Skip to comments.'SO HELP ME GOD': Stenehjem backs words in Obama's swearing-in oath
Posted on 01/09/2009 2:58:22 PM PST by shielagolden
'SO HELP ME GOD': Stenehjem backs words in Obama's swearing-in oath Dale Wetzel, Associated Press Published Friday, January 09, 2009
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is opposing a federal lawsuit that seeks to block Chief Justice John Roberts from saying, "So help me God," when he concludes the Jan. 20 swearing in of Barack Obama as president.
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (Herald file photo by John Stennes) RELATED CONTENT Article comments (13) A group of atheists filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia last month, contending Roberts would violate the U.S. Constitution's prohibition of a national establishment of religion if he utters the phrase.
If Obama himself says, "So help me God," at the end of the oath, he should do so without prompting from Roberts, the lawsuit says. One of its plaintiffs is Michael Newdow, who has unsuccessfully challenged the inclusion of the phrase, "under God," in the Pledge of Allegiance.
All 50 of the nation's state attorneys general signed a brief in the case urging the federal court to deny the atheists' request for a preliminary injunction.
"Prayers and oaths invoking God have been incorporated into public inaugural ceremonies throughout our nation's history, and at every level of government," the attorneys general say in their brief.
"Public acknowledgments of God, and the prominent role of religion in American life, have permeated our institutions of government since the founding, and have been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court," the brief says.
North Dakota is one of at least 20 states that include references to God in oaths of office that are part of their state constitutions, Stenehjem said Thursday.
"This is a tradition that has gone on here in North Dakota since we became a state," Stenehjem said. "There was never an intention in adopting the First Amendment that there would be a total obliteration of any reference to our religious heritage in the United States."
The North Dakota Constitution's preamble also declares: "We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain and establish this constitution."
The atheists' lawsuit notes that "So help me God" is not part of the U.S. Constitution's specified oath for the president of the United States.
"Planning to watch the inaugural ceremonies, but wishing to avoid any government-sponsored religious dogma ... plaintiffs are placed in the untenable position of having to choose between not watching the presidential inauguration or being forced to countenance endorsements of purely religious notions that they expressly deny," the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit also seeks to block prayers during the inaugural ceremony by Rick Warren, pastor of one of the nation's largest churches, and the Rev. Joseph Lowery, a civil rights leader and founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
During the presidential campaign, Warren hosted a forum with Obama and Republican John McCain at his Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. The two candidates answered Warren's questions about moral issues and faith
And if he gets his own way, he would be forcing non-atheists to do the precise thing that he's objecting to.
Probably about time America declares atheism to be against the law. It would be easier that way.
Newdow at it again. ugh.
I’m rather sure Obama would feel most at home saying “Allah”.
Roberts: So help me God.
Obama: So help me God; okay Roberts, you’re under arrest!
Flash forward to the image of Newdow bowing at the feet of The Lord.
ok.. so what happens if 0bama bursts into flames upon setting his hand on the bible?
what if lightning were to strike him upon saying ‘so help me G-d’?
i’m just asking...