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USAF-Controller
09-05-2014, 06:45 PM
[URL="http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140904/NEWS05/309040066/Group-Airman-denied-reenlistment-refusing-say-help-me-God-[/URL] I was not aware that the AFI had changed. I think this should be illegal if in fact is not already. Thoughts?

garhkal
09-05-2014, 07:49 PM
I know my last 2 re=ups in the navy, we were allowed to just say "i so swear', rather than so help me god, if we didn't want to say anything religious.

USAF-Controller
09-05-2014, 08:59 PM
I know my last 2 re=ups in the navy, we were allowed to just say "i so swear', rather than so help me god, if we didn't want to say anything religious.

As it should be. The Air Force has a different view, it would seem.

sandsjames
09-05-2014, 09:26 PM
Must have changed since I joined. Hell, even 21 years ago I had the choice of "swear" or "affirm" and don't remember the word God being in there anywhere. As a matter of fact, the form actually has "(or affirm)" after the word swear. 5 re-enlistments...never once was I forced to "swear to God" anything.

Measure Man
09-05-2014, 09:57 PM
Must have changed since I joined. Hell, even 21 years ago I had the choice of "swear" or "affirm" and don't remember the word God being in there anywhere. As a matter of fact, the form actually has "(or affirm)" after the word swear. 5 re-enlistments...never once was I forced to "swear to God" anything.

Looking at the article is seems the AFI is based on the law and takes it word for word.

I looked up the law, and the "so help me God" part was added in 1962...and the history does not indicate any changes to that part since then.

I'm wondering if the AFI previously added the option to delete the God part because someone thought it was a good idea...but in last year's review someone did a little research and said "Hey, the law doesn't give that option...we have to follow the law."

Looks to me like criticism of the AF in this case is unfounded, and that criticism should be directed at Congress...we can only follow what they have put into the law.

At any rate, seems clear this is a bogus requirement...curious that it is such a big deal to this guy that he's willing to risk his career on it....maybe he still has many months left on his enlistment and just presing the "press to test" button.

USAF-Controller
09-05-2014, 10:53 PM
Looking at the article is seems the AFI is based on the law and takes it word for word.

I looked up the law, and the "so help me God" part was added in 1962...and the history does not indicate any changes to that part since then.

I'm wondering if the AFI previously added the option to delete the God part because someone thought it was a good idea...but in last year's review someone did a little research and said "Hey, the law doesn't give that option...we have to follow the law."

Looks to me like criticism of the AF in this case is unfounded, and that criticism should be directed at Congress...we can only follow what they have put into the law.

At any rate, seems clear this is a bogus requirement...curious that it is such a big deal to this guy that he's willing to risk his career on it....maybe he still has many months left on his enlistment and just presing the "press to test" button.

It would seem that according to Title 10 USC 502, you are right. The fault lies with Congress and not the Air Force. I understand why it is such a big deal to him. I'm sure if the oath said "under Allah" then no Christian would ever re-enlist.

Measure Man
09-05-2014, 11:23 PM
It would seem that according to Title 10 USC 502, you are right. The fault lies with Congress and not the Air Force. I understand why it is such a big deal to him. I'm sure if the oath said "under Allah" then no Christian would ever re-enlist.

Sure, a Christian would not want to offend their own god, bow down to another god, etc. lest his eternal life be put in jeopardy. (even though Allah is just the Arabic word for God) This is not a problem for an atheist.

I mean I get the principle and all...but is it a big enough issue? I consider myself pretty much an atheist, but maybe not that good of one...you want me to ask for God's help in keeping my oath? Okay...I don't actually believe I'll get it, but I can say it.

If it were a small issue, yeah I might raise the flag on it...but, would I refuse to reenlist over the issue? Hell no...too big of a personal price to pay for losing that pissing contest. I guess it's a "choose your battles" thing, and I'd expect this battle to not be as important to an atheist as the opposite might be to a religous person...as we really don't believe our eternal life is at stake.

Like the AF Creed...do I really feel like I'm a Warrior, Sentry and Avenger? No, not really...would I say the words? Sure.

USAF-Controller
09-05-2014, 11:55 PM
Sure, a Christian would not want to offend their own god, bow down to another god, etc. lest his eternal life be put in jeopardy. (even though Allah is just the Arabic word for God) This is not a problem for an atheist.

I mean I get the principle and all...but is it a big enough issue? I consider myself pretty much an atheist, but maybe not that good of one...you want me to ask for God's help in keeping my oath? Okay...I don't actually believe I'll get it, but I can say it.

If it were a small issue, yeah I might raise the flag on it...but, would I refuse to reenlist over the issue? Hell no...too big of a personal price to pay for losing that pissing contest. I guess it's a "choose your battles" thing, and I'd expect this battle to not be as important to an atheist as the opposite might be to a religous person...as we really don't believe our eternal life is at stake.

Like the AF Creed...do I really feel like I'm a Warrior, Sentry and Avenger? No, not really...would I say the words? Sure.

I get what you are saying. Perhaps this Airman is taking a stand or perhaps he will re-enlist anyway. Either way, this is an issue that needs to be brought up ans I believe that the current USC is in violation of the constitution. Hopefully this will generate a change.

Measure Man
09-06-2014, 12:57 AM
I get what you are saying. Perhaps this Airman is taking a stand or perhaps he will re-enlist anyway. Either way, this is an issue that needs to be brought up ans I believe that the current USC is in violation of the constitution. Hopefully this will generate a change.

Yeah, I agree.

TJMAC77SP
09-06-2014, 02:57 AM
Sure, a Christian would not want to offend their own god, bow down to another god, etc. lest his eternal life be put in jeopardy. (even though Allah is just the Arabic word for God) This is not a problem for an atheist.

I mean I get the principle and all...but is it a big enough issue? I consider myself pretty much an atheist, but maybe not that good of one...you want me to ask for God's help in keeping my oath? Okay...I don't actually believe I'll get it, but I can say it.

If it were a small issue, yeah I might raise the flag on it...but, would I refuse to reenlist over the issue? Hell no...too big of a personal price to pay for losing that pissing contest. I guess it's a "choose your battles" thing, and I'd expect this battle to not be as important to an atheist as the opposite might be to a religous person...as we really don't believe our eternal life is at stake.

Like the AF Creed...do I really feel like I'm a Warrior, Sentry and Avenger? No, not really...would I say the words? Sure.

While I don't necessarily agree with the focus on Christians in this case I think you are right. I have been troubled for years over the trend toward evangelical proselytizing in the AF.

Having said that I don't think this is a real change. The 'swear of affirm' part is at the beginning. The last line is 'So help me God". Seems like it have been for several decades.

Putting aside that the term God should satisfy all the Abrahamic religions it ignores those that aren't of those faiths and of course the atheists.

I think it's time to seriously revisit the oath but I agree that these airmen need to pick their battles well.

Stalwart
09-06-2014, 11:01 AM
A sort of related issue (picking battles etc.) in the Navy: African-American female Sailor (HM2 / E-5 with 12 years of service) was told her hair did not conform to standards, refused to modify her hair style and was discharged.

Navy Times: http://www.navytimes.com/article/20140821/NEWS07/308210039/Officials-decide-boot-HM2-her-locks

I heard about this and for the most part got her point, but as the OP said, she chose to fight it in the wrong way and as a result was administratively separated. In the Navy Times article: “I don’t think I should be told that I have to straighten my hair in order to be within what they think the regulations are, and I don’t think I should have to cover it up with a wig,” she said."

I would think that at some point along the road from when this first came up to her being processed for separation, someone checked what the grooming regulation was and confirmed she was not being erroneously picked on. At that point, even though she had worn her hair that way for years, she was informed what the right way to do it is ... and the choice was put on her. Maybe she didn't really want to stay in, but if she did ... to get separated after 12 years over this seems like a loss on her part.

technomage1
09-06-2014, 12:10 PM
I've always ommitted the "so help me god" part. If they require that it is a religious test for office, as prohibited by article 6 of the US constitution. I wouldn't - and won't - say it either. Guess it's fortunate I'm enlisted out to past my retirement date.

To those who think it's a pick your battle issue...you want the guy to lie in his oath? That's the last place you want anyone to lie.

The statue should be amended to allow people to omit "so help me god"...or better yet, amend it so that people can add "so help me god" instead of making it the default version.

Stalwart
09-06-2014, 12:33 PM
I've always ommitted the "so help me god" part. If they require that it is a religious test for office, as prohibited by article 6 of the US constitution. I wouldn't - and won't - say it either. Guess it's fortunate I'm enlisted out to past my retirement date.

To those who think it's a pick your battle issue...you want the guy to lie in his oath? That's the last place you want anyone to lie.

And if you don't want to, I don't think you should be required to, I have not read the section of the USC on it nor do I have an answer why if there has not been a change in the law the USAF decided to tighten the rules on it. If it is the law, I would just be curious what prompted the change in enforcement. I know in the USN it is allowed to "swear" or "affirm", and we don't require people to state "so help me God." When I reenlist people, I simply ask if they would like that part or not.


The statue should be amended to allow people to omit "so help me god"...or better yet, amend it so that people can add "so help me god" instead of making it the default version.

I agree. I would say the law is probably in need of amending & if this issue picks up traction (attention in the media) it could happen very quickly and be incorporated into the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act. Trust me, a Capitol Hill staffer can get something plugged in to the NDAA pretty quickly.

technomage1
09-06-2014, 01:01 PM
I agree. I would say the law is probably in need of amending & if this issue picks up traction (attention in the media) it could happen very quickly and be incorporated into the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act. Trust me, a Capitol Hill staffer can get something plugged in to the NDAA pretty quickly.

But will they bother? Honestly, I see it playing out more in the lines of congress people screaming "so help me god" and swearing up and down to keep this "cherished American tradition" in the language since it's "historical" (since 1962). Sadly enough, I've seen the constitution pissed on enough in my day to think this one will need to go to the courts.

I hope I'm wrong. But if I'd bet a steak dinner the right thing isn't going to happen without a long, legal fight.

sandsjames
09-06-2014, 01:04 PM
A sort of related issue (picking battles etc.) in the Navy: African-American female Sailor (HM2 / E-5 with 12 years of service) was told her hair did not conform to standards, refused to modify her hair style and was discharged.

Navy Times: http://www.navytimes.com/article/20140821/NEWS07/308210039/Officials-decide-boot-HM2-her-locks

I heard about this and for the most part got her point, but as the OP said, she chose to fight it in the wrong way and as a result was administratively separated. In the Navy Times article: “I don’t think I should be told that I have to straighten my hair in order to be within what they think the regulations are, and I don’t think I should have to cover it up with a wig,” she said."

I would think that at some point along the road from when this first came up to her being processed for separation, someone checked what the grooming regulation was and confirmed she was not being erroneously picked on. At that point, even though she had worn her hair that way for years, she was informed what the right way to do it is ... and the choice was put on her. Maybe she didn't really want to stay in, but if she did ... to get separated after 12 years over this seems like a loss on her part.

I was told the following on more than one occasion:

"If your boss tells you to jump in a lake, you should be soaking wet when you go complain about it". In other words, as long as it's not an order that is going to cause harm to someone, you should comply, then fight it from there. Not saying that this is mandatory, but it does seem like a smart move.

sandsjames
09-06-2014, 01:06 PM
But will they bother? Honestly, I see it playing out more in the lines of congress people screaming "so help me god" and swearing up and down to keep this "cherished American tradition" in the language since it's "historical" (since 1962). Sadly enough, I've seen the constitution pissed on enough in my day to think this one will need to go to the courts.

I hope I'm wrong. But if I'd bet a steak dinner the right thing isn't going to happen without a long, legal fight.

I'm sure we would hear that argument from some, but I bet it would still get changed pretty quickly. Just thinking about the oath when you are a witness in court, that was modified pretty (relatively) easily without a lot of pushback.

Stalwart
09-06-2014, 01:54 PM
I was told the following on more than one occasion:

"If your boss tells you to jump in a lake, you should be soaking wet when you go complain about it". In other words, as long as it's not an order that is going to cause harm to someone, you should comply, then fight it from there. Not saying that this is mandatory, but it does seem like a smart move.

In some ways yes and in some ways no. What you are talking about is a "who/what model" -- tell the 'who' the 'what' that they will be doing. Based on my background (infantry, a lot of combat experience) there are times that unquestioned obedience to orders is truly needed & who/what is the best way of doing things.

Outside of those situations, as a senior enlisted and now officer, I more use a "why/who/what model"; explaining the 'why' to the 'who' and the 'what' we are going to do to accomplish our goal. I find that explaining the 'why' also helps build decision makers and ultimately leaders. Admittedly, some situations and/or people don't need or warrant the 'why' explained, but when I can I explain it. I think people genuinely appreciate knowing what is going on & being informed.

Circa late 90's General Krulak (the Commandant of the Marine Corps) initiated a concept of the 'Strategic Corporal' and how the junior Marine leader -- in his example a Cpl (E-4) Fire Team leader has strategic value in the "Three Block War" and how the junior leader has to be decisive and have the ability to think. Even as a young Marine, I was not trained to be an absolute automaton (contrary to a wide perception about Marines), I was trained to think, to speak my mind, to find solutions to problems and to provide solutions to my bosses.

If your boss tells you to go jump in the lake, at what point do you think you should be asking the 'why' to the process? To me it is situational ... in some cases you may be (I have before) been told to do something that was a blatant violation of regulations, do you blindly do what your boss told you and then complain later about it or do you say "No." In the issue of the Airman and the oath, or the Sailor and her hair ... if they decide to not "jump in the lake", how they decide to tell their boss "No" or to ask "Why?" is important, if you are going to not do something you are told, even if you are correct in refusing ... HOW you refuse can keep you out of a different & sometimes larger set of problems.

Stalwart
09-06-2014, 02:03 PM
But will they bother? Honestly, I see it playing out more in the lines of congress people screaming "so help me god" and swearing up and down to keep this "cherished American tradition" in the language since it's "historical" (since 1962). Sadly enough, I've seen the constitution pissed on enough in my day to think this one will need to go to the courts.

I hope I'm wrong. But if I'd bet a steak dinner the right thing isn't going to happen without a long, legal fight.

I think you could expect a fair number of Members of Congress to vehemently defend the oath as it is written. How many do you think knew (before this became news) that the Air Force was enforcing the law they way they are -- or that in the Navy (at least my little corner of it) it is not enforced the same way -- I would guess few to none.

Last year's NDAA very quietly changed the wording of UCMJ article 125/Sodomy to forcible sodomy (assault) to better align with homosexuals serving openly -- this change to tradition was done with nearly no resistance in committee or on the floor of either chamber.

sandsjames
09-06-2014, 03:47 PM
In some ways yes and in some ways no. What you are talking about is a "who/what model" -- tell the 'who' the 'what' that they will be doing. Based on my background (infantry, a lot of combat experience) there are times that unquestioned obedience to orders is truly needed & who/what is the best way of doing things.

Outside of those situations, as a senior enlisted and now officer, I more use a "why/who/what model"; explaining the 'why' to the 'who' and the 'what' we are going to do to accomplish our goal. I find that explaining the 'why' also helps build decision makers and ultimately leaders. Admittedly, some situations and/or people don't need or warrant the 'why' explained, but when I can I explain it. I think people genuinely appreciate knowing what is going on & being informed.

Circa late 90's General Krulak (the Commandant of the Marine Corps) initiated a concept of the 'Strategic Corporal' and how the junior Marine leader -- in his example a Cpl (E-4) Fire Team leader has strategic value in the "Three Block War" and how the junior leader has to be decisive and have the ability to think. Even as a young Marine, I was not trained to be an absolute automaton (contrary to a wide perception about Marines), I was trained to think, to speak my mind, to find solutions to problems and to provide solutions to my bosses.

If your boss tells you to go jump in the lake, at what point do you think you should be asking the 'why' to the process? To me it is situational ... in some cases you may be (I have before) been told to do something that was a blatant violation of regulations, do you blindly do what your boss told you and then complain later about it or do you say "No." In the issue of the Airman and the oath, or the Sailor and her hair ... if they decide to not "jump in the lake", how they decide to tell their boss "No" or to ask "Why?" is important, if you are going to not do something you are told, even if you are correct in refusing ... HOW you refuse can keep you out of a different & sometimes larger set of problems.

Basically it comes down to what the (for AF) AFI says. If it's a judgment call as to the interpretation of the AFI then, yes, asking why before complying is fine. If it's an AFI that can only possibly be interpreted right way, then one needs to comply with it, raise the challenge, and hope for change...again, as long as it's not illegal or harmful.

TJMAC77SP
09-06-2014, 05:10 PM
As I said before the "swear (or affirm)" part is at the beginning and the "so help me God" is at the end. Two separate issues. I repeated the oath on several occasions but don't ever remember being asked if I wanted to say that last part or omit it.

I do agree that it should not be mandatory but I also won't tell you now, when there are no consequences, that I would have refused to say it if I had been so inclined.

It seems a very minor issue but I guess matters of principle often start that way.

garhkal
09-06-2014, 08:03 PM
I was told the following on more than one occasion:

"If your boss tells you to jump in a lake, you should be soaking wet when you go complain about it". In other words, as long as it's not an order that is going to cause harm to someone, you should comply, then fight it from there. Not saying that this is mandatory, but it does seem like a smart move.

