Texas Congressmen join forces to keep ‘so help me God’ in Cadet Honor Oath

In response to the U.S. Air Force Academy’s unilateral decision to make the phrase, ‘so help me God’ of the Cadet Honor Oath optional, I introduced H.R. 3416, a bill that would require congressional approval prior to any change to Oaths of Office. I was joined by original co-sponsor Congressman Pete Olson (TX-22).

Our Founding Fathers declared we are, "One nation under God," and you better believe I’ll fight like mad to keep it that way. I can tell you from experience, there are no atheists in foxholes. We are the land of the free because of the brave. Many people don’t know this, but when you survive a near-death experience, you realize that the only thing you had to hold on to was your faith in God.

I spent nearly 7 years as a Prisoner of War (POW) in Vietnam – more than half of that time in solitary confinement. Our captors tried to break our spirits daily. One year, a group of POWs in the prison we dubbed the Hanoi Hilton decided to defy our captors and hold a church service. They hated that we found unity and strength in God and one another. As armed guards surrounded us, a fellow POW pounced onto the poor excuse for a bed and belted out the national anthem and "God Bless America." I remember how the magnitude of the moment and the magic of the music overpowered any illness or ache. For a fleeting time, we felt strong and faithful. It was truly the greatest gift each of us had during those endless days of torture, isolation, and starvation. It’s not only my experience, but that of my fellow POWs, veterans, and those currently in harm’s way that make "so help me God" vital to the oath. I urge my colleagues to join this effort to protect the legacy of freedom of religion.

"It was disheartening to see the Air Force Academy succumb to anti-religious zealotry from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF)," Pete Olson said. "As a former Navy pilot, I can speak to the value of allowing God to be present for our military men and women. The military personnel being trained to defend the rights of Americans should be able to exercise their religious convictions by affirming their oath with so help me God. What troubles me even more is that the original complaint was not made by a cadet, but a local newspaper that brought the oath to the attention of an organization hostile to freedom of faith. I urge my colleagues to join me in preserving a crucial tenet in our Constitution, the First Amendment freedom to practice religion," Olson concluded.

Background on H.R. 3416

This legislation would require congressional approval before any change may be made to the Oaths of Office for the following:

  • Enlisting in the Armed Forces; 
  • Appointment to an office in the civil service or uniformed services; or 
  • Appointment as a cadet or midshipman at a military service academy.


>>Our Founding Fathers declared we are, "One nation under God,"
Show me where.

I am so glad to read about these initiatives from our Leaders.  It is what we need to fight against the Taliban and their Allah.    We all know that the US was founded by Jesus and all our crusaders should swear upon god and the bible.      
Praise Zeus, Praise the Flying Spaghetti Monster,Praise Buddha,Praise Charlie Brown,Praise Santa Clause,Praise Krishna,Praise Mickey Mouse
All this praising is making me tired, almost as tired as I am of these crazy 'leaders' who want everyone to believe there crazy fantasies about the 'god' in their small little minds.
Donald Mason,  Austin, TX

Hello Rep. Johnson,

I'm guessing that someone of your station knows better than to assert that the founding fathers "declared we are, 'One nation under God'" as they most decidedly did not. This phrase was added to our pledge of allegiance (I am assuming that this what you're referring to) in 1954 and was never, ever in any way, shape, or form a phrase used or endorsed by any of our founding fathers, most of whom were at best deists and who would be absolutely appalled at this legislation you're proposing which even an 8th grade civics student would spot as a blatant violation of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (perhaps you've heard of it?)

What this clearly is, of course, is a simple pandering to your easily-led base...unfortunately this, along with your "War on Christianity" tag simply serves to show how out of touch you are with 21st century America. There's a war on to force Christian primacy of any and all human beings, but if you are construing actions like allowing others to (God forbid!) think for themselves and thus possibly think differently from you, then it's clear just how deluded and desperate you and those who for whatever reason continue to give you political power have become.

You would do well to consider whether you would want some possible future Muslim or Hindu majority to cram their religious views down the throats of your great grandchildren on the basis of majority rule...I seriously cannot believe that after stunts like this anyone continues to vote for you. You're shameful, and craven, and worse, I suspect you know this, yet continue to play your supporters for the easy tools they must be if they keep electing the likes of you.

Article VI, paragraph 3,
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.

Disingenuous or ignorant.


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