I re-enlisted this past Thursday (14May2009). I have been in the military for over 6 yrs now, so I know I had to have said the words before....I guess I didn't pay that much attention to the entire oath previously. Now it has just been eating away at me!! Everything was fine until the very last sentence "So help me God". I cringed at the thought of saying this, however, I was on a stage in front of my entire battery and chain-of-command. I paused briefly, glanced at my husband, and uttered the words. I suddenly had a knot in my stomach that said I just went against everything I believe in--and don't believe in. That was 2 days ago and I still am angry with myself for not being more outspoken about it. I mean I'm pretty outspoken and professional so why did I say it just to get it over with? I only re-enlisted for 2 yrs this time, but I plan on re-enlisting again in October (the start of the new fiscal yr). I'm hoping to gather support to at least have this phrase as an optional part of enlistment. Even for those who have religous convictions, what if who they worship is not refered to as "God"; so am I wrong or making to much out of this? It seems very discriminatory and assumptive to assume one would think that "So help me God" is going to make or not make me follow the orders of the Commander-in-Chief , or the officers appointed over me.

My husband holds the same views as I, he just isn't as vocal about them unless provoked. When we got home later that day, I was telling him how I felt. He said it's just words, it by no means is a sign of actually believing in them. I see his point, but in my eyes by not saying anything to the contrary about the 'phrase' means that I personally allowed another Christian to dominate over my commitment (oath) to my country. On the flip side, my husband said our commitment to our family and ensuring they have food, roof over their heads, clothes, and other living essentials is priority #1, and I absolutely agree. However, is it too much to ask to be able to porvide for my family, serve my country, have a healthy career progression, plan for a retirement...and N-O-T have to say silly things such as "So help me God"? I think this is partly if not entirely how christians have such a strong hold--people tend to act in general as I did last Thurs..look at the bigger picture and not get tripped up on little comments or sayings, thus, christians end up with 'swollen heads & egos' and feel threatened when someone does speak up. I feel in my heart that by not speaking up we are not only failing to have our beliefs acknowledged, but we are catering to those who can't stand us (at least belief wise anyways). I do not think that any religous group should have to be catered to when they are trying to force their words out of my mouth.

I will either not say that part of the Oath of Enlistment in October, or I vow to not re-enlist. I cannot have this on my concious again, therefore I won't. This said, I plan to actively campaign against having this as part of the Oath required for military service; not just for myself, but for others who hold my views and those who are believers that just don't call their 'god' .."God".

Any support, opinions, constructive criticism, debate, etc is more than welcome...just please be respectful to make valid points.

Views: 162

Tags: army, atheist, enlistment, foxhole, god, military, no, oath, of, support

Comment by mrs kelligurl on May 17, 2009 at 10:58am
Matthew, that's pretty funny....I'm beginning to think this is 'God's Army"..lmao

Frank, I agree with you, when I did my enlistment into the Navy and into the Army it was a group enlistment....and to be honest, I don't think I was even paying attention (I was ready to get out of there and go eat)! But your right, they don't have any right to be a 'christian' agency. I'm currently stationed at Ft Bliss (ElPaso), Texas where nearly 93% of the local pop is Roman Catholic and alot of it bleeds over! I wish I got my hands on a survey.

Misty, Thank you for your help and support!

Natalie, I want to start by saying that you do have a right to your opinion and your right to choose to serve or not to serve. That said, your last comment has came out a bit hostile whether it's real or percieved. You don't have to like the war, I know a number of military who don't like it. But to call myself, my husband, and other honest serving military men and women "war criminals" is highly uncalled for. I'm curious to know what your knowledge of ROE are, along with your source for coming up with numbers in the "millions". As far as money goes, we are not rich, but, we have a pretty more comfortable than average lifestyle than most civilians we know. At this point, I'm willing to still believe your comment was intended to help; however, for future reference I would not start a conversation by attacking us (any military member) as a "war criminal" and expect to gain positive results. I can completely understand you may well have some valid points, but you must be more concisious of how you come across. Name calling and hostility puts people off and detracts from even the most valid of points.
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on May 17, 2009 at 2:46pm
Mrs. Keligurl-
A previous and now departed poster listed the code of conduct rules for the swearing in ceremony and quoted that you are allowed to affirm instead of um.. be helped by god.
He had it c&p from somewhere. Not sure how true it was, but I'd look it up if I were you.
Further, any more war criminal or off topic comments in THIS THREAD will be deleted.
Start your own blog or discussion or group if it suits you, and I will extend the exact same courtesy of deleting any hijacking that takes place there. Let's try and keep all posts on par with what the author is discussing, please. The internet is a big place. We have threads for a reason. It helps everyone sort out discussions by title and category. Thanks.
Comment by Frank on May 17, 2009 at 3:23pm
Mrs Kelligurl,
I think I top your conundrum of being stationed in Fort Bliss. I am stationed in Vicenza, Italy...home of Catholicism...The Vatican is only a few hours train ride away. Though I do know how you feel, having my last duty station been at Bragg which is surrounded by the Southern Baptists. I used to have a saying, "There is stupid and then theirs Southern Baptists."
Comment by mrs kelligurl on May 17, 2009 at 3:57pm
Thank you Misty!!! I did see his comment, I just couldn't reply at the time. I wished I had known this prior to my re-up, believe me, I know now though.

Frank, ohhh, I was raised around Southern Baptists and attened 4 yrs at a private Southern Baptist School---if there is a such thing as hell--I did my time there!!..lol Wow, we can just say "Weirdo's". I would love to visit the Vatican, I send e-mails all the time, but with no response to date..hehe. I can imagine what it's like there, they are pretty bad here in El Paso. The local population seems to need to start every function off with a ceremonial thanks to 'god', and I'm thinking of starting a picture collection of the amount of yards that have shrines to the "Virgin Mary'..unbelievable.
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on May 18, 2009 at 9:45am
...and yet it won't get you out of jury duty in most places. ~le sigh~
Comment by Laura on May 20, 2009 at 3:13pm
I would definitely contact Mr. Weinstein, just to find out what your options are. We attorneys can be very helpful. :) I'm sure he'd be able to give you a rundown on your options off the top of his head, most likely for free. You have nothing to lose by just calling and getting some information.
Comment by Johnny on July 6, 2009 at 1:09pm
Wikipedia of all places!! I was doing some research for a response on Facebook (a claim that the oath of enlistment had been changed, under Bush, to "support and defend the President of the United States" instead of "support and defend the Constitution of the United States").

Army Regulation 610-210 governs the Army enlistment program and provides a specific exemption, allowing oaths without the last sentence.

From the Wiki entry:
Note that the last sentence is not required to be said if the speaker has a personal or moral objection, as is true of all oaths administered by the United States government. Article Six of the United States Constitution requires that there be no religious test for public office. In addition, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are examples of government policies and agencies preventing discrimination on the basis of religion. Both theists and nontheists have dropped the last sentence on religious grounds due to their beliefs against religious oaths. Army Regulation 610-210 governs the Army enlistment program and provides a specific exemption, allowing oaths without the last sentence.
Comment by Reggie on July 6, 2009 at 1:28pm
...and Johnny hits a home run!

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