Update: The Air Force declined to release the legal opinion behind the decision to alter the AFI last year requiring “so help me God” to remain in the oath. The reason: attorney-client privilege.
After seeking guidance from the Department of Defense, the Air Force immediately implemented a policy change making the oath “so help me God” optional during the oaths of office and enlistment.
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.
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said the Air Force takes religious freedom seriously:
“We take any instance in which airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said. “We are making the appropriate Read more
Update: Tony Perkins addresses the issue at One News Now. Also at the Christian Post.
Todd Starnes at FoxNews reports on the decision by a local National Guard armory not to be recognized at a local Vacation Bible School — because, they said, it would violate the military policies on religion. (The Washington Times and others subsequently picked up the story.)
Bible Baptist Church in Carthage…decided to honor the military during their annual Vacation Bible School. The theme was “God’s Rescue Squad.” And each day of the week, the church invited local “rescue squads” to visit with the boys and girls.
The paramedics came on Monday and on Read more
Mikey Weinstein’s confused take on the Air Force’s policy: It’s like an umbrella in a tsunami…
McClatchy asked the question no other media outlet has in the past few weeks: What ever became of the “offsite” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said she was convening?
Late last month, James and Welsh convened a “Religious Freedom Focus Day” conference of senior chaplains and legal and manpower officials to discuss the policy. An Air Force spokeswoman, Rose Richeson, declined to make the results of the April 28 meeting public, saying it would be “too premature to provide an interview.”
It would seem, though, someone may have heard what occurred:
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council…said that based on what he’d heard from people at the meeting he expected the Air Force to “make a policy change shortly.”
The article says Perkins’ statement “alarms supporters of the policy,” and cites exactly one person: Michael “Mikey” Weinstein. The policy Read more
Update: Congressman Lamborn’s potential political rivals reacted, with Republican Bentley Rayburn, a retired Major General and 1975 USAFA graduate, saying Lamborn hasn’t done enough to support religious freedom at USAFA, while Democrat Irv Halter, also a retired Major General and 1977 USAFA graduate, says Lamborn has gone too far.
A few weeks ago congressmen asked the Secretary of the Air Force to document and explain the Air Force religious policy and its application at the US Air Force Academy, following USAFA’s command decision to pull down a Bible verse on a cadet’s whiteboard. As noted then and in a subsequent congressional hearing, the Air Force has relied heavily on AFI 1-1, a Chief of Staff level AFI published in the final days of General Norton Schwartz’s tenure in 2012.
Now, Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado (home to the US Air Force Academy) has written a letter signed by 22 other congressmen asking Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James to revise the policy at issue:
The August 2012 Air Force regulations which govern religious freedom and expression (AFI 1-1) are inconsistent with Congressional intent and current law…
The first issue Lamborn cites is the “undefinable” standard the Air Force uses [emphasis added]: Read more
View the video from approximately 4:10.
How’d you like to be the cadet who posted Galatians 2:20? You are personally responsible for influencing religious liberty policy in the US Air Force. Nicely done.
A few weeks ago the US Air Force Academy made the news when a Bible verse was stripped from a USAFA cadet’s dry erase board. The incident led Congressmen to question the Air Force leadership about the incident when they appeared for a budget meeting. Secretary James and Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh were initially defensive, citing AFI 1-1 as the justification for the command action against the cadet, though they did agree to provide a written explanation for the action. General Welsh famously expressed his “single biggest frustration” over what he called the untrue “perception [of] religious persecution” in the Air Force.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, Secretary James seemed to have tweaked the Air Force reaction.
In response Read more
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh, and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody recently took to YouTube to explain the Air Force core values “matter.”
The video is interesting, but even more interesting is the way the official Air Force Facebook page intro’d the video [emphasis added]:
When you voluntarily raised your right hand and took the oath of enlistment to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, against enemies foreign and domestic — you purposely gave up a piece of yourself. You were remolded and given a new set of core values, which are integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.
That statement seems to presuppose that men and women enter the Air Force without values of integrity, service, or excellence. While that is absolutely Read more
Since when is the standard of what’s constitutional based on what offends someone else?
– Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, addressing USAFA’s statement that a Bible verse was removed because it made someone feel “uncomfortable.”
Congressman Mike McIntyre (D-NC) asked Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James if she would provide an official explanation of the USAFA Bible verse incident:
Would you be willing to submit a detailed explanation within the next 10 days…of the event that occurred…, what the Air Force Academy policy is, and…how that policy was applied in this situation?
Secretary James agreed to do so. The Air Force has already said its policy is found in AFI 1-1, which says Read more