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3 Bumps

So help me god

This should really be in politics, but it will just get recatted over here anyway, so saving the trouble

Should the oath of office for elected officials end with the line "so help me god"

(and for the record, it currently does - that was the last line of the oath taken by Boehner an hour ago)


Asked by NotPanicking at 3:01 PM on Jan. 5, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (25)
  • On one hand, it's dragging religion into state, on the other it's breaking the rules of religion...what is the purpose of it being included at all? If they are choosing to do something that is against their religion as a symbol of their religion, isn't it rather pointless?


    Great question!! Too bad no one has addressed it yet. I'd be curious to know what everyone's take is on Matthew 5 too. I wasn't even thinking about it from that perspective, and it's a good point considering how many people statistically would follow those teachings. I just thought about keeping religion out of state business, not endorsing any particular religions, and allowing individuals to practice whatever religion they choose. That is odd that so many would want to add that phrase if it's against their teachings.

    On thinkatheist, someone suggested that 'On my honor' might be a good substitute for 'so help me God'. Sounds good to me!

    Answer by pam19 at 10:56 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • Because the seperation of church and state I think it should not be in there....Also if someone was taking the oath that does not believe in god then they should not have to say that....

    Answer by Shelii at 3:06 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • I've wondered this, too. If, for some reason, I had to give testimony in court, for example, and was asked to swear on a bible or to say "so help me god", it would be meaningless to me. If I'm inclined to tell the truth, which I am, then having a book or a phrase to repeat won't make me more truthful. . . and if I'm inclined to lie, it wouldn't matter then, either. The assumption is that the person who is being sworn in believes in a god and a bible which would make the oath more binding, I suppose. I really don't see the sense in it, whether for believers in Christianity, or for those who aren't. 


    Answer by jsbenkert at 3:35 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • If it's written in the oath, it should be removed. Period. If an elected official chooses to add it during his/her oath, then there would be no problem with that. But to fulfill an oath, it must be stated in its complete form. How should an elected official respond to the prompt "so help me god" if they either do not believe or choose to not say it? Silence? Like pnwmom mentioned, that would be political suicide. I believe in god myself, and I would be uncomfortable saying "so help me god". Here in Texas, the state's constitution states that any elected official must have a belief in a supreme being (I don't know it verbatim, but along those lines). It's discriminatory and archaic.

    Answer by KelleyP77 at 9:34 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • Based on everything I'm seeing I think it's optional. I saw a couple articles that Obama requested to add it to his oath. There's debate whether Washington said it in his oath, but most seem to say he didn't. Based on my personal interpretation of the First Amendment, I don't even think it should be there. Based on what I see in Article 6 of the Constitution, I don't think they could force someone to say it even if they leave it there. Wouldn't that be like a religious test?

    From Article VI, U.S. Constitution:
    ".....shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

    Answer by pam19 at 4:26 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • Ah but we all know there would be A LOT of busy bodies that would have a hissy fit if they did not hear the "so help me God" Not saying it is almost political suicide. I don't think it should even be an option to say it because of separation of church and state.


    Answer by pnwmom at 7:00 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • I don't think it should be in there because of the whole separation of church and state thing. But then again, it's not like it's a big deal since most likely it's meaningless to all who say it... including those who do believe in God.

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 8:07 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • so long as its not a forced thing and someone can choose not to say it, i dont see a problem. the govt is not supposed to force any religion, but it doesnt have the power to prevent others from adding religion if they so chose. separation of church and state was intended to keep the govt out of religious issues and religious issues out of the has nothing to do with how ppl in the govt live their lives or what they deem important.

    Answer by okmanders at 8:37 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • do you think they shouldnt because they lie or because of separation from church and state?

    Answer by pookipoo at 3:04 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • I do believe it's a choice whether or not to use it. Jerry Brown did NOT when he took the oath on Monday. I THINK he was sworn in with a Bible but I'm not certain.

    Answer by gdiamante at 3:10 PM on Jan. 5, 2011