UPDATE: Academy spokesman Maj. Brus Vidal
sent this comment in response to the billboard:
First, the Cadet Honor Oath remains unchanged. However, in the spirit enabling all to be true to their beliefs, the Air Force's Academy made the final clause optional - cadets can choose to say that final clause or not.
Second, it seems the MRFF is confusing the facts and also does not understand the difference between 1) the commissioning Oath of Office, 2) the Cadet Honor Code, and 3) the Cadet Honor Oath, which remains unchanged.
Finally, and most importantly, I refer you to the MRFF's mission statement and the apparent disagreement of its fundamentals with the final clause in the Cadet Honor Oath as optional, thereby allowing all to be true to their beliefs, whatever those beliefs are.
To help define the differences in the Cadet Honor Code and Cadet Honor Oath, I refer you to our story about the Cadet Honor Code and Honor Oath - you might want to pass it along to them since they seem to be unclear on the facts and, specifically, that the Cadet Honor Oath was not changed — we simply made the final clause optional, which is directly in line with the MRFF's mission statement to ensure "that all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom."
Here is the link and the story: http://www.usafa.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123368388
———ORIGINAL POST: NOVEMBER 6, 9:55 A.M.———
A new billboard in town already is stirring angst over the U.S. Air Force Academy's
use of "so help me God" as part of its honor oath.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation
posted a billboard at North Nevada Avenue and Garden of the Gods Road saying President George Washington's oath of office didn't contain those words, so why should the academy's oath?
We reported on this a couple weeks ago
, but the subject is still getting attention. MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein
, a 1977 academy grad, says his group already has received a dozen hate calls about the billboard.
The billboard stands facing east so that motorists westbound on Austin Bluffs Parkway, which becomes Garden of Gods Road, get a full view of it.
We've asked the academy if it cares to comment and will update if and when we hear back.
Here's a letter the MRFF sent to the academy.