I was always told the same. If you disagree with an order, follow it, THEN complain or check on whether it was legitimate.

As to that Gal and her hair doo. If she had been out of regs so long, why was there no disciplinary action against her superiors for allowing it to go on?

MikeKerriii
09-06-2014, 09:34 PM
Sure, a Christian would not want to offend their own god, bow down to another god, etc. lest his eternal life be put in jeopardy. (even though Allah is just the Arabic word for God) This is not a problem for an atheist.

I mean I get the principle and all...but is it a big enough issue? I consider myself pretty much an atheist, but maybe not that good of one...you want me to ask for God's help in keeping my oath? Okay...I don't actually believe I'll get it, but I can say it.

If it were a small issue, yeah I might raise the flag on it...but, would I refuse to reenlist over the issue? Hell no...too big of a personal price to pay for losing that pissing contest. I guess it's a "choose your battles" thing, and I'd expect this battle to not be as important to an atheist as the opposite might be to a religous person...as we really don't believe our eternal life is at stake.

Like the AF Creed...do I really feel like I'm a Warrior, Sentry and Avenger? No, not really...would I say the words? Sure.

If a non-believer takes the oath with the existing words heis lying in that oath. I think that is considered a crime

So the Air Force is giving people a simple choice be a beliver or lie and pretend you are

I guess the Air Force Brash is more familiar and loyal with the Bible that the Constitution the give an oath to defend, so they have no troubly lying on thier oaths and don't understand what the problem might be

sandsjames
09-06-2014, 10:20 PM
As to that Gal and her hair doo. If she had been out of regs so long, why was there no disciplinary action against her superiors for allowing it to go on?Definitely...either she changed her hair recently or, more likely, someone new came into the squadron and needed something to bitch about.

sandsjames
09-06-2014, 11:27 PM
It seems a very minor issue but I guess matters of principle often start that way.I don't think it's a minor issue at all. I think it's a huge issue. I'm really surprised that it has taken this long for it to be an issue, though. It needs to be changed, and changed soon.

LogDog
09-07-2014, 03:33 AM
I was always told the same. If you disagree with an order, follow it, THEN complain or check on whether it was legitimate.

As to that Gal and her hair doo. If she had been out of regs so long, why was there no disciplinary action against her superiors for allowing it to go on?
I was always told unless the order was patently illegal you follow the order and then challenge it.

Unless the situation required immediate action, I found if you talked to the person giving the order explaining your concerns they'll give you straight answer as to why they want you to do it. In most cases, from my experience, there is a legitimate reason behind it.

TJMAC77SP
09-07-2014, 05:39 AM
I don't think it's a minor issue at all. I think it's a huge issue. I'm really surprised that it has taken this long for it to be an issue, though. It needs to be changed, and changed soon.

I said minor issue because it has been part of the oath since 1962 and I imagine both of us have said it more than once.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-07-2014, 11:04 AM
I don't remember "so help me god" at the end of the oaths I took.

Early in my career, I was still a Christian, so I would have said it, but later in my career, I would have most definitely objected.

Then again, during the later part of my career, my enlistments were merely extended, so I probably dodged being put on the spot with this.

It would have been a big deal during the early years of my "conversion" to atheism, I'm sure of that.

Many Atheists, especially those who were once devoted believers, are usually coping with a fair amount of emotional turmoil. I can certainly understand why a person would dig their heels in and take a stand.

I had a minor tussle before a deployment over Non Pref being stamped on my dog tags. The guy in the readiness section would not put Atheist on them.

He kept maintaining he wasn't allowed to, and that I'd have to settle with Non Pref, but I kept maintaining that I had a preference and that preference is Atheist.

We went round and round, until someone else from the readiness section gave me Atheist dog tags.

technomage1
09-07-2014, 02:14 PM
I said minor issue because it has been part of the oath since 1962 and I imagine both of us have said it more than once.

I can only speak for myself...but I've reenlisted, what 5 times or so and never said it. It's a big deal to me because essentially it a)clearly violates the Constitution not to offer a secular option (and the source document itself, not even an amendment or something and b)would make me lie in an oath. I'm just not willing to do that. I guess you could argue that I could say "So help me the flying spaghetti monster" and it would mean about the same thing to me on an intellectual level as both the flying spaghetti monster and god don't exist, but still...it strikes me as fundamentally dishonest to swear by something you don't believe in. Makes me wonder how much of the rest of the oath a person who would do that would bend. "I promise to abide by the orders of the officers appointed over me" - does that mean most of the time, all the time, or when you feel like it? Not saying you'd do that but raising it as an example.

Stalwart
09-07-2014, 03:00 PM
I can only speak for myself...but I've reenlisted, what 5 times or so and never said it. It's a big deal to me because essentially it a)clearly violates the Constitution not to offer a secular option (and the source document itself, not even an amendment or something and b)would make me lie in an oath. I'm just not willing to do that. I guess you could argue that I could say "So help me the flying spaghetti monster" and it would mean about the same thing to me on an intellectual level as both the flying spaghetti monster and god don't exist, but still...it strikes me as fundamentally dishonest to swear by something you don't believe in. Makes me wonder how much of the rest of the oath a person who would do that would bend. "I promise to abide by the orders of the officers appointed over me" - does that mean most of the time, all the time, or when you feel like it? Not saying you'd do that but raising it as an example.

Good point. I have thought that the point of being able to "swear" or "affirm" was to enable/provide the secular option. Why that did not extend to the end of the oath & the "so help me God" part ... I have no good answer for you.

I would be curious if this is truly an AF wide policy, or the enforcement of one localized base/commander etc. that may get dialed back as this gets more attention (my personal hope.)

technomage1
09-07-2014, 03:31 PM
Good point. I have thought that the point of being able to "swear" or "affirm" was to enable/provide the secular option. Why that did not extend to the end of the oath & the "so help me God" part ... I have no good answer for you.

Well, the "So help me god" part was added in 1962. My best guess it was another pledge of allegiance type addition. "under god" was added in 1954. Some religious group probably got thier panties in a wad and convinced congress to add it.

technomage1
09-07-2014, 03:41 PM
I looked it up and it seems the oath changed in 1960 to everything but to "Under god".

"The first oath under the Constitution was approved by Act of Congress 29 September 1789 (Sec. 3, Ch. 25, 1st Congress). It applied to all commissioned officers, noncommissioned officers and privates in the service of the United States. It came in two parts, the first of which read: "I, A.B., do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) that I will support the constitution of the United States." The second part read: "I, A.B., do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) to bear true allegiance to the United States of America, and to serve them honestly and faithfully, against all their enemies or opposers whatsoever, and to observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States of America, and the orders of the officers appointed over me." The next section of that chapter specified that "the said troops shall be governed by the rules and articles of war, which have been established by the United States in Congress assembled, or by such rules and articles of war as may hereafter by law be established.""

So the oath from 1789 to 1962 did not include a reference to god. For 173 years no god. Only 52 years with.

Source: www.history.army.mil/html/faq/oaths.html

TJMAC77SP
09-07-2014, 03:49 PM
I don't remember "so help me god" at the end of the oaths I took.

Early in my career, I was still a Christian, so I would have said it, but later in my career, I would have most definitely objected.

Then again, during the later part of my career, my enlistments were merely extended, so I probably dodged being put on the spot with this.

It would have been a big deal during the early years of my "conversion" to atheism, I'm sure of that.

Many Atheists, especially those who were once devoted believers, are usually coping with a fair amount of emotional turmoil. I can certainly understand why a person would dig their heels in and take a stand.

I had a minor tussle before a deployment over Non Pref being stamped on my dog tags. The guy in the readiness section would not put Atheist on them.

He kept maintaining he wasn't allowed to, and that I'd have to settle with Non Pref, but I kept maintaining that I had a preference and that preference is Atheist.

We went round and round, until someone else from the readiness section gave me Atheist dog tags.

Truth is that I don't specifically remember saying it either but since the presiding officer at every reenlistment I ever participated in or observed used a written example of the oath I can't think of a single reason why the last line of the official oath wouldn't have been there.

I used to get some minor shit from the chaplain (they always manned the station that checked dog tags in the mobility line) about my No Rel Pref. I got nasty with one during one instance and regretted it. After that I explained my position and without fail they were sympathetic.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-07-2014, 08:21 PM
Truth is that I don't specifically remember saying it either but since the presiding officer at every reenlistment I ever participated in or observed used a written example of the oath I can't think of a single reason why the last line of the official oath wouldn't have been there.

I used to get some minor shit from the chaplain (they always manned the station that checked dog tags in the mobility line) about my No Rel Pref. I got nasty with one during one instance and regretted it. After that I explained my position and without fail they were sympathetic.

On what grounds did the Chaplain give you shit? Was he trying to get you to join a particular team?

My disdain for Chaplains is rather strong; I've never encountered one that looked particularly easy to talk to, or that seemed very interested in what the troops were doing at deployed locations, or home station for that matter.

I could never figure out what they did besides the invocation at ceremonies, or making appearances at Wing "fun runs" and the occasional softball game.

They are reputed to be very competent counselors, but I've never met one that seemed like the kind of person that I would take a problem to. One of my troops, went to see one, and when I asked if he helped, my troop just shrugged his shoulders and sighed.

In 23 years, I never saw one visit my duty section, or a post when I was a cop.

Not sure if my team, the atheists, ever got chaplains or not.

However, I rather like the Army and Marine Corps Irish Catholic chaplains that you see in movies, they drink whiskey, smoke cigarettes, and deliver last rites amid a hailstorm of machine gun fire.

Most real-life Air Force Chaplains are uptight Protestants who appear only at luncheons, banquets, and apparently mobility processing lines.

Stalwart
09-07-2014, 08:40 PM
However, I rather like the Army and Marine Corps Irish Catholic chaplains that you see in movies, they drink whiskey, smoke cigarettes, and deliver last rites amid a hailstorm of machine gun fire.

On one particularly crappy field exercise (3 weeks long, hot, HOT NC summer heat the whole time) sometime during my late night watch in the rain and in a fighting hole some guy approaches our position, answers our challenge properly and climbs in the hole with my partner and I and asks us how it is going. Even though he was not wearing rank (we were in the field ... no rank) I figured this was an officer since I had never seen him and the first thing he asked was how we were doing. After a few minutes of us bitching and swearing and he tells us about some open air bar outside Camp Pendleton he used to regularly close down (so now I am thinking this is a new Platoon Commander who is prior enlisted.)

A couple days later at the end of the exercise, our Company Commander introduced us to our new Battalion Chaplain ... same guy. He was a prior enlisted Marine Infantryman who had found God, got out and gone to college and then seminary school. Pretty awesome dude, always around the Marines, routinely did PT, pugil sticks, close combat (hand to hand) training etc with us ... he wasn't allowed to carry a weapon but routinely was on the range shooting. Turns out he was the first of two LDS chaplains I have run into in 24 years. He retired a few years ago, did his whole career except one tour as a (Navy) Chaplain with the Marines.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-07-2014, 09:40 PM
On one particularly crappy field exercise (3 weeks long, hot, HOT NC summer heat the whole time) sometime during my late night watch in the rain and in a fighting hole some guy approaches our position, answers our challenge properly and climbs in the hole with my partner and I and asks us how it is going. Even though he was not wearing rank (we were in the field ... no rank) I figured this was an officer since I had never seen him and the first thing he asked was how we were doing. After a few minutes of us bitching and swearing and he tells us about some open air bar outside Camp Pendleton he used to regularly close down (so now I am thinking this is a new Platoon Commander who is prior enlisted.)

A couple days later at the end of the exercise, our Company Commander introduced us to our new Battalion Chaplain ... same guy. He was a prior enlisted Marine Infantryman who had found God, got out and gone to college and then seminary school. Pretty awesome dude, always around the Marines, routinely did PT, pugil sticks, close combat (hand to hand) training etc with us ... he wasn't allowed to carry a weapon but routinely was on the range shooting. Turns out he was the first of two LDS chaplains I have run into in 24 years. He retired a few years ago, did his whole career except one tour as a (Navy) Chaplain with the Marines.

Cool story, I never saw Air Force chaplains mix with the troops like that.

Kind of clever of him to neglect to identify himself during the fighting position visit. Seems like a good way to break down stereotypes and barriers to being accepted.

TJMAC77SP
09-07-2014, 10:38 PM
On what grounds did the Chaplain give you shit? Was he trying to get you to join a particular team?

My disdain for Chaplains is rather strong; I've never encountered one that looked particularly easy to talk to, or that seemed very interested in what the troops were doing at deployed locations, or home station for that matter.

I could never figure out what they did besides the invocation at ceremonies, or making appearances at Wing "fun runs" and the occasional softball game.

They are reputed to be very competent counselors, but I've never met one that seemed like the kind of person that I would take a problem to. One of my troops, went to see one, and when I asked if he helped, my troop just shrugged his shoulders and sighed.

In 23 years, I never saw one visit my duty section, or a post when I was a cop.

Not sure if my team, the atheists, ever got chaplains or not.

However, I rather like the Army and Marine Corps Irish Catholic chaplains that you see in movies, they drink whiskey, smoke cigarettes, and deliver last rites amid a hailstorm of machine gun fire.

Most real-life Air Force Chaplains are uptight Protestants who appear only at luncheons, banquets, and apparently mobility processing lines.

By 'shit' he simply said, after reading my dog tag, "We have to get you some religion Sergeant". I didn't take offense to it but my reply was disrespectful and as I said I have always regretted that. He seemed like a decent guy who obviously held his beliefs in high regard.

The most relatable clergy I have ever met have been a couple of military chaplains. One was Church of God and was surprisingly accepting of many faiths. Another was a Catholic priest who laughed when I challenged some of the closely held tenets of Christianity (Judeo Christianity to be exact). The universe being created in six days for example. He chuckled and asked me how anyone of the era would have explained it. A parable so to speak.

Of course, I find it as believable and provable as the big bang theory.

Conversely I have met those clergy you refer to. Ones who are so blind sided as not to even listen to any other side of a discussion that doesn't line up with their exact way of thinking. Ridicule and derision is all they offer.

Chris_1991-2011
09-07-2014, 10:55 PM
I would be curious if this is truly an AF wide policy, or the enforcement of one localized base/commander etc. that may get dialed back as this gets more attention (my personal hope.)


Air Force Instruction 36-2606 spells out the active-duty oath of enlistment, which all airmen must take when they enlist or reenlist and ends with “so help me God.” The old version of that AFI included an exception: “Note: Airmen may omit the words ‘so help me God,’ if desired for personal reasons.”


That language was dropped in an Oct. 30, 2013, update to the AFI. The relevant section of that AFI now only lists the active-duty oath of enlistment, without giving airmen any option to choose not to swear an oath to a deity. http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140904/NEWS05/309040066/Group-Airman-denied-reenlistment-refusing-say-help-me-God



I wonder what drove the change to the AFI in 2013? I'm also curious about the Administrative Change that modified the language of the oath. Here is a link to the AFI: http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a1/publication/afi36-2606/afi36-2606.pdf


Reference to Paragraph 5.6. Active Duty Oath of Enlistment MUST READ:

I'm sure there's a reason, but why is "must read" in caps? The subject of this thread and the article is probably influencing my curiosity.

TJMAC77SP
09-07-2014, 11:55 PM
I wonder what drove the change to the AFI in 2013? I'm also curious about the Administrative Change that modified the language of the oath. Here is a link to the AFI: http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a1/publication/afi36-2606/afi36-2606.pdf



I'm sure there's a reason, but why is "must read" in caps? The subject of this thread and the article is probably influencing my curiosity.

I would be curious to see the paragraph from the old AFI.

The MUST READ could be a mandate to read (rather than memorize) the oath. We have had a couple screw ups with elected officials taking their oaths that way.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-08-2014, 12:18 AM
I would be curious to see the paragraph from the old AFI.

The MUST READ could be a mandate to read (rather than memorize) the oath. We have had a couple screw ups with elected officials taking their oaths that way.

Exactly, this could be due to imprecise AFI writing that was interpreted the wrong way. I can see how a religious centric person would automatically link MUST READ with "so help me god" when that wasn't the intent of the AFI author.

Chris_1991-2011
09-08-2014, 01:58 AM
I would be curious to see the paragraph from the old AFI.


This is from the cover page, I assume that's what it's called, that precedes the title page of AFI 36-2606:


Administrative Changes to AFI36-2606, Reenlistment In The United States Air Force, 9 MAY 2011

OPR: AFPC/DPSOAE

Paragraph 5.6. Active Duty Oath of Enlistment -- CANCELLED

Reference to Paragraph 5.6.Active Duty Oath of Enlistment MUST READ:

“All Airmen enlisting or reenlisting must take the following oath: I, (State your full name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."


30 October 2013

Here is the page/paragraph of the AFI that shows what the oath was prior to the above 2013 change:



(page) 36 AFI36-2606 9 MAY 2011

5.6. Active Duty Oath of Enlistment. All Airmen enlisting or reenlisting must take the following oath:

“All Airmen enlisting or reenlisting must take the following oath: I, (State your full name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Note:: Airmen may omit the words “So help me God,” if desired for personal reasons).

