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(CNN) On Sunday, pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in California stood before his congregation of more than 2,000 and told them he would be making an unusual announcement.The pastor proceeded to warn his audience against voting for a candidate in the upcoming midterm elections who supports gay marriage and abortion, even if that candidate, Carl DeMaio, is a Republican.Garlow, an outspoken evangelical who played a major role in organizing Christian groups in support of California’s anti gay marriage Proposition 8, spoke plainly: He would not be supporting the Republican in this race.”I know enough that you cannot have the advancing of the radical homosexual agenda and religious liberty at the same time, in the same nation,” he preached. “One will win, and one will lose.”Instead, Garlow told his followers he would be endorsing DeMaio’s rival, Democratic incumbent Scott Peters, representative for California’s 52nd District, to send a scathing message to Republican leadership that candidates who back abortion and gay rights are unacceptable to the party’s Christian base.Garlow is one of a growing number of Americans who say that religion should play a greater role in politics, according to the findings of a recent study by the Pew Research Forum Religion Public Life Project.The study found that almost three quarters of the American public 72% believes that religion’s influence is waning in public life, the highest level in Pew Research polling over the past 10 years.And many Americans say that trend is a bad thing, the study found.Opinion by Candida Moss and Joel Baden, special to CNN(CNN) The Air Force has reversed course again and will allow an atheist airman to omit the phrase help me God” from its oath, the military branch said Wednesday.”We are making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our Airmen rights are protected,” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said.Earlier, the Air Force said the unnamed airman would not be allowed to re enlist unless he recited the entire oath, including the disputed section.It was the latest religious controversy in the heavily Christian Air Force, but this particular issue has ancient and somewhat surprising roots: In the early days of Christianity, it was Christians who refused to swear by powers they didn’t believe in.The oath was written into law in 1956 and, like the Pledge of Allegiance, did not originally include any reference to God. The final sentence came into the text in 1962, just eight years after “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance.Even then, however, it was not an absolute requirement in the Air Force: Official policy had stated that “Airmen may omit the words ‘so help me God,’ if desired for personal reasons.” But the lenient policy was updated and eliminated in 2013, leading to the most recent standoff, which Wednesday announcement seemed to solve.Air Force will be updating the instructions for both enlisted and commissioned Airmen to reflect these changes in the coming weeks, but the policy change is effective now, the Air Force said.who choose to omit the words help me God from enlistment and officer appointment oaths may do so.

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