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article imageThe Presidential Oath of Office does not include 'So Help Me God'

By Chris V. Thangham     Jan 2, 2009 in Politics
The article in the U.S. Constitution for the Presidential oath of the office doesn’t contain “God” in the statement. But Obama will most likely use the word “so help me God” after the official oath.
When President-elect Barack Obama participates in the official ceremony at the inauguration in 18 days on January 20, he, like other Presidents, will recite the following oath from Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
The above oath doesn’t contain the word "God," but most of the presidents so far have added their own statements in the end. And Barack Obama will likely use the word “so help me God”.
Recently an atheist group filed a lawsuit to prevent pastors from delivering religious prayers during Obama’s inauguration ceremony. They also want the Chief Justice to leave out the phrase “so help me God.”
That article received different perspectives on whether to have the statement God or not in the swearing-in ceremony.
Bart B. Van Bockstaele, who is an atheist, said the following:
In some ways, these prayers and "so help me God" type of affirmations are an abomination in a country that claims freedom of and from religion. They are an affront to atheists, and to believers in other religions.
In other ways, as an atheist, I have no problem saying those things. I see them as a silly part of a tradition, devoid of any meaning. The problem I see with pronouncing this stuff is that this could be taken by religionists as proof or evidence that I actually believe it, and this I do most definitely not want.
So yes, I think that it would be better to remove this stuff, for it diminishes the credibility of the person taking office, and it goes against the principles on which the US was founded.
Barbara Sowell, who believes in god, stated the following:
It’s a distortion to say that this country “claims freedom of and from religion.” Our Constitution offers blanket and unquestioning protection of religious freedom. The two clauses of the First Amendment concern the relationship of government to religion: the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. It is, however, unconstitutional for government to establish a religion. Saying prayers at an Inauguration is a far cry from “establishing a religion.”
John Rickman, who is a religious scholar but supports others rights as well said the following:
It is a violation of other people's rights to give preferential treatment to one religion over another. So would you be OK if every public event from now on began with a prayer from an Imam? If not, then it is hypocrisy to demand that a Christian do so.
When non-Christians become the majority in the next decade or so you might decide to rethink your position on separation of Church and state.
This issue of using God in the Presidential oath will be open to debate for a long time to come, but it will follow these three Digital Journal writers’ sentiments.
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