I would love to know the specific reasoning/driving force, including the folks/decision makers, behind the 2013 change. (To me, for the most part, it's obvious, but I'd like specifics.) You can view the AFI/above quotes, if desired, here: http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a1/publication/afi36-2606/afi36-2606.pdf

TJMAC77SP
09-08-2014, 01:59 AM
Exactly, this could be due to imprecise AFI writing that was interpreted the wrong way. I can see how a religious centric person would automatically link MUST READ with "so help me god" when that wasn't the intent of the AFI author.

Or an anti-religion person linking it to proselytizing.

Seems both sides can find a reason to be pissed.

EDIT: Just saw Chris's post. Troubling change if driven by a need to insert religion into the oath. Wonder if someone noticed that the original AFI seemed to contradict the law. Seems a change in both is called for.

technomage1
09-08-2014, 04:28 AM
Chris 1991-2011 nailed it. Essentially the only change is that "so help me god" used to be optional. Now they're making you say it or you can't re-enlist. Thus the issues with constitutionality, truthfullness, etc.

You know, looking at the orginal oath back in 1789 it's pretty clear they offered and wanted a secular option. They felt it was important. Shame in 2013 that some folks apparently don't feel that way.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-08-2014, 10:54 AM
That leaves little doubt about the intent, but I think there is a lot more of the story that needs to come out.

Thanks Chris_1991-2011 for digging up the AFIs.

sandsjames
09-08-2014, 11:23 AM
Can I just say that it's interesting that, with all the different views on this site, that this seems to be something we all agree pretty strongly about. Maybe if it came down to a court case on whether that statement should stay or not, the argument could be "Well, if a bunch of internet trolls can agree that it's wrong to force it, or have it at all..."

Stalwart
09-08-2014, 11:39 AM
Can I just say that it's interesting that, with all the different views on this site, that this seems to be something we all agree pretty strongly about. Maybe if it came down to a court case on whether that statement should stay or not, the argument could be "Well, if a bunch of internet trolls can agree that it's wrong to force it, or have it at all..."

Amen to that ... oh wait.

CYBERFX1024
09-08-2014, 04:02 PM
Definitely...either she changed her hair recently or, more likely, someone new came into the squadron and needed something to bitch about.

No, it says in the article that she recently checked into a new command. Which as you know some commands are lenient about certain things than others, and vice versa.

Rainmaker
09-08-2014, 05:14 PM
Can I just say that it's interesting that, with all the different views on this site, that this seems to be something we all agree pretty strongly about. Maybe if it came down to a court case on whether that statement should stay or not, the argument could be "Well, if a bunch of internet trolls can agree that it's wrong to force it, or have it at all..."

Rainmaker won't agree. He may be an internet troll. But, He is not some filthy Nihilist.

sandsjames
09-08-2014, 05:40 PM
Rainmaker won't agree. He may be an internet troll. But, He is not some filthy Nihilist.

You are indeed a filthy Nihilist...ignoring the tradition within the U.S. of not being forced into religion. I don't have a problem with there being religious stuff out in the open...but I do have a problem with forcing someone who doesn't believe in God to say "So help me God". Kind of makes the entire oath pointless.

sandsjames
09-08-2014, 05:41 PM
No, it says in the article that she recently checked into a new command. Which as you know some commands are lenient about certain things than others, and vice versa.

How did this end up in this thread?

Absinthe Anecdote
09-08-2014, 08:00 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/09/08/should-atheists-who-refuse-to-say-so-help-me-god-be-excluded-from-the-air-force/

The Washington Post

Should atheists who refuse to say ‘so help me God’ be excluded from the Air Force?


By Eugene Volokh September 8 at 8:57 AM

The Stephen Losey (Air Force Times) reports (see also the American Humanist Association’s letter to the Air Force Inspector General):

An atheist airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada was denied reenlistment last month for refusing to take an oath containing “so help me God,” the American Humanist Association said Thursday….

Air Force Instruction 36-2606 spells out the active-duty oath of enlistment, which all airmen must take when they enlist or reenlist and ends with “so help me God.” The old version of that AFI included an exception: “Note: Airmen may omit the words ‘so help me God,’ if desired for personal reasons.”

That language was dropped in an Oct. 30, 2013, update to the AFI. The relevant section of that AFI now only lists the active-duty oath of enlistment, without giving airmen any option to choose not to swear an oath to a deity.

“Reciting ‘So help me God’ in the reenlistment and commissioning oaths is a statutory requirement under Title 10 USC 502,” Air Force spokeswoman Rose Richeson said Thursday. AFI 36-2606 “is consistent with the language mandated in 10 USC 502. Paragraph 5.6 [and] was changed in October 2013 to reflect the aforementioned statutory requirement and airmen are no longer authorized to omit the words ‘So help me God.’”

The Air Force said it cannot change its AFI to make “so help me God” optional unless Congress changes the statute mandating it.

Former Congressman Allen West cheers this, and calls it “good news”:

Correct me if I am wrong, but don’t we swear court witnesses to “tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God”? …

A local commander could possibly waive the final phrase [in the oath], but it is law….

I proudly and honorably took the oath of office as a commissioned officer several times and also as a Member of Congress. That’s what Americans do.

This is quite wrong, it seems to me, for two related reasons.

1. First, here’s the relevant statute, 10 U.S.C. § 502,

(a) Enlistment Oath. — Each person enlisting in an armed force shall take the following oath:

“I, ____________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” …


Historical and Revision Notes …

The words “or affirmation” are omitted as covered by the definition of the word “oath” in section 1 of title 1….

Title 1 U.S.C. § 1 indeed provides, “‘oath’ includes affirmation, and ‘sworn’ includes affirmed.” And what is an affirmation? United States v. Bueno-Vargas (9th Cir. 2004) tells us (emphasis added),

An “‘”Oath or affirmation” is a formal assertion of, or attestation to, the truth of what has been, or is to be, said.’” United States v. Brooks, 285 F.3d 1102, 1105 (8th Cir.2002) (quoting United States v. Turner, 558 F.2d 46, 50 (2d Cir.1977)). Black’s Law Dictionary 1099 (7th ed.1999), defines an oath as a “solemn declaration, accompanied by a swearing to God or a revered person or thing, that one’s statement is true.” Black’s defines an affirmation as a “pledge equivalent to an oath but without reference to a supreme being or to ‘swearing.’” Id. at 50; see also Brooks, 285 F.3d at 1105 (reciting these definitions).

So 10 U.S.C. § 502 expressly says that each person may swear or affirm. Likewise, 1 U.S.C. § 1 expressly says that an oath includes an affirmation. And an affirmation means precisely a pledge without reference to a supreme being. Given this context, it seems to me quite clear that “So help me God” in the statute should be read as an optional component, to be used for the great bulk of people who swear, but should be omitted for those who exercise their expressly statutorily provided option to affirm — because that’s what affirming means (omitting reference to a supreme being).

Even looking at the statute standing alone, then, the Air Force thus has no business denying people the ability to affirm, which is to say to omit “so help me God.” And to the extent the statutory “so help me God” language leaves the matter confusing, the Air Force has excellent lawyers — I’m pretty confident that my interpretation of the statute should not be legally controversial.

2. But of course the statute isn’t standing alone; it’s enacted pursuant to the United States Constitution, which has a thing or two to say on such matters.


A. First, the Religious Test Clause — “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” — might well cover this. As I understand it, being an enlisted man is not an “Office,” but I would think it’s a “public Trust.” And the forbidden “religious Test[s]” have long included oaths that contained religious assertions, assertions that members of some religions could not make. (Indeed such test oaths were the quintessential religious tests.) The existence of God is one such assertion that the federal government cannot demand as a qualification for a public trust.

B. Beyond this, the First Amendment more broadly bars the government from excluding atheists from positions because of their atheism, as the Court unanimously held in Torcaso v. Watkins (1961). (For a recent conservative endorsement of that position, see Justice Scalia’s opinion in Employment Division v. Smith (1990), which says, “The government may not compel affirmation of religious belief, see Torcaso v. Watkins.”) What is true for notaries — the job category involved in Torcaso — must also be true for members of the armed forces. (While many constitutional rights are significantly constrained once one joins the military, the Court has never suggested that this is one; moreover, the Religious Test Clause makes that especially clear, since at the Framing military positions were obviously on the Framers’ minds as among the most important positions within the federal government.)

C. Moreover, the Constitution itself always provides that affirmations are always adequate substitute to the oaths that it requires. “When [the Senate is] sitting for [the] Purpose [of trying an impeachment], they shall be on Oath or Affirmation.” “Before [the President] enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: — ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that ….’” (President Franklin Pierce took an affirmation of office rather than an oath of office.) “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” “[N]o Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation.”

To be sure, these provisions were for the benefit of Quakers and other groups that oppose oaths for religious reasons, not for the benefit of atheists. But they are not limited to such groups; instead, they represent the view that affirmations are equivalent to oaths, and that what may be said with a “So help me God” may be said without.

Thus, even if a statutory scheme expressly required an oath, with no affirmation as an alternative, I think it would be unconstitutional. But here the statute specifically provides for affirmation; at most, it’s ambiguous, in also including “so help me God” as part of the oath. For reasons given in part 1 above, that inclusion shouldn’t be seen, even as a simple matter of statutory interpretation, as precluding a no-God affirmation. But the constitutional considerations make it even more clear that any ambiguity should be read in favor of allowing affirmation.

3. Turning specifically to correcting Rep. West (as he himself asked): Witnesses routinely have the option of affirming as well as swearing; see, for instance, Fed. R. Evid. 603, or in Rep. West’s home state of Florida, Fla. Evid. Code 90.605,


Before testifying, each witness shall declare that he or she will testify truthfully, by taking an oath or affirmation in substantially the following form: “Do you swear or affirm that the evidence you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

Likewise, the Rules for Court Martials provide (thanks to James Woodruff for the pointer), “‘Oath’ includes ‘affirmation,’” and explains, “An affirmation is the same as an oath, except in an affirmation the words ‘so help you God’ are omitted.”

Indeed, “That’s what Americans do” — as long as there has been an America, we have allowed people to affirm without reference to God, and treated such affirmations as equivalent to oaths for legal purposes.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-08-2014, 08:07 PM
If Eugene Volokh's analysis of this is correct, we should see the Air Force walking back on their position in a hurry.

According to Volokh, the Air Force violated not only 10 U.S.C. § 502, but also the Constitution.

Measure Man
09-08-2014, 08:39 PM
It has always sort of puzzled me that Christian people are willing to take an oath at all, when Jesus said:


33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one." Matthew 5: 33-37

Absinthe Anecdote
09-08-2014, 08:47 PM
Rainmaker might be street wise, but I think he needs to spend a little time browsing through the dictionary. Not only will it help him, "bust a rhyme" but it will stop him from using the word nihilist as if it is interchangeable with the word atheist.

I'll forgive him though, down at the AME Church where he goes to pray, they probably told him that atheists and nihilists are the same thing.

We are different.

CYBERFX1024
09-08-2014, 09:20 PM
How did this end up in this thread?

It ended up there because someone commented on the article concerning the sailor that was booted due to her hair. So I commented on it.

Rainmaker
09-08-2014, 09:40 PM
You are indeed a filthy Nihilist...ignoring the tradition within the U.S. of not being forced into religion. I don't have a problem with there being religious stuff out in the open...but I do have a problem with forcing someone who doesn't believe in God to say "So help me God". Kind of makes the entire oath pointless.

You're a regular modern day Cotton Mather there Bucko..Gnomesayin?

Rainmaker
09-08-2014, 09:52 PM
July 9, 1776
"The Hon. Continental Congress having been pleased to allow a Chaplain to each Regiment, with the pay of Thirty-three Dollars and one third pr month – The Colonels or commanding officers of each regiment are directed to procure Chaplains accordingly; persons of good Characters and exemplary lives -
To see that all inferior officers and soldiers pay them a suitable respect and attend carefully upon religious exercises. The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger – The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavour so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier, defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country. The Hon. Continental Congress, impelled by the dictates of duty, policy and necessity, having been pleased to dissolve the Connection which subsisted between this Country, and Great Britain, and to declare the United Colonies of North America, free and independent States: The several brigades are to be drawn up this evening on their respective Parades at six O’Clock, when the Declaration of Congress, shewing the grounds and reasons of this measure, is to be read with an audible voice. The General hopes this important event will serve as a fresh incentive to every officer, and soldier, to act with Fidelity and Courage, as knowing that now the peace and safety of his Country depends (under God) solely on the success of our arms.”
sincerely, - George (HMFIC) Washington

Rainmaker
09-08-2014, 10:14 PM
Rainmaker might be street wise, but I think he needs to spend a little time browsing through the dictionary. Not only will it help him, "bust a rhyme" but it will stop him from using the word nihilist as if it is interchangeable with the word atheist.

I'll forgive him though, down at the AME Church where he goes to pray, they probably told him that atheists and nihilists are the same thing.

We are different.

All you heathens look alike to Rainmaker.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-08-2014, 10:45 PM
It has always sort of puzzled me that Christian people are willing to take an oath at all, when Jesus said:

The Quakers don't swear oaths because of what you cited, and Jehovah Witness are usually sensitive to issues like that as well. I'm sure that there are a few other denominations that also object to swearing oaths.

sandsjames
09-09-2014, 11:24 AM
It has always sort of puzzled me that Christian people are willing to take an oath at all, when Jesus said:

We are able to because we are sinners...each and every one of us. Trust me when I tell you that it's an issue every time I do it. It's also a question in my mind every time I stood at attention and saluted the flag. Usually I'd just take my mind somewhere else and pray for forgiveness while doing it. This allowed me to give the appearance, to any person watching, that I was doing what I was supposed to during retreat. Whether right or wrong, it's something I'll be judged on at some point.

sandsjames
09-09-2014, 11:26 AM
It ended up there because someone commented on the article concerning the sailor that was booted due to her hair. So I commented on it.You are correct. I apologize. I thought that was a completely different thread. My mistake.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-09-2014, 02:26 PM
We are able to because we are sinners...each and every one of us. Trust me when I tell you that it's an issue every time I do it. It's also a question in my mind every time I stood at attention and saluted the flag. Usually I'd just take my mind somewhere else and pray for forgiveness while doing it. This allowed me to give the appearance, to any person watching, that I was doing what I was supposed to during retreat. Whether right or wrong, it's something I'll be judged on at some point.

If the big guy turns out to be real, I sure hope he finds something better than that to get pissed at you for. However, I suspect you'll squeak through those pearly gates if they are there.

If not, you can always be buddies in hell with me. It will be tough, but we'll try to make the best of it by running from demons together. If we try hard enough, we just might be able to set up our own little autonomous kingdom down there. I'll be the king, and you can be a Duke, or Earl.

It'll be monotonous, but I think eternity in anyplace would be so after a while. Hey! And I even think it might be possible to produce water in hell, so that's a project that we can work on. Either way, you're covered.

TJMAC77SP
09-09-2014, 02:36 PM
If the big guy turns out to be real, I sure hope he finds something better than that to get pissed at you for. However, I suspect you'll squeak through those pearly gates if they are there.

If not, you can always be buddies in hell with me. It will be tough, but we'll try to make the best of it by running from demons together. If we try hard enough, we just might be able to set up our own little autonomous kingdom down there. I'll be the king, and you can be a Duke, or Earl.

It'll be monotonous, but I think eternity in anyplace would be so after a while. Hey! And I even think it might be possible to produce water in hell, so that's a project that we can work on. Either way, you're covered.

I know you were kidding here but you have brought up a thought I first had when I was a kid listening to the nuns in Sunday school (CCD as it is called). How fun could heaven be in the long run? What about it would be so blissful? Don't get me wrong, burning in hell for eternity is a definite non-starter for me but as much as I like ice cream and beer (not together) I couldn't have that everyday forever........................

sandsjames
09-09-2014, 04:18 PM
If the big guy turns out to be real, I sure hope he finds something better than that to get pissed at you for. However, I suspect you'll squeak through those pearly gates if they are there.

If not, you can always be buddies in hell with me. It will be tough, but we'll try to make the best of it by running from demons together. If we try hard enough, we just might be able to set up our own little autonomous kingdom down there. I'll be the king, and you can be a Duke, or Earl.

It'll be monotonous, but I think eternity in anyplace would be so after a while. Hey! And I even think it might be possible to produce water in hell, so that's a project that we can work on. Either way, you're covered.

Typical...take an honest, open answer to a question that was asked and turn it into a joke. Next time I'll just answer with "You're wrong, I'm right!!!". Might make things simpler.

sandsjames
09-09-2014, 04:19 PM
I know you were kidding here but you have brought up a thought I first had when I was a kid listening to the nuns in Sunday school (CCD as it is called). How fun could heaven be in the long run? What about it would be so blissful? Don't get me wrong, burning in hell for eternity is a definite non-starter for me but as much as I like ice cream and beer (not together) I couldn't have that everyday forever........................

Pretty simple, if you read the discription of what it is. I think it's kind of hard for us to understand life without temptation and sin, just as it's hard for us to understand time in anything other than a linear way. I can't tell you why it will be so great because I can't comprehend it. I just know that it will be.

TJMAC77SP
09-09-2014, 05:07 PM
Pretty simple, if you read the discription of what it is. I think it's kind of hard for us to understand life without temptation and sin, just as it's hard for us to understand time in anything other than a linear way. I can't tell you why it will be so great because I can't comprehend it. I just know that it will be.

