U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Tuesday said it will no longer require incoming U.S. citizens to pledge that they will "bear arms on behalf of the United States" or "perform noncombatant service" in the Armed Forces as part of the naturalization process.
Those lines are in the Oath of Allegiance that people recite as they become U.S. citizens. But USCIS said people "may" be able to exclude those phrases for reasons related to religion or if they have a conscientious objection.
USCIS said people with certain religious training or with a "deeply held moral or ethical code" may not have to say the phrases as they are naturalized.
The agency said people don't have to belong to a specific church or religion to use this exemption, and may attest to U.S. officials administering the oath that they have these beliefs.
USCIS said it would take "feedback" on this policy change through August 4, 2015.
The current naturalization oath reads as follows:
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."