An Officer's Experience in Our Christian Military
Posted on: August 20, 2009 9:09 AM, by Ed Brayton
I am a United States Army Captain. On a spring day at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York several years ago, I took a solemn oath to support and defend the United States Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic as an officer in the United States Army. I took a legally altered oath which omitted the words "So Help Me G-d." When I submitted my first signed copy, with those words neatly crossed out and initialed, I was informed that it was not valid. When threatened with the prospect of not graduating and being refused a Commission, I stood by my refusal to sign the Oath as it read. I could not in good conscience do so because I was deeply disturbed by fusion of religion and military service. I could not reconcile the suspicion that the Oath itself was establishing religion in a way which contradicted the spirit of the Constitution with the intensity of my commitment to defend same. I believed, and still believe, that my personal metaphysical experience of the universe must be separate from my role as a military professional. In the passing years, I have come to the unsettling conclusion that the sentiment in the Oath which so disturbed me is a practical reality in my United States Army.