For those of you don't know, before Obama's inauguration, Mike Newdow (and 39 others), joined with the AHA, and filed a lawsuit to exclude the religious elements of the inauguration. You can read the complaint: Here

According to the US Constitution, Article II, Section I, each President must recite the following oath:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

It is a common misconception that the tradition of adding the words, "So help me God," were started by George Washington. However this is not the case. Thus, Newdow's lawsuit charges that Chief Justices do not have the right to add religious phrases when administering that oath.

It should not be a surprise that the preliminary injunction was denied, but the fight goes on. Newdow is now looking for 1,000 for individuals to join him as plaintiffs.

Mike has asked that the members of Atheist Nexus please consider joining him.

Below is an excerpt from an email he sent me:

We are trying to enlarge the list of plaintiffs in the lawsuit. We want to counter the notion that only a few people care about the fact that the Chief Justice of the United States, without any authority whatsoever, alters the text as it is prescribed in the Constitution when he adds "so help me God" to the presidential oath of office. Especially when done in a ceremony where multiple (Christian) clergy lead the audience in prayers to God, we think these practices should stop.

Such activities violate the first ten words of the Bill of Rights. They send the message to the godless community that they are political outsiders, and further the sense of superiority of the monotheistic majority. They result in the prejudices that always stem from such governmental favoritism. More than 30% of the American public thinks Atheists are immoral! Does anyone really believe that the constant governmental reminders that we are "one Nation under God" and that "In God We Trust" have nothing to do with the perpetuation of that bias?

If anyone wishes to join in this quest for equality, simply go to

and follow the instructions. Though there is still time, you will need to hurry - the deadline is Sunday, February 22.

Thank you.

- Mike

We have spent a lot of time on this site discussing and debating whether Atheist Nexus could make a difference. Here is an opportunity.

Brother Richard

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Another good article about George Washington and the oath:“So Help Me God”: A George Washington Myth that Should Be Discarded.
Already filed my declaration. Come on folks, lets start setting some precedent of our own!
Did mine of course. Even mailed hard copy today =)
I will support this action as much as possible as a Canadian, however, will Canadian input have any impact in the issue? My guess is that in this case it won't. Do you have any suggestions for a disheartened atheist Canuck that would like to respond?
Good question.

Signed... Another Canuck
From what I have been told, anyone can sign up. Go for it.
Assuming the authority requiring such a ritual still exists in the near future, I suppose it would make an acceptable alternative contingency, should we fail.
you can stick it in the hand of an attorney, but that don't mean it will stand up in court. I would go after the faith based initiatives that our president don't have the guts to go after. this issue is not semantics, like the phrase so help me god coming from the mouth of a deist like washington, or anybody else for that matter. but the establishment clause expressly forbids public resources i.e. taxpayer money prop up religion.
You can stick it in the hand of an attorney, but that don't mean it will stand up in court. I would like to see someone go after the Faith Based initiatives. This is what I call a red meat issue. The establishment clause expressly forbid public resources i.e. taxpayer money from being used to prop up religious schemes. Our president had better grow a pair.
Brother Richard. I hope you win, but I gotta tell you you won't get in the front door. The battle I would pick is the faith based initiatives that our president don't have the guts to get rid of. Who did add "so help me god"?
russell asks:
***"Who did add "so help me god"?***
Well, at Obama's inauguration it was Chief Justice Roberts. Had it been Obama adding it without prodding it would not be an issue. But what really, REALLY, pissed me off was the smirky, questioning manner that Roberts used, almost challenging the Pres elect... "so help you God??? Like a slap at the faith free who advocate for a secular government. And this coming on the heels of him screwing up the oath right out of the box. Like he was thinking about the end of the oath before his mouth started moving to administer it. Watch the video. It almost made me lose sleep....almost.
First, I need to point out that this is not my battle. I posted it here because I was asked to do so, and I support the cause.

Concerning your faith based question, the lawsuit was filed before Obama's inauguration. I agree that this should be fought as well. The same goes for "Under God" in the pledge, and "In God We Trust" on the money (both of which were not added until the 1950s). All of these (including the oath issue) do nothing but solidify the lie that America was founded as a Christian nation.

No one knows exactly which President was the first to say, "So help me God." It is believed that it was Chester A. Arthur. It was something he added, but it was not a part of the oath and was not first said by the Chief Justice.

It is also worth pointing out:

Herbert Hoover simply replied, "I do."

Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in with an uplifted hand and not a Bible.

John Quincy Adams (son of John Adams) swore on a book of law.




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