Yeah I remember that explanation I was just reminiscing. Pretty hard for a young person to comprehend. Hell, pretty hard for an adult to comprehend. Faith I guess.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-09-2014, 05:48 PM
I know you were kidding here but you have brought up a thought I first had when I was a kid listening to the nuns in Sunday school (CCD as it is called). How fun could heaven be in the long run? What about it would be so blissful? Don't get me wrong, burning in hell for eternity is a definite non-starter for me but as much as I like ice cream and beer (not together) I couldn't have that everyday forever........................

Yes, I was having a bit of irreverent fun, but the concept of an eternal existence is one of the many thoughts that wormed its way into the fissures of my faith, and busted it apart. Not unlike the way weeds can break apart a block of concrete.

I am reminded of the mustard seed parable, although that was Jesus' prediction about the growth of the early church, in that it would grow large from a small start. I think he also warned that the church would not remain pure.

He sure got that one right, huh? I wonder if all this business about Christians swearing oaths, left and right, could be one of the "evil birds" mentioned in the parable?

Absinthe Anecdote
09-09-2014, 06:11 PM
Typical...take an honest, open answer to a question that was asked and turn it into a joke. Next time I'll just answer with "You're wrong, I'm right!!!". Might make things simpler.

I'm sorry little buddy, I did appreciate your candor, so don't stay mad at me.

You know there are a couple of versions of the same god, that I don't believe in. One of them is the god as depicted in Jack Chick tracts. Your talk of being judged one day reminded me of my all-time favorite Chick Tract, This was your life. http://www.chick.com/m/reading/tracts/readtract.asp?stk=0001

According to that tract, I'm the first guy, and you are most likely the second guy. I think you are probably safe, so don't worry.

However, should you run afoul of one of the big guy's rules in some way, remember, you've got a friend in hell, supposing there is one. :)

sandsjames
09-09-2014, 06:15 PM
I'm sorry little buddy, I did appreciate your candor, so don't stay mad at me.

You know there are a couple of versions of the same god, that I don't believe in. One of them is the god as depicted in Jack Chick tracts. Your talk of being judged one day reminded me of my all-time favorite Chick Tract, This was your life. http://www.chick.com/m/reading/tracts/readtract.asp?stk=0001

According to that tract, I'm the first guy, and you are most likely the second guy. I think you are probably safe, so don't worry.

However, should you run afoul of one of the big guy's rules in some way, remember, you've got a friend in hell, supposing there is one. :)

And to return the favor...when you die, you don't need a friend, because there's nothing...so everything you did throughout your life was pointless. You'll have no memory of anything enjoyable that ever happened. I guess your only hope is that on of the particles from your body escaped into the atmosphere and at some point spontaneously combusts in order to cause the start of another evolutionary process that will allow you to live forever. Have fun going through the ameoba stage again...that's gonna suck.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-09-2014, 06:25 PM
And to return the favor...when you die, you don't need a friend, because there's nothing...so everything you did throughout your life was pointless. You'll have no memory of anything enjoyable that ever happened. I guess your only hope is that on of the particles from your body escaped into the atmosphere and at some point spontaneously combusts in order to cause the start of another evolutionary process that will allow you to live forever. Have fun going through the ameoba stage again...that's gonna suck.

LOL

I am reminded of that Dr Seuss classic, Oh! the Places You'll Go...

Not a bad idea for an atheist comic book that explores the topic of rebirth on the molecular level.

Thanks SJ!

sandsjames
09-09-2014, 06:31 PM
LOL

I am reminded of that Dr Seuss classic, Oh! the Places You'll Go...

Not a bad idea for an atheist comic book that explores the topic of rebirth on the molecular level.

Thanks SJ!

Quit calling yourself an Atheist...you're not...you're an anti-theist. Atheists don't believe...anti-theists live discredit anyone who does.

A guy I work with is an Atheist...we were talking about the oath thing yesterday...his response was "I've said it before, I'll say it again...it doesn't matter either way. It's just words." That's an answer I can respect.

The problem now is that "Atheism" is no longer a lack of belief, it's a political movement. It's about belittling in order to make oneself sound more educated...

"Atheists" have become the new annoying Christian knocking at your door to tell you the "Good News".

Absinthe Anecdote
09-09-2014, 07:39 PM
Quit calling yourself an Atheist...you're not...you're an anti-theist. Atheists don't believe...anti-theists live discredit anyone who does.

The problem now is that "Atheism" is no longer a lack of belief, it's a political movement. It's about belittling in order to make oneself sound more educated...

"Atheists" have become the new annoying Christian knocking at your door to tell you the "Good News".

I'll go so far as to admit that I try to discredit religion, and I do have many questions about the bible and its often baffling, and questionable moral guidance.

Heck, everybody knows that I am undoubtably annoying, but let me pose a thought for you to ponder.

Let's suppose your model of the universe is correct. Then, I might very well be sent from god to test your faith and tolerance.

Me, little ole Absinthe Anecdote, might very well be an instrument of the almighty; heaven sent to make your faith even stronger.

After all, the big guy is reported to work in mysterious ways, right? Maybe, just maybe, you were even sent here to save me?

Under your model of the universe, those sorts of things happen all the time, right?

The bottom line, you big lug, is that I am truly your brother, no matter how much we squabble over the Internet, right?

Don't let that fire rush to your head, cause you know who is watching, and I don't mean that Rasta-fuck moderator or the other one with the weird Viking name that nobody can spell.

Just remember, Brother Sandsjames, this "anti-theist" loves and admires you. You are a cool, yet somehow easily excitable, dude in my book.



A guy I work with is an Atheist...we were talking about the oath thing yesterday...his response was "I've said it before, I'll say it again...it doesn't matter either way. It's just words." That's an answer I can respect.


One last thought to ponder. You respect atheists, as long as we are silent, and willing to bow before swearing to god? Hmmm, that doesn't sound like the fair minded Sandsjames that I know.

Anyway, smile! Absinthe loves you! :)

TJMAC77SP
09-09-2014, 08:21 PM
I'll go so far as to admit that I try to discredit religion, and I do have many questions about the bible and its often baffling, and questionable moral guidance.

Heck, everybody knows that I am undoubtably annoying, but let me pose a thought for you to ponder.

Let's suppose your model of the universe is correct. Then, I might very well be sent from god to test your faith and tolerance.

Me, little ole Absinthe Anecdote, might very well be an instrument of the almighty; heaven sent to make your faith even stronger.

After all, the big guy is reported to work in mysterious ways, right? Maybe, just maybe, you were even sent here to save me?

Under your model of the universe, those sorts of things happen all the time, right?

The bottom line, you big lug, is that I am truly your brother, no matter how much we squabble over the Internet, right?

Don't let that fire rush to your head, cause you know who is watching, and I don't mean that Rasta-fuck moderator or the other one with the weird Viking name that nobody can spell.

Just remember, Brother Sandsjames, this "anti-theist" loves and admires you. You are a cool, yet somehow easily excitable, dude in my book.




One last thought to ponder. You respect atheists, as long as we are silent, and willing to bow before swearing to god? Hmmm, that doesn't sound like the fair minded Sandsjames that I know.

Anyway, smile! Absinthe loves you! :)

I think what he meant is that he respects the right of people to believe (or not believe in your case) but that belief shouldn't include the ridicule of the belief systems of others. I often am perplexed at the intolerance of some while preaching about intolerance.

There are a myriad of beliefs of the various religions which I find preposterous. One I believe to have been founded as a fraud. Nonetheless I respect the rights of those to practice that religion (and others) as long as others rights are not infringed upon. Hence why we seem to be in agreement regarding the oath debacle being discussed here.

sandsjames
09-09-2014, 08:46 PM
I'll go so far as to admit that I try to discredit religion, and I do have many questions about the bible and its often baffling, and questionable moral guidance.

Heck, everybody knows that I am undoubtably annoying, but let me pose a thought for you to ponder.

Let's suppose your model of the universe is correct. Then, I might very well be sent from god to test your faith and tolerance.

Me, little ole Absinthe Anecdote, might very well be an instrument of the almighty; heaven sent to make your faith even stronger.

After all, the big guy is reported to work in mysterious ways, right? Maybe, just maybe, you were even sent here to save me?

Under your model of the universe, those sorts of things happen all the time, right?

The bottom line, you big lug, is that I am truly your brother, no matter how much we squabble over the Internet, right?

Don't let that fire rush to your head, cause you know who is watching, and I don't mean that Rasta-fuck moderator or the other one with the weird Viking name that nobody can spell.

Just remember, Brother Sandsjames, this "anti-theist" loves and admires you. You are a cool, yet somehow easily excitable, dude in my book.




One last thought to ponder. You respect atheists, as long as we are silent, and willing to bow before swearing to god? Hmmm, that doesn't sound like the fair minded Sandsjames that I know.

Anyway, smile! Absinthe loves you! :)

To test me, you'd actually have to be able to say something that would make me waiver in my faith...and that's hardly the case.

And, yes, I respect the view of Atheists as long as they don't push it on me...the same way that I don't like Christians who do the same...

Now quit trying to force your religious views on me. The Constitution protects me from having to hear what you have to say about it.

...and if ANYBODY sent to you test my faith, I'd say it's pretty much the opposite of God.

Rainmaker
09-09-2014, 09:11 PM
Quit calling yourself an Atheist...you're not...you're an anti-theist. Atheists don't believe...anti-theists live discredit anyone who does.

A guy I work with is an Atheist...we were talking about the oath thing yesterday...his response was "I've said it before, I'll say it again...it doesn't matter either way. It's just words." That's an answer I can respect.

The problem now is that "Atheism" is no longer a lack of belief, it's a political movement. It's about belittling in order to make oneself sound more educated...

"Atheists" have become the new annoying Christian knocking at your door to tell you the "Good News".

Useful idiots of the Luciferian Diversity Cult that has hijacked our nation.

Rainmaker
09-09-2014, 09:33 PM
LOL

I am reminded of that Dr Seuss classic, Oh! the Places You'll Go...

Not a bad idea for an atheist comic book that explores the topic of rebirth on the molecular level.

Thanks SJ!

Chicks with bricks come.
Chicks with blocks come.
Chicks with Bricks and
blocks and clocks come.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-09-2014, 09:41 PM
To test me, you'd actually have to be able to say something that would make me waiver in my faith...and that's hardly the case.

And, yes, I respect the view of Atheists as long as they don't push it on me...the same way that I don't like Christians who do the same...

Now quit trying to force your religious views on me. The Constitution protects me from having to hear what you have to say about it.

...and if ANYBODY sent to you test my faith, I'd say it's pretty much the opposite of God.

Even Satan serves the will of God, so, if I were sent to you by way of Satan, it is still the will of God.

Also, I didn't push any views on you. I tried to comfort you with humor when you expressed concern at being judged one day for swearing oaths.

I extended my hand from the depths of hell in friendship to you. You are the one who got all huffy and started yelling about it.

Don't you think God, and his son, Jesus, have a sense of humor?

Since God is the greatest, he therefore must have the greatest since of humor. Why I bet he is up there right now chucking at us.

Plus, since he is omnipotent, he might have even took control of my brain and typed out this very post. It is possible, right? I wouldn't be able to type this if it wasn't part of his plan.

sandsjames
09-09-2014, 09:53 PM
Even Satan serves the will of God, so, if I were sent to you by way of Satan, it is still the will of God.

Also, I didn't push any views on you. I tried to comfort you with humor when you expressed concern at being judged one day for swearing oaths.

I extended my hand from the depths of hell in friendship to you. You are the one who got all huffy and started yelling about it.

Don't you think God, and his son, Jesus, have a sense of humor?

Since God is the greatest, he therefore must have the greatest since of humor. Why I bet he is up there right now chucking at us.

Plus, since he is omnipotent, he might have even took control of my brain and typed out this very post. It is possible, right? I wouldn't be able to type this if it wasn't part of his plan.

Thanks, but I don't need your help. And I don't need your patronization either.

Rainmaker
09-09-2014, 10:07 PM
Even Satan serves the will of God, so, if I were sent to you by way of Satan, it is still the will of God.

Also, I didn't push any views on you. I tried to comfort you with humor when you expressed concern at being judged one day for swearing oaths.

I extended my hand from the depths of hell in friendship to you. You are the one who got all huffy and started yelling about it.

Don't you think God, and his son, Jesus, have a sense of humor?

Since God is the greatest, he therefore must have the greatest since of humor. Why I bet he is up there right now chucking at us.

Plus, since he is omnipotent, he might have even took control of my brain and typed out this very post. It is possible, right? I wouldn't be able to type this if it wasn't part of his plan.

Ahh, the age old question of free will! What are you the devil's advocate or something? Free will exists in the race. so, Are you are operating under the law or under grace? or maybe under both? depending on the time. Infinite good is not visible to the intellect in this life. What is Grand is necessarily obscure to Weak men.

Measure Man
09-09-2014, 10:27 PM
What are you the devil's advocate or something?

The Devil's Advocate was actually an appointed position within the Catholic Church. Basically, when someone was up for Sainthood, a Devil's Advocate is appointed to try and knock holes into the character of the person and any miracle claims that lead to their nomination and generally argue against Sainthood. The Devil's Advocate is also known as The Promoter of Faith.

Opposing the Devil's Advocate, is one who argues in favor of Sainthood, he is called God's Advocate, or the Promoter of the Cause.

This process was changed in the 1980s to having just a Promoter of Justice who collects all evidence for and against and is not as much of an adversarial process...resulting in a LOT more Saints being canonized since then.

sandsjames
09-09-2014, 10:42 PM
The Devil's Advocate was actually an appointed position within the Catholic Church. Basically, when someone was up for Sainthood, a Devil's Advocate is appointed to try and knock holes into the character of the person and any miracle claims that lead to their nomination and generally argue against Sainthood. The Devil's Advocate is also known as The Promoter of Faith.

Opposing the Devil's Advocate, is one who argues in favor of Sainthood, he is called God's Advocate, or the Promoter of the Cause.

This process was changed in the 1980s to having just a Promoter of Justice who collects all evidence for and against and is not as much of an adversarial process...resulting in a LOT more Saints being canonized since then.

Gotta love how a religion that claims God is the only judge claims to have the ability to say when someone is for sure getting into heaven.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-10-2014, 12:35 AM
Gotta love how a religion that claims God is the only judge claims to have the ability to say when someone is for sure getting into heaven.

SJ,

I really want to drop this, but I'm having trouble taking the high road, and being first to let go.

You just made a very snide anti-Catholic remark, yet you blew your stack at me for making a joke about judgement day and hell?

WTF?

I'll admit to running wild with my shtick once I saw your reaction.

But you went off on me, and all atheists for trying to make believers look stupid, just because I cracked a joke.

However, it is ok for you as a Protestant, to slam the Catholic Church for picking saints.

Tsk, Tsk ...

I might be an "anti-theist" as you called me, but aren't you against every other belief system, but your own?

I still love you as a fellow human, but I'm very disappointed in you.

sandsjames
09-10-2014, 01:09 AM
SJ,

I really want to drop this, but I'm having trouble taking the high road, and being first to let go.

You just made a very snide anti-Catholic remark, yet you blew your stack at me for making a joke about judgement day and hell?

WTF?

I'll admit to running wild with my shtick once I saw your reaction.

But you went off on me, and all atheists for trying to make believers look stupid, just because I cracked a joke.

However, it is ok for you as a Protestant, to slam the Catholic Church for picking saints. Nope...it's not ok for me to do.

Second...I'm not a Protestant...I'm a non-denominational Christian. There are things about every denomination that I disagree with.

The difference between what I did and you did is this. You're response was a direct response to an answer I gave to a question. My statement about Catholic beliefs (even though I am wrong to say what's right and wrong) was a general statement.

I'll also make statements about all other denominations, if you'd like...because none of them are any better than any others...including my own.




I might be an "anti-theist" as you called me, but aren't you against every other belief system, but your own? Nope...not against any of them. I would never protest the Catholic Church sainting someone. I would never tell them they shouldn't believe that way. I'd never tell them that their belief system is a Fairy Tale.



I still love you as a fellow human, but I'm very disappointed in you.This is the type of condescending statements you make that make you annoying. Not annoying in a way that drives me crazy...but in a way that makes me pity you...because I know that it's not just on here you talk to people in this manner. What's funny is you're doing it in a patronizing way but you don't think others know you are doing it way...so really the joke is on you.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-10-2014, 01:24 AM
Ahh, the age old question of free will! What are you the devil's advocate or something?

Perhaps I am, I'm not really sure. Even when I tried to be a believer, I had so many questions, and doubts. Studying the bible and going to church only made them grow stronger.

If I am wrong, and there is a god, perhaps I was put here to question faith. Perhaps I do exist only to be hell bound.

If the prophecies are indeed holy, then people like me must exist so they will be fulfilled. You can tell me that I have a choice, but do I?

Besides, I've already blasphemed so much that I stand a snowballs chance in hell of ever getting into heaven.





Free will exists in the race. so, Are you are operating under the law or under grace? or maybe under both? depending on the time. Infinite good is not visible to the intellect in this life. What is Grand is necessarily obscure to Weak men.

