Congressional Oaths Affirming ‘God’ Are ‘Preposterous,’ House Democrat Says
A House Democrat is criticizing the inclusion of “so help me God” in congressional oaths, saying it’s both unconstitutional and “preposterous” to force everyone to affirm such a belief.
U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (Calif.), who is the only non-religious member of Congress, told the television show Freethought Matters that his Democratic colleagues “backed down” on the issue earlier this year. Freethought Matters is produced by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
“Well, unfortunately, it’s been kind of a sporadic standard,” Huffman said of including “so help me God” in oaths.
“Some committees have dropped the oath, others have not,” he said. “I sit on the Natural Resources Committee and in our original proposed rules for the committee [this year], we proposed that we drop the oath or we allow witnesses to simply say it voluntarily if they chose to, which to me makes perfect sense.”
But then, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and others “went ballistic,” he said.
“Unfortunately, my Democratic colleagues backed down,” he said. “… It’s unconstitutional to require a witness in congressional testimony to affirm an oath to a deity they may not even believe in or to affirm an oath to a singular deity when you might be a polytheistic Hindu for example. It’s just preposterous. … It strains credulity.”
Huffman, who was raised Mormon, calls himself a “humanist,” although his beliefs are similar if not identical to atheism.
“Atheism seems to bring with it the
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