No atheist should be permitted to serve in the U.S. military

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
 | 
Bryan Fischer - Guest Columnist

Bryan FischerMilitary service should rightly be reserved for those who believe in and are willing to die for what America stands for - and what America stands for is a belief in God as the source of our rights.


The United States Air Force has refused to allow a sergeant to re-enlist because he will not say "so help me God."

The Air Force is doing exactly the right thing here. There is no place in the United States military for those who do not believe in the Creator who is the source of every single one of our fundamental human and civil rights.

Serving in the military is a privilege, not a constitutional right. And it should be reserved for those who have America's values engraved on their hearts.

Naturally, the American Humanist Association, which has never seen a constitutional liberty it respects, intends to challenge this decision.

This case should be thrown out of court. The Constitution nowhere gives the federal judiciary any authority to set military policy. That's reserved for Congress and Congress alone.

(The "religious test" referred to in Article VI of the Constitution is a reference to a detailed or specific Christian statement of faith, and refers to elective or appointive office and not to military service. States, under the Constitution written by the Founders, can require any kind of religious test they want, and Article VI was designed to protect that power and reserve it for the States.)

Why is all this important? Because our military exists to uphold and defend our Constitution, and the Constitution in turn identifies the "unalienable rights" the Declaration refers to that our government is obligated to protect.

These rights do not come from government, they do not come from the commander-in-chief, and they most certainly do not come from some activist judge. They come from God himself. We are not evolved, as this wannabe-enlistee believes, but we are "created," and "endowed by (our) Creator with certain unalienable rights."

This is an absolutely foundational, non-negotiable, bed-rock American principle: there is a Creator - with a capital "C" (you could look it up) - and he and he alone is the source of the very rights the military exists to protect and defend.

An individual who does not understand and believe this has no right to serve in the U.S. military. Military service should rightly be reserved for those who believe in and are willing to die for what America stands for - and what America stands for is a belief in God as the source of our rights.

A man who doesn't believe in the Creator the Founders trusted certainly can live in America without being troubled for being a fool. But he most certainly should not wear the uniform.

And Congress agrees. It is actually a matter of statutory law that every enlistee and every officer must take an oath that ends with “So help me God.” U.S. Code, Title 10, Section 502 reads as follows (emphasis mine throughout): 

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

“I, XXXXXXXXXX, 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.

The other branches of the U.S. military allow enlistees to opt out on this oath, but let’s be clear: they are breaking the law when they do so. 

Military service should be reserved for genuine Americans - and genuine Americans, like the Founders, believe in God.


Bryan Fischer hosts "Focal Point with Bryan Fischer" every weekday on AFR Talk from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. (Central).

Editor's note: Mr. Fischer revised the conclusion of his column (beginning at "And Congress agrees ...") following his radio program on this date.

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