On worldly topics, you like to style yourself as a shrewd operator. On government healthcare the other day, you claimed to be able to see through the haze of political smokes screens to see big pharmaceutical companies pulling the strings.

Yet on spiritual matters, you readily accept some patter about not being able to see infinite good from this life.

How is a nonsensical statement like that, any different from Nancy Pelosi saying, "We have to pass it, to see what's in it" ?

If you guys are right, then there has to be guys like me, mere pawns that are destined for hell. As a matter of fact, you should send me money so I can enjoy what little time I have left before I have to go spend an eternity in hell suffering.

After all, I'm going to be doing all of god's real dirty work in hell with no days off, so show a little respect and toss some cash my way.

Nomsaying?

Absinthe Anecdote
09-10-2014, 02:28 AM
Nope...it's not ok for me to do.

Second...I'm not a Protestant...I'm a non-denominational Christian. There are things about every denomination that I disagree with.

You seem to be confused as to what a Protestant is. You've described your beliefs to me before, and the label that would best fit you is a non-denominal Protestant. Your particular style of Christianity has its roots in the Protestant movement, whether you know it, or not. There are a lot of people that cobble together their own belief system with little regard to scripture, or doctrine. You're in good company, so don't worry.




The difference between what I did and you did is this. You're response was a direct response to an answer I gave to a question. My statement about Catholic beliefs (even though I am wrong to say what's right and wrong) was a general statement.

I'll also make statements about all other denominations, if you'd like...because none of them are any better than any others...including my own.

I know what happened. I cracked a joke, and then you threw a hissy fit, saying that atheists like to make Christians look stupid. Then a few posts later, there you are, implying that Catholics, a major division of Christianity, are stupid for picking saints.






This is the type of condescending statements you make that make you annoying. Not annoying in a way that drives me crazy...but in a way that makes me pity you...because I know that it's not just on here you talk to people in this manner. What's funny is you're doing it in a patronizing way but you don't think others know you are doing it way...so really the joke is on you.

Are you trying to be more condescending than me here? I think so.

Max Power
09-10-2014, 03:53 AM
This is the only Jesus you should worship.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-9/10665116_10202395756167061_2827388515714533214_n.j pg?oh=2031bd096a7faf8068528f2ce889f7c1&oe=549F6EDF&__gda__=1419153034_15703109e81a3d38062b8075260a001 3

jpeters
09-10-2014, 06:16 AM
Should the guy have to say "So help me God"? In my opinion no. But sometimes you have to play the game. I would be willing to bet the wasn't at work during all those holidays that we get off for a God he doesn't believe in. They are just words to me. If it's something I have to say every five or six years to make sure I'm taken care of...whatever. Should it be changed back to the way it was? Absolutely! Just take care of yourself first. Say the four words and now you have however long you just reenlisted for to fight this fight. The way things are going now, the Air Force is looking for any reason to boot you. There are BS rules and standards at any job. I'm curious to see who caves first.

technomage1
09-10-2014, 09:26 AM
Should the guy have to say "So help me God"? In my opinion no. But sometimes you have to play the game. I would be willing to bet the wasn't at work during all those holidays that we get off for a God he doesn't believe in. They are just words to me. If it's something I have to say every five or six years to make sure I'm taken care of...whatever. Should it be changed back to the way it was? Absolutely! Just take care of yourself first. Say the four words and now you have however long you just reenlisted for to fight this fight. The way things are going now, the Air Force is looking for any reason to boot you. There are BS rules and standards at any job. I'm curious to see who caves first.

First...I usually work the holidays so someone who does believe in them can have them off. I get equivalent time off some other time so all is even. About the only holiday we get off for belief is Christmas, so it's not a big deal. Second...as I've noted before not offering a secular oath violates the constitution you're swearing to protect and defend in the oath. If you take your oath that lightly then that's on you, but when I affirm I am giving my word. That is something I take seriously. If it's just words to you where does it end? Do you sometimes follow orders? Maybe when you feel like it?

On a practical level I do see where you are coming from...but I do feel this is an important issue worth fighting for. If it went to court, there is no doubt the airmen being denied re-enlistment would win. It's that clear. Sometimes you need to take a stand for what you believe in - in this case, our secular constitution.

sandsjames
09-10-2014, 11:33 AM
You seem to be confused as to what a Protestant is. You've described your beliefs to me before, and the label that would best fit you is a non-denominal Protestant. Your particular style of Christianity has its roots in the Protestant movement, whether you know it, or not. There are a lot of people that cobble together their own belief system with little regard to scripture, or doctrine. You're in good company, so don't worry. I'm not confused as to what a Protestant is at all. However, I am not a Protestant. I am a Christian...there are parts of all Christian denominations that I agree with...Catholicism has many ideas that I believe in...as do all of the Protestant denominations...I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and was sent to save us and that as long as I believe that then I have a chance at being saved. All the other stuff is, IMO, whether right or wrong, all created by the different religions because men with a thirst for power are unable to properly run a church without trying to make it their own.




I know what happened. I cracked a joke, and then you threw a hissy fit, saying that atheists like to make Christians look stupid. Then a few posts later, there you are, implying that Catholics, a major division of Christianity, are stupid for picking saints. I don't know if they are stupid or not for doing it...Just doesn't seem right from my interpretation of the bible.





Are you trying to be more condescending than me here? I think so.

I couldn't be more condescending than you, sport. You're the best at it boss. Keep up the good work.

TJMAC77SP
09-10-2014, 04:23 PM
I have seen the Constitution mentioned several times in this thread. I think some are adding some text to the document that just isn't there. Just like some religious people will talk about how the Constitution evokes the Creator (and are wrong) anti-religious people seem to think the Constitution prohibits religion completely in any government organ. That isn't true either. The SCOTUS has ruled many times that some religious 'trappings' for lack of a better word is permitted. Specifically for example religious invocations at public meetings. The First Amendment and its' Establishment Clause are somewhat vague when attempting to invoke for a very specific purpose not exactly on point.

Personally I am against anyone being forced to invoke even a non-specific, unnamed deity if they believe there is no such person or thing at all but I fear if this ends up in the SCOTUS it isn't a slam dunk case. I certainly think using the Constitution, specifically the First Amendment as the sole pillar of such a case will definitely weaken the argument.

Of course, I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night so I could be fully of shyte.

MikeKerriii
09-10-2014, 04:33 PM
Should the guy have to say "So help me God"? In my opinion no. But sometimes you have to play the game. I would be willing to bet the wasn't at work during all those holidays that we get off for a God he doesn't believe in. They are just words to me. If it's something I have to say every five or six years to make sure I'm taken care of...whatever. Should it be changed back to the way it was? Absolutely! Just take care of yourself first. Say the four words and now you have however long you just reenlisted for to fight this fight. The way things are going now, the Air Force is looking for any reason to boot you. There are BS rules and standards at any job. I'm curious to see who caves first.

So the correct answer any moral question is to do the immoral and unlawful and act then complain after it is too late?

Please don't every take a postion of trust, your willingness to lie even on your enlistment oath and advocate taht others do the same is scary

Who was the dumb bigot that signed the AFI?

Rainmaker
09-10-2014, 04:56 PM
Perhaps I am, I'm not really sure. Even when I tried to be a believer, I had so many questions, and doubts. Studying the bible and going to church only made them grow stronger.

If I am wrong, and there is a god, perhaps I was put here to question faith. Perhaps I do exist only to be hell bound.

If the prophecies are indeed holy, then people like me must exist so they will be fulfilled. You can tell me that I have a choice, but do I?

Besides, I've already blasphemed so much that I stand a snowballs chance in hell of ever getting into heaven.



On worldly topics, you like to style yourself as a shrewd operator. On government healthcare the other day, you claimed to be able to see through the haze of political smokes screens to see big pharmaceutical companies pulling the strings.

Yet on spiritual matters, you readily accept some patter about not being able to see infinite good from this life.

How is a nonsensical statement like that, any different from Nancy Pelosi saying, "We have to pass it, to see what's in it" ?

If you guys are right, then there has to be guys like me, mere pawns that are destined for hell. As a matter of fact, you should send me money so I can enjoy what little time I have left before I have to go spend an eternity in hell suffering.

After all, I'm going to be doing all of god's real dirty work in hell with no days off, so show a little respect and toss some cash my way.

Nomsaying?

The existence or non-existence of God can't be proven. So, who would Rainmaker be to say you're going to hell? In the beginning God gave Man the truth. Then man went and created religion.

Now Rainmaker's personal belief system (formed over the last 45 years of trial and error) is that there is a God and we are intelligently designed (created)

But, Rainmaker doesn't believe any of the characters in the Bible ever actually walked the face of the Earth. When you open the bible what you are reading is salvation history not secular history. Written to the soul of man. In Rainmaker's opinion. It is fiction. But, it is true.

Bottom line is this. Rainmaker choses to believe in God because he is happier believing than not believing. Just as you are Happier not believing than believing. Free will. Gnomesayin?

Bourne
09-10-2014, 07:51 PM
I appreciate the attempts to squash the beef, let's get this thread back on track:

Earlier a comment was made that the Air Force is following the law, but Congress is to blame.

I ripped the following directly from one of the Facebook comments on Air Force Times, so it could be inaccurate, but it cites other law that specifically address a case where a religious test is required, and provides that affirmations are allowable in those instances. If this is true and accurate, it may indeed be the Air Force that needs to revise policy.

From: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/09/08/should-atheists-who-refuse-to-say-so-help-me-god-be-excluded-from-the-air-force/

A. First, the Religious Test Clause — “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” — might well cover this.

B. Beyond this, the First Amendment more broadly bars the government from excluding atheists from positions because of their atheism, as the Court unanimously held in Torcaso v. Watkins (1961).

C. Moreover, the Constitution itself always provides that affirmations are always adequate substitute to the oaths that it requires. “When [the Senate is] sitting for [the] Purpose [of trying an impeachment], they shall be on Oath or Affirmation.” “Before [the President] enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: — ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that ….’” (President Franklin Pierce took an affirmation of office rather than an oath of office.) “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” “[N]o Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation.”

Sorry if this is essentially a double post.

sandsjames
09-10-2014, 09:15 PM
I appreciate the attempts to squash the beef, let's get this thread back on track:

Earlier a comment was made that the Air Force is following the law, but Congress is to blame.

I ripped the following directly from one of the Facebook comments on Air Force Times, so it could be inaccurate, but it cites other law that specifically address a case where a religious test is required, and provides that affirmations are allowable in those instances. If this is true and accurate, it may indeed be the Air Force that needs to revise policy.

From: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/09/08/should-atheists-who-refuse-to-say-so-help-me-god-be-excluded-from-the-air-force/

A. First, the Religious Test Clause — “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” — might well cover this.

B. Beyond this, the First Amendment more broadly bars the government from excluding atheists from positions because of their atheism, as the Court unanimously held in Torcaso v. Watkins (1961).

C. Moreover, the Constitution itself always provides that affirmations are always adequate substitute to the oaths that it requires. “When [the Senate is] sitting for [the] Purpose [of trying an impeachment], they shall be on Oath or Affirmation.” “Before [the President] enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: — ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that ….’” (President Franklin Pierce took an affirmation of office rather than an oath of office.) “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” “[N]o Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation.”

Sorry if this is essentially a double post.

Thanks for getting this back on track. This thread was going well and, unusually, everyone was pretty much in agreement for a change. Then someone had to start trolling. I won't call anyone out...I'll only say that, if using initials, they'd be first alphabetically.

technomage1
09-10-2014, 10:25 PM
I have seen the Constitution mentioned several times in this thread. I think some are adding some text to the document that just isn't there. Just like some religious people will talk about how the Constitution evokes the Creator (and are wrong) anti-religious people seem to think the Constitution prohibits religion completely in any government organ. That isn't true either. The SCOTUS has ruled many times that some religious 'trappings' for lack of a better word is permitted. Specifically for example religious invocations at public meetings. The First Amendment and its' Establishment Clause are somewhat vague when attempting to invoke for a very specific purpose not exactly on point.

Personally I am against anyone being forced to invoke even a non-specific, unnamed deity if they believe there is no such person or thing at all but I fear if this ends up in the SCOTUS it isn't a slam dunk case. I certainly think using the Constitution, specifically the First Amendment as the sole pillar of such a case will definitely weaken the argument.

Of course, I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night so I could be fully of shyte.

From article 6 "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States".

This is why it's a slam dunk case.

TJMAC77SP
09-11-2014, 04:33 AM
From article 6 "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States".

This is why it's a slam dunk case.

No, not actually. If the SCOTUS rules that saying the words "so help me God" is a religious test than yes but I hardly think it rises to the level of slam dunk.

What religion does the test affirm the oath taker is an adherent to?

technomage1
09-11-2014, 07:18 AM
No, not actually. If the SCOTUS rules that saying the words "so help me God" is a religious test than yes but I hardly think it rises to the level of slam dunk.

What religion does the test affirm the oath taker is an adherent to?

By default it's one that believes in a god...neatly excluding atheists...therefore making it a religious test.

Rusty Jones
09-11-2014, 12:07 PM
I'm an atheist who swore into the Air Force Reserve two weeks ago, did the full oath - "so help me "God" and everything.

Not that I actually believe in God or anything, but I'm also not the type that's going to brush it off "I'm an atheist and I said, so just go ahead and say it or get the fuck out!"

Probably the only reason I had no problem with saying it was because I was put through so much hell trying to get into the reserves (the run-around that the Navy Reserve and Army National Guard put me through, my first AFR recruiter sending me to MEPS without having projected me, my consult that took a month to clear after my second trip, my physical being lost for three weeks after the consult came back, etc, etc), I just wanted to get it done and over with.

The reason I had no problem saying it while reenlisting on active duty in the Navy is because, frankly, I never wanted to stay in past my first term anyway: my wives (I'm on my second marriage) "made" me reenlist. I actually had to give my current wife the finger (figuratively) when she told me to stay in the Navy before I got out. That said, saying "so help me God" was just another thing I didn't want to do, on top of the major thing I was doing that I didn't want to do - so that part of the oath was the least of my concerns.

In the latest article that came out, his ETS date is in November - and he has until then to swear the oath as it is or get out. I feel for the guy, but only up until the point that he got the media involved. Because he could have caved, and just swore that oath so he could stay in. Now he can't - because if he does, not only will he look bad in front of the whole nation; but he will have shit on everyone who supported him. Getting the media involved was the worst mistake he could have made.

Stalwart
09-11-2014, 12:39 PM
Rusty Jones

Were you not given the option of omitting the "so help me God" part? I have reenlisted about 2 dozen people and always have asked if they wanted it. Just curious.

BT BT

Congrats on swearing back in to the Reserves and the weight loss. BZ

Rusty Jones
09-11-2014, 12:44 PM
@Rusty_Jones

Were you not given the option of omitting the "so help me God" part? I have reenlisted about 2 dozen people and always have asked if they wanted it. Just curious.

BT BT

Congrats on swearing back in to the Reserves and the weight loss. BZ

No, I wasn't given the option. And that's okay. At least it is for me. The way I see it, if the oath was meant to say that the belief in God or adherance to the common denominator values of the Abrahamic faiths were enforceable under the UMCJ, then I might think twice before swearing the oath. For the most part, I'm a "don't sweat the small stuff" kind of guy.

TJMAC77SP
09-11-2014, 02:48 PM
By default it's one that believes in a god...neatly excluding atheists...therefore making it a religious test.

Not sure that rises to the level of a test, particularly given the root of why that clause is in the Constitution but it seems a bit reminiscent to relieving oneself into a headwind to argue what a group of nine people (or someone else) may or may not do so I guess we can just wait and see.

jpeters
09-11-2014, 03:51 PM
So the correct answer any moral question is to do the immoral and unlawful and act then complain after it is too late?

Please don't every take a postion of trust, your willingness to lie even on your enlistment oath and advocate taht others do the same is scary

Who was the dumb bigot that signed the AFI?

The last time I checked if it’s an AFI then it’s kind of a rule. So I do not understand how saying four words makes me immoral or advocating people lie and do unlawful things. For someone that doesn’t believe in God they are just words. No different than going along with Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. So what you’re saying is its ok for people not to follow rules as long as there is a big enough following out there to make it a news worthy story.
And who are you to decide that your ways and decisions are better than mine? Who is the bigot now?

TJMAC77SP
09-11-2014, 03:56 PM
The last time I checked if it’s an AFI then it’s kind of a rule. So I do not understand how saying four words makes me immoral or advocating people lie and do unlawful things. For someone that doesn’t believe in God they are just words. No different than going along with Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. So what you’re saying is its ok for people not to follow rules as long as there is a big enough following out there to make it a news worthy story.
And who are you to decide that your ways and decisions are better than mine? Who is the bigot now?

Someone raised a point similar to this earlier and it got me thinking. If you don't believe in any deity what exactly is the moral harm done in 'swearing' to such a non-existent being?

Not trying to stir the shitpot but it seems a paradox of logic.

sandsjames
09-11-2014, 04:13 PM
Someone raised a point similar to this earlier and it got me thinking. If you don't believe in any deity what exactly is the moral harm done in 'swearing' to such a non-existent being?

Not trying to stir the shitpot but it seems a paradox of logic.

