, which is recited at the start of every academic year: “We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, so help me God.”
“The moral foundation of our country is in serious danger if we allow radical groups to dictate whether or not we can freely express our religious beliefs! It’s time to take a stand,” asserted Johnson.
Three additional Republican congressmen have signed on to HR 1425 as co-sponsors; Reps. Pete Osborn (TX), Pete Sessions (TX) and Doug Lamborn, who represents the Colorado district housing USAFA.
The Christianization of the American military, especially in the wake of the September 11, 2001 Islamist terror attacks on the United States, has been especially acute at USAFA. Christian indoctrination, religious intolerance and bullying, and virulent anti-Semitism have all plagued the prestigious institution during the post-9/11 era.
Critics have complained about National Day of Prayer services being exclusively Christian, about cadets being forced to attend an assembly at which Christian fundamentalists asserted that the only way to stop terrorism was to “kill Islam,” and about how ‘Lord’s Army’ member Lt. Clebe McClary, a Marine who said that USMC will always stand for “US Marines for Christ,” wasinvited to speak at the academy.
Rep. Johnson has drawn sharp criticism, including from military veterans, over HR 1425. The comment section of his website statement has been accumulating dozens of mostly negative remarks.
“I’ve taken the Oath 4 times. I’ve never mentioned any God, because I’m an atheist who is a patriot,” wrote Mike Pekarek. “This fight you cannot be allowed to win, both for my sake and for my Christian brothers in arms. America cannot have a religious armed forces.”
“Sam Johnson, you are a congressman who is supposed to abide by the Constitution yet you are violating the first sentence of the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion,'” wrote Lance Feegan of Spring, Texas, who described himself as “one pissed-off Marine.”
“It is clear you are intentionally violating the law and if you continue should be impeached,” added Feegan.
“Unbelievable! I am a graduate of USAFA and to see what has become of that once great institution because of religious zealotry is sad,” wrote Dave Chapman of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Tagged Air Force Academy 'so help me God', Air Force Academy oath, Christianization of the military, HR 1425, religion in the military, Rep. Sam Johnson, United States Air Force Academy, USAFA, USAFA religious discrimination