Airmen can now omit the phrase “so help me God” from the oath that they are required to take.

The Air Force says that the decision isn’t about religion and was simply to uphold Air Force code.

Before last year, the phrase was optional. In October 2013, the Air Force said its code required that “so help me God” be included.


Starnes: Why Does Air Force Academy Encourage Atheism, Prosecute Christianity?


When an airman wanted to opt out, he was told to say the phrase or leave the Air Force. The American Humanist Association then threatened to sue, so the Air Force contacted Department of Defense lawyers, who recommended making the phrase optional.

“We are making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our airmen’s rights are protected,” the Air Force said in a statement.

“We hope the Air Force will respect the constitutional rights of atheists in the future,” The American Humanist Association said in response to the decision.


Eggplant Epiphany: Line Cook Says He Saw 'GOD' Spelled Out in Seeds


The Army, Navy and Marines already have the option to opt out of saying the phrase.

Watch Trace Gallagher's report above.