Because it's not about saying the words...it's about being an activist...which everyone feels the need to do.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think those words should be in the oath, at all. I could see someone from a non-Abrahamic religion having a much bigger issue saying the words than an Atheist. But an anti-theist activist has nothing better to do than draw attention.

edit: Something else to add here. This was a reenlistment, not an initial enlistment...so this guy has said it before. What's changed?

Measure Man
09-11-2014, 05:27 PM
edit: Something else to add here. This was a reenlistment, not an initial enlistment...so this guy has said it before. What's changed?

The AFI is what changed...prior to last year the words were optional.

sandsjames
09-11-2014, 05:28 PM
The AFI is what changed...prior to last year the words were optional.Of course....

Absinthe Anecdote
09-11-2014, 07:41 PM
Someone raised a point similar to this earlier and it got me thinking. If you don't believe in any deity what exactly is the moral harm done in 'swearing' to such a non-existent being?

Not trying to stir the shitpot but it seems a paradox of logic.

Would you take an oath that ended in the phrase, "I'm a bitch" ?

If you know you are not really a bitch, then why should you mind falsely proclaiming your bitchdom?

Seriously, there is an element of pride to the question. I don't won't to be made to bow to someone else's god.

Would you want to bow to those stone heads, the Moai, on Easter Island, or swear an oath to them?

TJMAC77SP
09-11-2014, 08:04 PM
Would you take an oath that ended in the phrase, "I'm a bitch" ?

If you know you are not really a bitch, then why should you mind falsely proclaiming your bitchdom?

Seriously, there is an element of pride to the question. I don't won't to be made to bow to someone else's god.

Would you want to bow to those stone heads, the Moai, on Easter Island, or swear an oath to them?

So it is a matter of principle and pride?

Alternatively why take an oath? There is no legal ramification for violating the oath by itself. There is of course ramifications for not adhering to it but the violations themselves are found in US law and the UCMJ.

sandsjames
09-11-2014, 08:07 PM
Would you take an oath that ended in the phrase, "I'm a bitch" ? Or recite a "creed" where I, and 10s of thousands of others in the Air Force, know that we've never been in combat or in any sort of danger at all, but still refer to ourselves over and over as warriors? I did it several times because it was an NCOA requirement.


Seriously, there is an element of pride to the question. I don't won't to be made to bow to someone else's god.

I see it more as laughing in the face of someone else's God...which should really make "Atheists" feel pretty happy.

USN - Retired
09-11-2014, 09:15 PM
Would you take an oath that ended in the phrase, "I'm a bitch" ?


Sure, as long as you offer me enough money.


Seriously, there is an element of pride to the question. I don't won't to be made to bow to someone else's god.

Even if someone offers you a million dollars?


Would you want to bow to those stone heads, the Moai, on Easter Island, or swear an oath to them?

Again, how much money are you offering me?

Absinthe Anecdote
09-11-2014, 09:17 PM
So it is a matter of principle and pride?


Not entirely, but there is that element to it, at least for me. I think this country is above making people say, "so help me god"

That is the kind of crap those idiots in ISIS, and the fucking Taliban do, except they will go the extra mile and cut your head off.

At present, the Air Force just won't let you serve.

Damn right, there is a matter of principle to it, sounds like a religious test to me.

Would you really be okay with swearing an oath to the Moai?

Some of us are really conflicted about god; on the off chance he does exist, and all those stories in the Old Testament are true, I don't think he deserves to be worshiped.

Besides, just how far does it go? What if someone decides, "so help me god" is not enough, and they want you to get on your knees, or wear a special hat, or impose dietary restrictions, or any other of the goofy things done in the name of god?

Are you going along with that?




Alternatively why take an oath? There is no legal ramification for violating the oath by itself. There is of course ramifications for not adhering to it but the violations themselves are found in US law and the UCMJ.

Okay, so what's your point? Sounds like a non sequitur to the exchange at hand, or are you just adding that to the discussion?

sandsjames
09-11-2014, 10:00 PM
Would you really be okay with swearing an oath to the Moai?



I don't think the oath is being sworn to God...actually I'm pretty sure that it's not. The way it's written it's merely asking God for help in fulfilling the oath...hence the "So help me God" and not "I swear to God".

And I really hope that you don't ever use the phrase "God Dammit" as you are asking God to damn something for you...and you don't believe in God, so that must be a conflict within yourself when you say it. Unless you realize that it's just a phrase...a common phrase...and completely disregard the meaning behind it. But you wouldn't do that, because of principle and pride.

I realize you are ignoring me right now...which is probably best in this case as you can't possibly have a logical response to it.

TJMAC77SP
09-11-2014, 10:22 PM
Not entirely, but there is that element to it, at least for me. I think this country is above making people say, "so help me god"

That is the kind of crap those idiots in ISIS, and the fucking Taliban do, except they will go the extra mile and cut your head off.

At present, the Air Force just won't let you serve.

Damn right, there is a matter of principle to it, sounds like a religious test to me.

Would you really be okay with swearing an oath to the Moai?

Some of us are really conflicted about god; on the off chance he does exist, and all those stories in the Old Testament are true, I don't think he deserves to be worshiped.

Besides, just how far does it go? What if someone decides, "so help me god" is not enough, and they want you to get on your knees, or wear a special hat, or impose dietary restrictions, or any other of the goofy things done in the name of god?

Are you going along with that?




Okay, so what's your point? Sounds like a non sequitur to the exchange at hand, or are you just adding that to the discussion?

If I were an adherent to the faith that those statues were raised to then they would be my God(s) wouldn't they? If so, wouldn't swearing an oath to a non-specific God fit in with my beliefs?

I think the only group that has any real dog in this fight would be true atheists.

How doesn't my last question not follow the logic train of this discussion? An oath is a simple promise. Can someone (say someone enlisting or reenlisting in the military) not be held to US laws and the UCMJ if they don't swear (or affirm) the oath of enlistment? It is really the reenlistment paperwork (that you sign each and every time you enlist/reenlist) that legally binds someone so why the verbal oath at all?

TJMAC77SP
09-11-2014, 10:27 PM
I don't think the oath is being sworn to God...actually I'm pretty sure that it's not. The way it's written it's merely asking God for help in fulfilling the oath...hence the "So help me God" and not "I swear to God".

And I really hope that you don't ever use the phrase "God Dammit" as you are asking God to damn something for you...and you don't believe in God, so that must be a conflict within yourself when you say it. Unless you realize that it's just a phrase...a common phrase...and completely disregard the meaning behind it. But you wouldn't do that, because of principle and pride.

I realize you are ignoring me right now...which is probably best in this case as you can't possibly have a logical response to it.

That is an interesting read of the words and probably more to the point of the original meaning since you swear or affirm at the beginning of the oath which states your promise to adhere to the aspects of the oath.

Now my brain hurts.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-12-2014, 12:27 AM
I don't think the oath is being sworn to God...actually I'm pretty sure that it's not. The way it's written it's merely asking God for help in fulfilling the oath...hence the "So help me God" and not "I swear to God".


Okay then, would you really like to be forced to say, "So help me Moai" as a condition to serve in the Air Force?

I'm guessing that at the very least, you'd find it ridiculous to have to ask for the Moai's help as a condition of your service.

Some people view asking for god's help as a prayer, so that stipulation to an atheist is forced prayer.

Of course, you don't object to "so help me god" but what if it was something you did object to?




And I really hope that you don't ever use the phrase "God Dammit" as you are asking God to damn something for you...and you don't believe in God, so that must be a conflict within yourself when you say it. Unless you realize that it's just a phrase...a common phrase...and completely disregard the meaning behind it. But you wouldn't do that, because of principle and pride.



Are we talking about random cursing, or something the government is making me say as a condition of serving the nation?



I realize you are ignoring me right now...which is probably best in this case as you can't possibly have a logical response to it.

How sweet! You got jealous because I responded to TJ first.

Don't worry sugarplum, I was just busy, you don't have to get your precious little self upset. I just didn't have time to talk you both.

Sometimes little SJ has to wait his turn and be a big boy.

Don't worry, I'm not ignoring you!

Absinthe Anecdote
09-12-2014, 12:41 AM
If I were an adherent to the faith that those statues were raised to then they would be my God(s) wouldn't they? If so, wouldn't swearing an oath to a non-specific God fit in with my beliefs?

I think the only group that has any real dog in this fight would be true atheists.


You changed my hypothetical... The point I was trying to illustrate was being forced to do something under a god that wasn't your god. Don't try to make the claim that the god in the oath is generic, because it isn't.

You would not want to have to ask for the Moai's help as a condition of your service, would you?

Some people put all gods in the same category as leprechauns, water sprites, stone idols, and the god of Abraham.



How doesn't my last question not follow the logic train of this discussion? An oath is a simple promise. Can someone (say someone enlisting or reenlisting in the military) not be held to US laws and the UCMJ if they don't swear (or affirm) the oath of enlistment? It is really the reenlistment paperwork (that you sign each and every time you enlist/reenlist) that legally binds someone so why the verbal oath at all?

Sorry, I misunderstood you.

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 12:45 AM
Okay then, would you really like to be forced to say, "So help me Moai" as a condition to serve in the Air Force?

I'm guessing that at the very least, you'd find it ridiculous to have to ask for the Moai's help as a condition of your service.

Some people view asking for god's help as a prayer, so that stipulation to an atheist is forced prayer.

Of course, you don't object to "so help me god" but what if it was something you did object to? I've already said several times that "so help me God" needs to be removed. I object to it as it is. At the same time, I think that people have been saying it for many years (even you once or twice during your career, I'd bet) without any dissention. I realize that it was optional before last year (and I can't fathom why they would change it now) but were you ever asked about the option? Were you ever given the option? Or did you just recite it as is (and sign your name next to it on the form)?




Are we talking about random cursing, or something the government is making me say as a condition of serving the nation? Doesn't matter. Why would you invoke God's name at all if you don't believe?




How sweet! You got jealous because I responded to TJ first.

Don't worry sugarplum, I was just busy, you don't have to get your precious little self upset. I just didn't have time to talk you both. Actually, I made the comment because you posted on the previous page that you wanted to let this conversation die. But, yes, very jealous. As jealous as I was when I volunteered to work as a "hugger" at the Special Olympics and one of the kids ran up and hugged the other guy first.

TJMAC77SP
09-12-2014, 01:55 AM
You changed my hypothetical... The point I was trying toillustrate was being forced to do something under a god that wasn't your god.Don't try to make the claim that the god in the oath is generic, because itisn't.

You would not want to have to ask for the Moai's help as a condition of yourservice, would you?

Some people put all gods in the same category as leprechauns, water sprites,stone idols, and the god of Abraham………...

How did I change your hypothetical? Although the moai were not exactly representative of deities in the strictest sense I assume that is what you were alluding to. If I were a worshiper of the moai and considered them my God(s) wouldn’t that be who I was referencing when I said the words “so help me God”?

How is it not a generic reference? Of course it can be assumed it was written by a Christian but surely that isn’t your acid test for what is intended when everyone says those words. If so, wouldn’t the writer(s) have written “so help me Jesus”?

As I said,only the true atheists have any real dog in this fight so of course I get the leprechauns, water sprites etc but let’s not try to include everyone not an adherent to Christianity in this argument.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-12-2014, 02:57 AM
How did I change your hypothetical? Although the moai were not exactly representative of deities in the strictest sense I assume that is what you were alluding to. If I were a worshiper of the moai and considered them my God(s) wouldn’t that be who I was referencing when I said the words “so help me God”?


I asked you, what if the oath said, "so help me Moai" not what if the Moai were your gods.




How is it not a generic reference? Of course it can be assumed it was written by a Christian but surely that isn’t your acid test for what is intended when everyone says those words. If so, wouldn’t the writer(s) have written “so help me Jesus”?

Come on dude, you know damn well it refers to the God of Abraham. Since we both agree that it shouldn't be mandatory, why in the blue fuck are we squabbling over each other's posts?


As I said,only the true atheists have any real dog in this fight so of course I get the leprechauns, water sprites etc but let’s not try to include everyone not an adherent to Christianity in this argument.

Not really, there are even Christian denominations who don't swear oaths based on Matthew 5:34, but since they could supposedly affirm the first part, and then merely ask for god's help, I guess that might be alright.

Regardless, it sets a precedence for a religious test, that's not a good thing in my opinion.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-12-2014, 03:26 AM
I've already said several times that "so help me God" needs to be removed. I object to it as it is. At the same time, I think that people have been saying it for many years (even you once or twice during your career, I'd bet) without any dissention. I realize that it was optional before last year (and I can't fathom why they would change it now) but were you ever asked about the option? Were you ever given the option? Or did you just recite it as is (and sign your name next to it on the form)?



See post #27...




Doesn't matter. Why would you invoke God's name at all if you don't believe?

In the case of me saying "god damn" in response to hitting my thumb with a hammer, because it is a merely a colloquialism and not an actual request of god.

TJMAC77SP
09-12-2014, 03:40 AM
I asked you, what if the oath said, "so help me Moai" not what if the Moai were your gods.




Come on dude, you know damn well it refers to the God of Abraham. Since we both agree that it shouldn't be mandatory, why in the blue fuck are we squabbling over each other's posts?


Not really, there are even Christian denominations who don't swear oaths based on Matthew 5:34, but since they could supposedly affirm the first part, and then merely ask for god's help, I guess that might be alright.

Regardless, it sets a precedence for a religious test, that's not a good thing in my opinion.

I agree it shouldn't be mandatory. I don't view it as a religious test. Certainly not the kind the establishment clause of the first amendment was written for.

Why would someone take an oath mentioning something not a deity? So your hypothetical could be replaced with any word....flapjacks? If that is the case I don't understand how your hypothetical is relevant since we are discussing making the oath some kind of 'religious test'

You seem to be getting upset so we can leave it there (agreeing the law and AFI needs to change) if you wish.

MikeKerriii
09-12-2014, 09:55 AM
I don't think the oath is being sworn to God...actually I'm pretty sure that it's not. The way it's written it's merely asking God for help in fulfilling the oath...hence the "So help me God" and not "I swear to God".

And I really hope that you don't ever use the phrase "God Dammit" as you are asking God to damn something for you...and you don't believe in God, so that must be a conflict within yourself when you say it. Unless you realize that it's just a phrase...a common phrase...and completely disregard the meaning behind it. But you wouldn't do that, because of principle and pride.

I realize you are ignoring me right now...which is probably best in this case as you can't possibly have a logical response to it.

I have used God Dammit as a expletive, but it no more an endorsement in the beif in of god than saying someone is having a incestous sexual relationship with their canine mother , a rather common phrase more u when more rudly put, is saying that that is happening

MikeKerriii
09-12-2014, 09:59 AM
The last time I checked if it’s an AFI then it’s kind of a rule. So I do not understand how saying four words makes me immoral or advocating people lie and do unlawful things. For someone that doesn’t believe in God they are just words. No different than going along with Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. So what you’re saying is its ok for people not to follow rules as long as there is a big enough following out there to make it a news worthy story.
And who are you to decide that your ways and decisions are better than mine? Who is the bigot now?

You want people to lie on their oath, and if a AFI openly conflicts with the Constitution it is unlawful to enforce it. itis also a violation of your oath to defend the Constitution

MikeKerriii
09-12-2014, 10:01 AM
So it is a matter of principle and pride?

Alternatively why take an oath? There is no legal ramification for violating the oath by itself. There is of course ramifications for not adhering to it but the violations themselves are found in US law and the UCMJ.

Oaths are all about Principle and pride, otherwise they are completely meaningless

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 11:17 AM
Oaths are all about Principle and pride, otherwise they are completely meaningless

I'm glad to know that you've never done anything that might contradict that oath...never disobeyed an order or violated any aspect of the UCMJ.

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 11:25 AM
See post #27... Doesn't say anything about your signature on the actual form that has the written oath...the part that actually matters. I'm guessing that you probably never read what was written on that piece of paper. I know I never did...hell...I don't even remember if the oath is on the paper. It's something I signed because it was a requirement to reenlist. Almost like clicking on a user agreement on the computer.




In the case of me saying "god damn" in response to hitting my thumb with a hammer, because it is a merely a colloquialism and not an actual request of god.Right...and to many...saying "So help me God" at the end of an oath is equal to a colloquialism...until they decide to become an anti-theist activist.

It will be interesting when 4 years from now there are no Atheists joining or reenlisting because of principle. Oh...wait...a large majority of people will continue to say it. Especially since they already have been over the last couple years without any complaints.

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 11:27 AM
Oaths are all about Principle and pride, otherwise they are completely meaningless

Oaths are a freakin' joke. Oaths are a condition of enlistment. A person who is going to adhere to an oath is a person who doesn't need the oath. It's merely a formality.

TJMAC77SP
09-12-2014, 01:49 PM
I have used God Dammit as a expletive, but it no more an endorsement in the beif in of god than saying someone is having a incestous sexual relationship with their canine mother , a rather common phrase more u when more rudly put, is saying that that is happening

Arguing strictly as the devil's advocate wouldn't saying "so help me God" be on par with saying Goddammit?

Absinthe Anecdote
09-12-2014, 02:44 PM
Arguing strictly as the devil's advocate wouldn't saying "so help me God" be on par with saying Goddammit?

His explanation is right there in the post you just quoted.

What more do you want?

Measure Man
09-12-2014, 02:59 PM
A person who is going to adhere to an oath is a person who doesn't need the oath.

