A Democrat presidential candidate says he finds it absurd that witnesses continue to be instructed to say, “So help me God” in their oaths while testifying before Congress.
“Unfortunately, it’s been kind of a sporadic standard,” stated the Congressman who is polling at virtually zero.
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), made the comments this week on a show produced by the Freedom from Religion organization. Hosted by Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, “Free Thought Matters,” airs on Sunday. The weekly show calls itself an “antidote to religion on the airwaves and Sunday morning sermonizing” and Gaylor said Huffman is “currently the only member of Congress who openly identifies as non-religious.”
This is not the first time that Huffman has made such comments and they have never gone over well with Republicans, who have on earlier occasions accused the majority of Democrats of moving further to the left.
Talking on the show, Huffman elaborated on the issue: “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, 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.”
Jack Barlow, an expert in American political thought and constitutional law and a professor at Juniata College in Pennsylvania says that the “addition, ‘so help me God’ was made to the Presidential Oath by George Washington, apparently spontaneously, and has been used by every president since, except Herbert Hoover, who solemnly ‘affirmed’ that he would faithfully execute the duties of president.”
A draft obtained by Fox News in January showed the changed oath that the Natural Resources Committee ask witnesses to recite: “Do you solemnly swear or affirm, under penalty of law, that the testimony that you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”
The proposal replaces the words “so help you God” with “under penalty of law.” However after the committee faced adverse reactions, it voted to retain “so help you God” in the oath as part of the rules package, reported Fox News.
The office of House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo) responded to Huffman’s comments. “Liz Cheney will always defend God. Period. If that bothers Rep. Huffman, we’ll be praying for him,” Cheney’s spokesperson told Fox News.
Cheney told Fox News that the Democrats have “become the party of Karl Marx.”
“It is incredible, but not surprising, that the Democrats would try to remove God from committee proceedings in one of their first acts in the majority,” Cheney said. “They really have become the party of Karl Marx.”