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.