Oath of Enlistment:

"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."

I am wondering how everyone felt when repeating (Or pretending to repeat) that last sentence "So help me God." Did you realize what you were saying at the time? Believe in a God so you didn't mind? Question why you were saying it? Get upset by this? Who thinks this should be taken out of the Oath?

I for one was a little shocked that was included and I think it should be taken out. Am I supposed to believe in God to serve my country? Is the military justice system so bad that we need to have a second threat of God's wrath or not going to heaven if we do not abide by this oath? Not only was this oath supposed to be signed on the enlistment contract and repeated once, but we actually had to repeat that last sentence a few times to get it right...Saying "So help me God." and then dropping our right hand back down to the position of attention, even being told that we weren't saying it loud enough and to "sound off!" I tried to just mouth those words at first, but after being told to say it again and again I started screaming it to let off some steam because I was so mad about the whole situation.

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Replies to This Discussion

I totally agree with you that it should be taken out of the oath, but I don’t think I’m as upset about it as you are.

Hawaii is really divers, so we really don’t have that Bible belt mentality like the mainland. The religious presser we get comes mainly from external institutions outside of Hawaii, like “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, and “in God we trust” on our money. There’s not that kind of religious presser coming from within Hawaii; we were the first state in the Union to legalize abortion, so we really don’t feel that oppressed here.

I have to say that I love my country and I’ve been in uniform my entire adult life, with that said, I got to tell you growing up as an American not being white, not being Christian, thousand of miles away from mainland America, you kind of feel like you’re on the outside looking in, you kind of grow up excepting a lot of things from mainland society that you feel like you really don’t have any control over.

The last time I reenlisted, my commander got to the “so help me God” part, I looked directly at him, he looked at me and said in an apologetic voice “I know you’re Buddhist and you don’t believe in God, this is just what's written on the paper” so I said it. I didn’t think making an issue of it to my commander, who has been extremely supportive of me for many years, would have solved anything or have been productive.

Although I’m not as upset about it as you seem to be, I do totally agree with you that all religious references should be taken out of our government, and now as an adult, I do feel we have the power to change things.
There's definitely a real gray area between the reality that atheists are outnumbered and that our lack of belief is as significant to us as someone else's belief. I could care less what they do with oaths because swearing to God is meaningless enough it seems somewhat additionally meaningless to protest that action. It's not as if the military is squared away with every other thing except having God in its oaths. Quite the opposite, the military is a brilliant experiment in daily chaos, the least of which is a fairly common appeal to some being that I have never seen help.
I didn't pretend to repeat it when I enlisted. I stopped at "me." I also crossed out the God part on my contract. I told the applicable personnel that it would be lying for me to say/sign anything attributing my actions to something I didn't believe in. Nobody gave me any grief about it. Of course, this was in the 80s. I understand things have gotten a lot worse about the religion issue since then.

And I would have laughed in the face of someone who was yelling at me to sound off at a mass oath, BEFORE I was fully enlisted. It's the equivalent of yelling demands at a star athlete or actor when he's got the pen to the paper to sign a contract.

Sheesh, have some ovaries, and tell jerks like that to lighten up.
I don't remeber the oath itself being on the actual contract. Last year I reenlisted for my fifth and final time and don't recall the oath being part of the actual enlistmen/re-enlistment contract of the DOD.
I do not know about other branches of serivce but in the Army if you wanted to enlist or renlist you could switch from "I swear..." to "I affirm..." the difference is they omit the phrase "So help me God." if you used affirm. That is what i used to enlist in the military and wrote on my contract.
Anyone else get "No Preference" printed on your dog tags after saying atheist? That ticked me off, no pref sounds like you couldn't make up your mind. Does the MRFF have a page on your site? They are a great resource for the non christians in the military. Love the  site. Good work.

I got athiest, you shoulda said something... Someone in my basic had that pulled on them and I battled them over to the drill to get it fixed... But I have military background so I know the regs pretty well and they didn't want to loose their stripes

I have re-enlisted several times now and have always told the presiding officer to leave out the "so help me god" line.  I've actually never once had anyone question it.  I'd have to look it up to be 100% sure, but I believe that the re-enlistment oath on the paperwork even identifies that phrase as optional.
the last line is optional by both fedral law and military regulations down to each individual branch. If you are told otherwise, then you have a valid issue.

I didn't have to say it. They told all athiests to just not say the words when I came in. I don't think it should be there at all because some people have multiple gods and like us some people have none... but atleast they are trying to move forward... unless i just got off really easy when I joined


I am NOT saying it for this re-enlistment.  They can kick me the f**k out and find someone who can do my job better, or they can just take my word for it, instead of making me appeal to the imaginary sky-fairy.  They take my word for everything else, and I deliver, so this should be no different.  If they push it on me, we're going to have a contest of wills, not a battle of wits.

Even back to my first enlistment, back in 1968, before I was an Atheist, I did not say "So help me god."

My point, then, was which god? I never added the phrase in any further enlistment.




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