I like that. 60 points!

TJMAC77SP
09-12-2014, 03:12 PM
His explanation is right there in the post you just quoted.

What more do you want?

I don't 'want' anything. It just seems that if someone were to commonly use the phrase Goddammit in their everyday speech they lose the moral high ground when balking at invoking God's name in an oath.

How about you.........do you use the word 'Goddamit'?

I use it all the time.

MikeKerriii
09-12-2014, 04:04 PM
Arguing strictly as the devil's advocate wouldn't saying "so help me God" be on par with saying Goddammit?

No since one is angry expletive and the other a solemn promise that might take your death to fulfill

You can't see the difference?

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 04:10 PM
No since one is angry expletive and the other a solemn promise that might take your death to fulfill

You can't see the difference?

While still in, I saluted the flag on a regular basis. Completely against my religious beliefs. Does that mean we should rewrite the law so that people can choose not to salute?

TJMAC77SP
09-12-2014, 04:14 PM
No since one is angry expletive and the other a solemn promise that might take your death to fulfill

You can't see the difference?

I see the semantic difference but why does it matter? I feel that if the principle of the matter is so serious to an individual that they would endanger their continued service to their country then they would surely exercise the same verbal selection in their curses.

Don't you see the circular argument here? I think what we are talking about now is what is a true atheist? I personally think they are a lot rarer than some would believe (including self-proclaimed atheists). I think sometimes it isn't the substance of the issue but the mere fact that there is an issue to be pursued. It isn't that they don't believe in a deity (and they very well might not). What is really being discussed is a animus towards the Christian faith(s). That is all fine and dandy but a little honesty of agenda is called for.

MikeKerriii
09-12-2014, 04:16 PM
While still in, I saluted the flag on a regular basis. Completely against my religious beliefs. Does that mean we should rewrite the law so that people can choose not to salute?

i you saluted the flag against the wishes of your religion, that just means you are a hypcrite

What religion forbids showing respect to the flag? Worshiping it is forbiden,respecting it is not, at least in any faith I have heard of

MikeKerriii
09-12-2014, 04:22 PM
I see the semantic difference but why does it matter? I feel that if the principle of the matter is so serious to an individual that they would endanger their continued service to their country then they would surely exercise the same verbal selection in their curses.

Don't you see the circular argument here? I think what we are talking about now is what is a true atheist? I personally think they are a lot rarer than some would believe (including self-proclaimed atheists). I think sometimes it isn't the substance of the issue but the mere fact that there is an issue to be pursued. It isn't that they don't believe in a deity (and they very well might not). What is really being discussed is a animus towards the Christian faith(s). That is all fine and dandy but a little honesty of agenda is called for.

Christians spend enough time telling Christians what a true Christian is, they should not attempt to tell aithiest what a aeithist is. the hubris required to do that is astonding

The definition of a atheist is very very simple, First grade simple in fact.: An atheist does not belie in any deity That is what the word means in its a original language also

You might think it is OK to lie on a OAth, but unlike you I believe that people have personal honor something you so readily dismiss.

TJMAC77SP
09-12-2014, 04:28 PM
Christians spend enough time telling Christians what a true Christian is, they should not attempt to tell aithiest what a aeithist is. the hubris required to do that is astonding

The definition of a atheist is very very simple, First grade simple in fact.: An atheist does not belie in any deity That is what the word means in its a original language also

You might think it is OK to lie on a OAth, but unlike you I believe that people have personal honor something you so readily dismiss.

We weren't discussing Christians telling anyone who is a Christian and I was expressing my opinion regarding atheists. Surely there is nothing wrong with that.

Your red herring aside (I haven't advocated anyone lying during an oath)..............Why is it hypocrisy to not follow your religious beliefs (in the flag saluting scenario) but it is not hypocrisy for an avowed atheist to use the term Goddammit? I am missing the logic there.

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 04:34 PM
i you saluted the flag against the wishes of your religion, that just means you are a hypcrite

First, I really hope you're typing this all on a mobile device.

Second, I am a hypocrite, as are all Christians, and all people.



What religion forbids showing respect to the flag? Worshiping it is forbiden,respecting it is not, at least in any faith I have heard of

Saluting the flag...pledging allegiance to the flag...both of those things are considered my many, many people of faith as worshipping an idol.


The irony in your statement is off the charts. If I feel that saluting the flag is the same as worshipping an idol then, as it impacts my faith, they are the same. Just as if one Atheist is ok with saying "So help me God" it doesn't mean that all Atheists have to have the same view.

Oh, and I'm sorry that you need a verbal oath in order to feel personal honor.

USAF-Controller
09-12-2014, 05:47 PM
Doesn't say anything about your signature on the actual form that has the written oath...the part that actually matters. I'm guessing that you probably never read what was written on that piece of paper. I know I never did...hell...I don't even remember if the oath is on the paper. It's something I signed because it was a requirement to reenlist. Almost like clicking on a user agreement on the computer.



Right...and to many...saying "So help me God" at the end of an oath is equal to a colloquialism...until they decide to become an anti-theist activist.

It will be interesting when 4 years from now there are no Atheists joining or reenlisting because of principle. Oh...wait...a large majority of people will continue to say it. Especially since they already have been over the last couple years without any complaints.

The law will either be changed or the AF will be given official permission to omit the phrase before the end of the year.


First, I really hope you're typing this all on a mobile device.

Second, I am a hypocrite, as are all Christians, and all people.




Saluting the flag...pledging allegiance to the flag...both of those things are considered my many, many people of faith as worshipping an idol.


The irony in your statement is off the charts. If I feel that saluting the flag is the same as worshipping an idol then, as it impacts my faith, they are the same. Just as if one Atheist is ok with saying "So help me God" it doesn't mean that all Atheists have to have the same view.

Oh, and I'm sorry that you need a verbal oath in order to feel personal honor.

Saluting the flag is a sign of respect, not worship. You don't worship officers when you salute them.

TJMAC77SP
09-12-2014, 05:54 PM
The law will either be changed or the AF will be given official permission to omit the phrase before the end of the year.

I agree (with some minor doubts) and certainly hope so.



Saluting the flag is a sign of respect, not worship. You don't worship officers when you salute them.

Some might even say there is no respecting in the salute as well....

(EDIT: I tried to post a devil icon.............damn this newfangled technology !)

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 06:08 PM
The law will either be changed or the AF will be given official permission to omit the phrase before the end of the year. I hope so.




Saluting the flag is a sign of respect, not worship. You don't worship officers when you salute them.Glad you know what it means to other people.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-12-2014, 07:04 PM
I've got to weigh in with SJ on certain Christian denominations considering saluting the flag, and saying the pledge of allegiance as forms of idolatry. The Jehovah Witness are probably one of the bigger groups, but there are others.

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 07:27 PM
I've got to weigh in with SJ on certain Christian denominations considering saluting the flag, and saying the pledge of allegiance as forms of idolatry. The Jehovah Witness are probably one of the bigger groups, but there are others.

I've mentioned before that I did not focus on the flag during retreats, etc. Just a personal choice that made me feel better about myself, for whatever reason.

Even without religion, it seems kind of strange pledging allegiance to a flag. I can understand the rest of the pledge ("to the Republic"), as we should have allegiance to our country...but to a flag? Very strange.

Stalwart
09-12-2014, 07:43 PM
For what it is worth, the Bible actually gets in to the issue of being a subject of kings, leaders etc. and still honoring allegiance to God with the understanding that our greater, higher, first allegiance belongs to God: "Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!" (Acts 5:29).

and later: "be subject to the governing authorities" (Romans 13:1).


For saluting a flag or senior, I have never considered saluting to be a form of worship, based on:

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."
(Romans 13:1-7).

USAF-Controller
09-12-2014, 08:05 PM
Glad you know what it means to other people.

The AFI's and US codes tell us that it is meant as a show of respect. If it means something other than that to you, then it is a meaning you have taken upon yourself.


For what it is worth, the Bible actually gets in to the issue of being a subject of kings, leaders etc. and still honoring allegiance to God with the understanding that our greater, higher, first allegiance belongs to God: "Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!" (Acts 5:29).

and later: "be subject to the governing authorities" (Romans 13:1).


For saluting a flag or senior, I have never considered saluting to be a form of worship, based on:

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."
(Romans 13:1-7).

Very interesting verse. I think I like it.

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 08:06 PM
For what it is worth, the Bible actually gets in to the issue of being a subject of kings, leaders etc. and still honoring allegiance to God with the understanding that our greater, higher, first allegiance belongs to God: "Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!" (Acts 5:29).

and later: "be subject to the governing authorities" (Romans 13:1).


For saluting a flag or senior, I have never considered saluting to be a form of worship, based on:

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."
(Romans 13:1-7).

Don't disagree with you on any of that. That's talking about giving respect to people. In my opinion, it's pretty easy to see how showing respect for a person and treating the flag as an idol, as something we swear allegiance to, are two different things.

Either way, I'll continue to give the appearance of paying that respect because I know that I'm just going through the motions and that they are just words, meaningless in the end, as long as I know what I'm feeling on the inside about it.

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 08:09 PM
The AFI's and US codes tell us that it is meant as a show of respect. If it means something other than that to you, then it is a meaning you have taken upon yourself. Right...and the religious text that I believe in and follow, which is far above (in my eyes) the text of AFIs and US codes, tells me that it's something different. Just as I will continue to tell you that "So help me God" doesn't have to mean anything if you don't want it to.




Very interesting verse. I think I like it.Of course you like it...because you can interpret it to meet your point of view.

USAF-Controller
09-12-2014, 08:30 PM
Right...and the religious text that I believe in and follow, which is far above (in my eyes) the text of AFIs and US codes, tells me that it's something different. Just as I will continue to tell you that "So help me God" doesn't have to mean anything if you don't want it to.

I believe the difference huge. The people who created the salute tell you what they intended to mean. If you take it to mean something else far and above their intention then that is a personal choice. The intent of "So help me God" is actually to swear to a deity. There is no other meaning. If the oath was re-written to include the phrase "I believe that there is no God" would you still take the oath and say it was just meaningless words? By forcing me to swear to a "God" you are forcing me to say that I believe he/she exists.



Of course you like it...because you can interpret it to meet your point of view.

I like it because it is crafty. When man created religion, someone thought "Hey, we're putting all this stuff about worshipping and obeying only God. What if the people don't listen to us? How can we control them if they won't obey us too?" So they put in things like that. Crafty......

Stalwart
09-12-2014, 08:31 PM
Don't disagree with you on any of that. That's talking about giving respect to people. In my opinion, it's pretty easy to see how showing respect for a person and treating the flag as an idol, as something we swear allegiance to, are two different things.

Fair enough, I just don't see saluting the flag the same as the Israelites worshiping the golden calf (offering sacrifices to it etc.)

Measure Man
09-12-2014, 08:33 PM
The Jehovah Witness are probably one of the bigger groups, but there are others.

Not to get off the subject...but, aren't they the ones who also don't believe in celebrating birthdays and holidays? I think we have a a JW in the shop and he won't go to the Christmas Party or eat our monthly birthday cake. He will have donuts if someone brings them in...or some other cakes, just something about birthdays and holidays that he can't celebrate...might have something to do with pagan origins or something.

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 08:36 PM
Fair enough, I just don't see saluting the flag the same as the Israelites worshiping the golden calf (offering sacrifices to it etc.)

And I just don't see saying "So help me God" being the same as saying that you believe in God, anymore than I see someone saying "Goddammit" saying you believe in God.

Have you not seen and heard the disdain from people when someone desicrates the U.S. flag? A freakin' piece of cloth? You'd think they shot somebody.

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 08:38 PM
Not to get off the subject...but, aren't they the ones who also don't believe in celebrating birthdays and holidays? I think we have a a JW in the shop and he won't go to the Christmas Party or eat our monthly birthday cake. He will have donuts if someone brings them in...or some other cakes, just something about birthdays and holidays that he can't celebrate...might have something to do with pagan origins or something.

I've worked with a couple JWs (is that politically correct?) throughout the years, too, and with all of the things they aren't allowed to do (celebrations, etc) I find it surprising that they were in the military at all. I wonder how they deal with the flag dilmna as I'm positive they are not allowed, through their religion, to pledge to or salute the flag in any way.

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 08:41 PM
I believe the difference huge. The people who created the salute tell you what they intended to mean. If you take it to mean something else far and above their intention then that is a personal choice. The intent of "So help me God" is actually to swear to a deity. There is no other meaning. If the oath was re-written to include the phrase "I believe that there is no God" would you still take the oath and say it was just meaningless words? By forcing me to swear to a "God" you are forcing me to say that I believe he/she exists. Ever used the phrase "I swear to God I'm gonnna (insert phrase here) when your angry? Ever? As I said before, I don't think it means your are saying you believe in God anymore than me reciting the airmen's creed makes me believe I'm a "warrior".

How do you get past the moral dilemna of spending money that has "In God we Trust" printed on it? How can you even deal with carrying it in your wallet knowing that it's going to make people think you believe in God?

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 08:45 PM
Either way, the best thing to do is just to remove it. I don't need to verbally, in front of someone, ask for God's help in order for me to keep my word. I may ask him in private for that help but, as with every other public ceremony or display, it's all for show...all to give someone a warm fuzzy, and is all pretty much meaningless.

Stalwart
09-12-2014, 09:08 PM
And I just don't see saying "So help me God" being the same as saying that you believe in God, anymore than I see someone saying "Goddammit" saying you believe in God.

I agree on both points.


Have you not seen and heard the disdain from people when someone desicrates the U.S. flag? A freakin' piece of cloth? You'd think they shot somebody.

Of course I have. I will say I also don't like when someone desecrates the flag (but do agree that it can be done as a method of protest/exercise of free speech) but I would not go so far as to say because they look at the flag (or by proxy the nation) as divine or representative of something divine.

USAF-Controller
09-12-2014, 09:15 PM
Ever used the phrase "I swear to God I'm gonnna (insert phrase here) when your angry? Ever? As I said before, I don't think it means your are saying you believe in God anymore than me reciting the airmen's creed makes me believe I'm a "warrior".

How do you get past the moral dilemna of spending money that has "In God we Trust" printed on it? How can you even deal with carrying it in your wallet knowing that it's going to make people think you believe in God?

No, I can honestly say I have NEVER said "So help me God" or "I swear to God" since I became an Athiest.

I have a bible in my house but that does not mean I believe in God. I also have a Koran. My dad sends me cards that have "God bless you" on them but I keep them. Mearly possessing something with the word "God" on it does not in any way indicate that I believe in him/her any more than me having a Thor comic book or movie says I believe Thor is real.

USAF-Controller
09-12-2014, 09:16 PM
Either way, the best thing to do is just to remove it.

On this we can agree.

Mjölnir
09-12-2014, 09:21 PM
... any more than me having a Thor comic book or movie says I believe Thor is real.

could not resist

http://33.media.tumblr.com/4a7c135987a586d5f205133d340f184f/tumblr_mw03pbyXlh1rttdbeo1_500.jpg

USAF-Controller
09-12-2014, 09:27 PM
could not resist

http://33.media.tumblr.com/4a7c135987a586d5f205133d340f184f/tumblr_mw03pbyXlh1rttdbeo1_500.jpg

Well, Thor did promise an end to frost giants and I havent seen any lately......tell me more about your god Thor..... ;)

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 09:27 PM
Mearly possessing something with the word "God" on it does not in any way indicate that I believe in him/her any more than me having a Thor comic book or movie says I believe Thor is real.And merely saying "So help me God" also doesn't have to have any meaning either. It's not like you have to worry about blasphemy.

TJMAC77SP
09-12-2014, 09:35 PM
Ok, I think we can all agree that the rabbit hole has been approached and breached.............Goddamned heathens !

Absinthe Anecdote
09-12-2014, 09:59 PM
Of course you like it...because you can interpret it to meet your point of view.

Therein lies the beauty of god, he can be anything you want him to be.

His only limits appear to be in what you can convince others to believe about him, but in the mind of the individual, his power is limitless.

USAF-Controller
09-12-2014, 10:14 PM
And merely saying "So help me God" also doesn't have to have any meaning either. It's not like you have to worry about blasphemy.

I take my oath seriously. If I cannot be a man of my word then I cannot be relied upon. So again I ask if the oath included the phrase "I swear that I do not believe in God" would you still say it?

TJMAC77SP
09-12-2014, 10:27 PM
I take my oath seriously. If I cannot be a man of my word then I cannot be relied upon. So again I ask if the oath included the phrase "I swear that I do not believe in God" would you still say it?

Evidently we like the rabbit hole.

Changing it to those words would change the entire purpose. You are now saying an oath regarding your non-belief in a deity....I am sure you meant all deities because evidently this one is specific....instead of a oath of enlistment (or whatever).

Now, if you were to change the last words to "so help me God whom I don't believe in............"

I told you we were down a rabbit hole.

USAF-Controller
09-12-2014, 10:38 PM
Evidently we like the rabbit hole.

Changing it to those words would change the entire purpose. You are now saying an oath regarding your non-belief in a deity....I am sure you meant all deities because evidently this one is specific....instead of a oath of enlistment (or whatever).

Now, if you were to change the last words to "so help me God whom I don't believe in............"

I told you we were down a rabbit hole.

