‘So Help Me God’, by William Federer

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By William Federer, Patriot Post, Dec. 14, 2020

What is the purpose of an oath?

On February 28, 2019, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) was swearing in witnesses before a House Judiciary Subcommittee.

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) made a point of parliamentary inquiry: “I think we left out ‘so help me God.’”

Cohen replied: “We did.”

Johnson asked “Can we have the witnesses do it again for the record?”

Cohen responded: “No,” then added: “If they want to do it, but some of them don’t want to do it, and I don’t think it’s necessary, and I don’t like to assert my will over other people.”

Johnson responded:

“Well it goes back to our founding history, it’s been part of our tradition for more than two centuries and I don’t know that we should abandon it now.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) interrupted:

“If any witness objects he should not be asked to identify himself. We do not have religious tests for office or for anything else … and we should let it go with that.”  ….

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