Michael Newdow, who has sued to remove the phrase “so help me God” from the presidential oath of office, got some support from historians recently. In “No proof Washington said ‘so help me God’ — will Obama?” Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA Today reported that historians question whether the first president of the US appended the phrase “so help me God” to the end of the presidential oath of office.
A George Washington myth bites the dust: There’s no eyewitness documentation he ever added “So help me God” to the end of his constitutionally prescribed oath of office.
The oath is in the news now that California atheist activist Michael Newdow — last seen in the headlines trying to knock “Under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance (full story) — is suing to drive all mention of God out of Barack Obama’s inauguration Jan. 20. A U.S. District Court judge will hear the case next week.
Tacking this phrase onto oaths is unconscionable. It’s just another instance of how those of us who reject or question the existence of dieties have god shoved down our throats by US culture and, illegally, by the US government. I am choking on it and could do without it. Thanks, Dr. Newdow. It’d be wonderful if some orgs such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation would join the effort.
Link to Ms. Grossman’s story, at least the version I found on the Web. Link to the earlier coverage of Dr. Newdow’s efforts. For other coverage of Dr. Newdow’s position, see the Washington Post and the First Amendment Center. For objections to Mr. Newdow’s quest, see Right Pundits, Religion and Morality, Defend the Word, and Renew America.