I'm just trying to make the point that swearing to a deity is the same as saying, under oath, that you believe in him/her. I don't mind the rabbit hole, I have a flashlight.

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 10:50 PM
I take my oath seriously. If I cannot be a man of my word then I cannot be relied upon. So again I ask if the oath included the phrase "I swear that I do not believe in God" would you still say it?Not a fair comparison...you aren't being asked to say you believe in God. Would I say the oath WITHOUT it saying "So help me God"? Yes....would I say it if it said "So help me Tom Cruise"? Yes...that would be quite fun.

USAF-Controller
09-12-2014, 10:54 PM
Not a fair comparison...you aren't being asked to say you believe in God. Would I say the oath WITHOUT it saying "So help me God"? Yes....would I say it if it said "So help me Tom Cruise"? Yes...that would be quite fun.

I've been VERY clear on my point yet you continue to ignore it. We're done here.

sandsjames
09-12-2014, 11:01 PM
I've been VERY clear on my point yet you continue to ignore it. We're done here.

You're done here. I think I'll hang out for awhile, if that's ok.

AF Comm Guy
09-12-2014, 11:24 PM
What jackass shoehorned that so called "administrative change" into the 36-2606? Check the following links to see what I mean.
The first is for the 36-2903. It has a formal memorandum explaining the phase in dates for the ABU. It is clear and concise with a letterhead, signature block and all that.
http://www.afpc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130509-049.pdf

Now take a look at this sorry piece of crap. It looks like something Airman Schmuckatelly up at AFPC inserted on a whim. Can this addendum even be considered official?
http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a1/publication/afi36-2606/afi36-2606.pdf

TJMAC77SP
09-12-2014, 11:33 PM
I'm just trying to make the point that swearing to a deity is the same as saying, under oath, that you believe in him/her. I don't mind the rabbit hole, I have a flashlight.

I agree that a true atheist and anyone who does not adhere to a mono-theistic religion has a legitimate complaint.

Measure Man
09-13-2014, 12:26 AM
What jackass shoehorned that so called "administrative change" into the 36-2606? Check the following links to see what I mean.
The first is for the 36-2903. It has a formal memorandum explaining the phase in dates for the ABU. It is clear and concise with a letterhead, signature block and all that.
http://www.afpc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130509-049.pdf

Now take a look at this sorry piece of crap. It looks like something Airman Schmuckatelly up at AFPC inserted on a whim. Can this addendum even be considered official?
http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a1/publication/afi36-2606/afi36-2606.pdf

Brings up a good point...who changed it and why?

Now, if this was changed by someone with strong religious beliefs because they feel that the success and survivial of our AF and nation depends on the assistance from God in heaven...then, I hope they figure out who it is and hold that person accountable for embarrassing the AF.

I have a feeling, it was changed by someone who just took a very strict and literal reading of the source law...(even if that person were religious because, I mean, IME, the people who do that are often the same people who take a very strict and literal reading of the Bible)...I think the "why" is different, and that person would have just been doing what they thought they were supposed to do, follow the law. He would be more like the rest of us who might disagree with a regulation, but follow it anyway.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-13-2014, 08:41 PM
I agree that a true atheist and anyone who does not adhere to a mono-theistic religion has a legitimate complaint.

I'm curious as how you define a "true atheist"? (HINT: That's me being rhetorical, don't try answering that.)

Besides, I think we've already established that there are a number of believers who object to it also.

When it comes to religion, our country is far from homogeneous, we've got way too many different religions, and variations of them to predict who would and wouldn't have an objection.

I wish we'd just go for a plain old legal contract, ultimately it is the UCMJ that holds a service member accountable when they break their oath.

As far as I can tell, the United States Government is far more hard-nosed about enforcing contracts than God is, at least in this plane of existence.

As far as we know, God might not want to be a party to all these oaths. Even if God does have an opinion on this particular issue, I don't expect him to give it to us anytime soon.

USN - Retired
09-13-2014, 10:03 PM
As far as I can tell, the United States Government is far more hard-nosed about enforcing contracts than God is, at least in this plane of existence.


"If you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won't.” ~Hyman G. Rickover

MikeKerriii
09-14-2014, 02:42 AM
And merely saying "So help me God" also doesn't have to have any meaning either. It's not like you have to worry about blasphemy.

It has a definite and precise meaning, acknowledging the existence of and requesting the help of an imaginary friend

Greg
09-14-2014, 03:38 AM
"If you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won't.” ~Hyman G. Rickover

Ah yes, the good Admiral Rickover. Father of the nuclear Navy.

I was standing topside watch on the USS James Monroe, SSBN-622, stationed in the Newport News Ship Building Yards when the good Admiral visited one late evening. You would've thought the world was about to end. To find a man more driven would be a intensive and laborious task.

Rusty Jones
09-15-2014, 02:25 PM
How many times have you expressed disagreement with something, only to be told "you swore the oath" or "you signed the dotted line," or something to that affect?

The only source of my reluctance to say "so help me God," is the possibility that someone in my chain of command might find it convenient told use the oath against me if they found out I was atheist. Sure, on paper, there's nothing they can do about it - but it would still be a hostile environment nonetheless. Granted, the probabilty of this happening may not be there, but the possibility definitely is.

In my estimation, the likelihood of this happening is low, especially since I've never seen once it during my 11 years on active duty. That's why I was able to go ahead and take that oath.

USAF-Controller
09-15-2014, 06:09 PM
How many times have you expressed disagreement with something, only to be told "you swore the oath" or "you signed the dotted line," or something to that affect?

The only source of my reluctance to say "so help me God," is the possibility that someone in my chain of command might find it convenient told use the oath against me if they found out I was atheist. Sure, on paper, there's nothing they can do about it - but it would still be a hostile environment nonetheless. Granted, the probabilty of this happening may not be there, but the possibility definitely is.

In my estimation, the likelihood of this happening is low, especially since I've never seen once it during my 11 years on active duty. That's why I was able to go ahead and take that oath.

Havent you heard? Athiests are the new boogymen who are going to destroy America.....

Rainmaker
09-15-2014, 08:56 PM
Havent you heard? Athiests are the new boogymen who are going to destroy America.....

Hate to be the bearer of bad news. But, look around skippy. that horse has already left the barn. Over 1/2 the country is an obese, 87 average IQ, thug, ward of the state, card carrying member of the Free Shit Army. Most of the rest are tatted up, phony tough-guy, freaks, walking around like zombies with their heads stuck in their $500 idiot phones, or self destructive, skank hos getting injections to imitate the Kardashian slut's fat ass and trying to escape acknowledging the obvious reality that the Godless assholes have already destroyed it.

USAF-Controller
09-15-2014, 11:53 PM
Hate to be the bearer of bad news. But, look around skippy. that horse has already left the barn. Over 1/2 the country is an obese, 87 average IQ, thug, ward of the state, card carrying member of the Free Shit Army. Most of the rest are tatted up, phony tough-guy, freaks, walking around like zombies with their heads stuck in their $500 idiot phones, or self destructive, skank hos getting injections to imitate the Kardashian slut's fat ass and trying to escape acknowledging the obvious reality that the Godless assholes have already destroyed it.

Let's not forget the war mongering, gun toting, racist assholes. Oh, and the Seattle Seahawks fans....

Rainmaker
09-16-2014, 01:58 PM
Let's not forget the war mongering, gun toting, racist assholes. Oh, and the Seattle Seahawks fans....

Seahawks fans are the worst. Gnomesayin?

TJMAC77SP
09-16-2014, 05:24 PM
Seahawks fans are the worst. Gnomesayin?

Afraid I missed the inside joke there. Nothing new of course but thought I would mention it.

USAF-Controller
09-16-2014, 07:47 PM
Afraid I missed the inside joke there. Nothing new of course but thought I would mention it.

No inside joke. Most C-Hawks fans are assholes.

sandsjames
09-16-2014, 08:14 PM
No inside joke. Most C-Hawks fans are assholes.

We finally agree on something.

TJMAC77SP
09-16-2014, 08:44 PM
No inside joke. Most C-Hawks fans are assholes.

oh, ok......

BENDER56
09-17-2014, 10:50 PM
So this thread is about played out and I'm late to the party, but this subject came up over at Reason.com and I couldn't help noticing the contrast between the comments posted here and those posted there. Their comments remind me of how this site used to be.

Hmmm ... perhaps I should have posted this comment in the "Call a Doctor ..." thread.

http://reason.com/blog/2014/09/17/us-air-force-violates-constitution-by-re#comments

USAF-Controller
09-17-2014, 11:50 PM
http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140917/NEWS/309170066/Air-Force-nixes-help-me-God-requirement-oaths

Problem solved!

MikeKerriii
09-18-2014, 04:15 AM
http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140917/NEWS/309170066/Air-Force-nixes-help-me-God-requirement-oaths

Problem solved!

Problem partially solved, We still have some senior officers that endorse religious bigotry and are willing to trash the Constitution to enforce that bigotry

technomage1
09-18-2014, 05:35 AM
Nice to see the DoD General Counsel resolved this issue. It's troubling that it had to go to that level, but they fixed it and quickly. Also nice to see CMSAF and the Secretary were actively concerned and publicly spoke on the issue.

I'm sure the fact that it made the news and the fact they were threatened with a lawsuit - which they surely would have lost - sped things along. But the Airman was allowed to reenlist so that was the desired outcome.

I would like to read the legal opinions from the AF and DoD on the issue. I'm not sure if they're publically available but it would be interesting to see.

Rusty Jones
09-18-2014, 10:36 AM
Although I appreciate what he did, all he did was sacrifice himself for his fellow atheists. As we all know, life is going to made difficult for him... and he'd better watch his own ass. I'm sure there are plenty of people watching very closely, just waiting to write him up for something.

Stalwart
09-18-2014, 12:50 PM
Am I that different, in that I don't go to work every day looking to write people up and get people in trouble?

Rusty Jones
09-18-2014, 12:59 PM
Am I that different, in that I don't go to work every day looking to write people up and get people in trouble?

Depending on what command you're attached to, you just might be that different.

In any case, he's pissed alot of people off. Presumably, there are many in his chain of command right now, and/or there will be in the future.

I know what it's like to be a "marked man." Ultimately, that's why I threw in the towel at 11 years. There were plenty at my last command who weren't able to make it out with all of their chevrons in tact, so I was the lucky one.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-18-2014, 01:07 PM
Am I that different, in that I don't go to work every day looking to write people up and get people in trouble?

I think you are very different from the guys who that sort of thing.

You've never seen vindictive people, who seem to have a zeal for writing people up?

There aren't that many running around, but they always leave a lasting impression when you meet one.

Stalwart
09-18-2014, 01:09 PM
Sure, I have seen some real jerks (not necessarily identifiable by rank alone ... they come in all shapes and sizes), but at least from my point of view they seem to be a real minority. I get the impression that the perception is that they are the majority -- which makes me wonder about things.

Rusty Jones
09-18-2014, 01:17 PM
Sure, I have seen some real jerks (not necessarily identifiable by rank alone ... they come in all shapes and sizes), but at least from my point of view they seem to be a real minority. I get the impression that the perception is that they are the majority -- which makes me wonder about things.

Probably. When you have to spend a considerable amount of your time worrying about staying out of trouble, you have little room for anything else.

Absinthe Anecdote
09-18-2014, 01:32 PM
I agree that they are of the minority, but the human memory keeps negative experiences in the section of the brain that produces vivid memories.

I think this is what leads to a skewed perception.

How often do you Navy guys swap sea stories about Joe, "The even-keel" Sailor?

I'm guessing he doesn't get talked about much, but Joe "The Colossal Prick" Sailor gets talked about so much more.

Stalwart
09-18-2014, 01:42 PM
Probably. When you have to spend a considerable amount of your time worrying about staying out of trouble, you have little room for anything else.

In my 24 years, I have yet to see someone who was doing their job, the way they should be (so not just getting the right result but also using the right processes) getting persecuted by their command. I say that as some who was busted (deservedly so) twice.

So are people spending so much time looking over their shoulders worrying about being persecuted because of:

1. Bad leadership
2. A persecution complex
3. As a result of doing things they should not be

Or (my strong suspicion) a combination of the three.

Rusty Jones
09-18-2014, 02:03 PM
In my 24 years, I have yet to see someone who was doing their job, the way they should be (so not just getting the right result but also using the right processes) getting persecuted by their command. I say that as some who was busted (deservedly so) twice.

So are people spending so much time looking over their shoulders worrying about being persecuted because of:

1. Bad leadership
2. A persecution complex
3. As a result of doing things they should not be

Or (my strong suspicion) a combination of the three.

I'll also add a #4: Watching your peers get busted for small things, three mast cases per week happening at a command with only 275 Sailors attached, and wondering when your turn is coming.

The ONLY time in my 11 years that I have EVER been written up came just three months before I got out: I was instructed to do an EMIR, because of a Sailor who was being discharged as a result of an NJP (over something stupid, I might add). Anyhow, you're not supposed to do an EMIR until AFTER the Sailor is off the ship - I try to tell them that every time but, of course, DIVO says to do it, so I do it. Besides, we were overmanned for that Sailor's rate and NEC anyway. I give it to my DIVO for his chop, and I never see it again. Of course, since it's not something initiated by me - and not something I was supposed to be doing anyway, given the circumstances - for all I know, XO could have decided this time that the EMIR doesn't need to go out.

A month or two later, I get blind-sided by the CMAA who gave me a friendly warning that there's a report chit with my name on it, because the EMIR never went out.

So, what do I do? I go down to radio, to see if it was ever logged. It wasn't. I check my computer to see if I still had the message drafted. I did. I informed the CMAA what happened, and he did a little investigation - turns out that the EMIR was still in the blue folder with the disk, and sitting in my DIVO's state room the whole time. He never even took it to the XO.

So, the charge was dropped and, fortunately, I never even saw DRB. Did anything happen to my DIVO for losing the EMIR in his stateroom? Nope - but I didn't care at the time; all I cared about was the fact that I was in the clear.

Clearly, however... this was a "marked man" incident. I watched three other First Classes get busted on that ship, and two other First Classes get out at their EAOS, both with at least ten years in - and I was number three. By the way, all of this happened within a 9 month span.

Rusty Jones
09-18-2014, 02:18 PM
Another interesting note... one Seaman who got ADSEP mentioned that when he went to mast, the FIRST words out of the CO's mouth were "You knew we were gonna get you, right?"

Wrong. Just plain wrong. And it would be one thing if it was said to someone more senior, but still wrong. The fact that it was said to a Seaman makes it that much more worse.

Stalwart
09-18-2014, 03:14 PM
I have seen people bustled for little things; but it was almost always a case of the 'straw breaking the camel's back.' I cannot write a charge sheet because I do t like you; I can write a charge sheet if you are ten seconds late for muster. If it is first time and I am just being an ass, the DRB will catch that; if it is the 10th time this month ... Well you may need some more formal adjustment.

It sounds like you served with a poor DIVO -- bad leadership.

In the case of the SN, was he a poor Sailor? If he was the kind of guy who could have been predicted to get I. trouble, given warnings/counselings etc. and did not shape up? Then I could see saying something like that to him. I have successfully predicted before people who were headed to NJP and ADSEP; it is not hard but it is not something I want either.

Rusty Jones
09-18-2014, 03:47 PM
I have seen people bustled for little things; but it was almost always a case of the 'straw breaking the camel's back.' I cannot write a charge sheet because I do t like you; I can write a charge sheet if you are ten seconds late for muster. If it is first time and I am just being an ass, the DRB will catch that; if it is the 10th time this month ... Well you may need some more formal adjustment.

It sounds like you served with a poor DIVO -- bad leadership.

I would use the terms "poor DIVO" and "bad leadership" in cases where they don't know what they're doing. But I have a feeling that they did. Word that I got from CMAA when the EMIR was found, because of the exact location and the fact that the DIVO's own chop wasn't on it, it appeared to have been hidden and not lost (I was actually good friends with the CMAA).

Now why would it be hidden? It is indeed possible that the CMAA found it just in time, before the DIVO could get the XO's chop on it and plant it somewhere at the bottom of my inbox - who knows? But something was definitely "not kosher" about the situation.

Another former First Class on that same ship got busted for not reporting a DUI to the command while he was on leave. This wasn't too long after the court ruling that command's can't do that - so his RIR got overturned, and he was a First Class again. Not too long after I separated, I heard that they actually got him - he was a Second Class, and he stayed one. I heard it had something to do with leaving the mess decks trashed after an ice cream social or something like that - but it was something that could have been remedied with a suspended RIR and a 45/45 at the most.


In the case of the SN, was he a poor Sailor? If he was the kind of guy who could have been predicted to get I. trouble, given warnings/counselings etc. and did not shape up? Then I could see saying something like that to him. I have successfully predicted before people who were headed to NJP and ADSEP; it is not hard but it is not something I want either.

I don't know, as this Sailor wasn't in my department. However, that statement from the CO was an explicit statement that he was stalking his prey and waiting for the opportunity to go on the for kill.

While at that command and under that particular CO, I have never once seen a suspended RIR used - and I was PS, so I know what everyone got. Everyone who went to mast there, at the minimum, walked out at the next lower paygrade.

Stalwart
09-18-2014, 04:15 PM
Nonetheless, I hope the reserves work out and provide a better example.