There has been a lot of talk lately about the specific wording used in the Presidential Oath of Office that President-Elect Obama will recite on January 20th. A lawsuit was filed in an effort to prevent any mention of God in the traditional “so help me God” line of many swearings in. President-Elect Obama has filed an affidavit stating his preference to include the aforementioned phrase in his swearing in.
What are your thoughts? Vote in the poll in the left sidebar and comment with any additional thoughts on the subject.
3 thoughts on “New Poll: Presidential Oath of Office Verbiage”
Personally, I would prefer it not to be there at all. However, I do think it is a personal choice for the President-Elect. If I recall correctly, it really is not a part of the official swearing in to office. (If I am wrong, please correct me.)
I kind of view the expression as a colloquialism, more of the subset of faith-driven people than of the typical subset of localization. So I get this weird feeling that barring someone from saying it just because I don’t like it is just as bad as someone wanting to make it official just because they think it’s necessary.
I guess my stance is that religious expression is a personal choice and should not be regulated (not banned nor obligated) by the government.
Have at it, Mr. Obama. To me it is a meaningless expression, but if you feel you need to pay homage to Mr. Sky-Daddy Voyeur… Harumph.
You are correct that it is not officially part of the oath of office, but every president since Washington has added it. One might argue that a president of even little faith would still leave it in to avoid the backlash of bad publicity following being the first president NOT to include the passage.
“every president since Washington”
Actually, this is not the case. The first recorded instance of “so help me god” being added to the end of the Presidential oath of office was in 1881 by Chester A. Arthur. There is nothing in any historical record to suggest that any president has said “so help me god” before this.
Though I believe Obama to be delusional in his belief in a supreme being, I believe in his freedom to believe and express his faith as he desires so long as he acts in a Constitutional manner. If he wants to say “so help me god” with his hand on Lincoln’s bible, go for it. However, I believe that having the Chief Justice of the Supreme court say “repeat after me. . . so help me god” crosses the line of separation of church and state. That line is not a part of the oath of office and the appending of that suggests that the person taking the oath is required to say it as one of his responsibilities.
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