The naturalization oath is taken by every person becoming a citizen of the United States.
Atheists – in their continuing attempt to remove all mention of God from the public forum – sued to have the phrase “so help me God” removed from the naturalization oath. This case was heard by the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to determine whether this mention of “God” violates the rights of atheists.
A federal lawsuit was brought by atheist Olga Paule Perrier-Bilbo in 2017 who moved to the United States from France and applied for naturalized citizenship in 2008.
The court ruled,
We follow the Supreme Court’s most recent framework that apply American Legion’s presumption of constitutionality to the phrase “so help me God” in the naturalization oath because we consider the inclusion of similar words to be a ceremonial, longstanding practice as an optional means of completing an oath.”
The court further noted,
And because the record does not demonstrate a discriminatory intent in maintaining those words in the oath or “deliberate disrespect” by the inclusion of the words, Perrier-Bilbo cannot overcome the presumption.
Mr. Perrier-Bilbo argued that
whether the use of the phrase is rooted in history and tradition is not a legitimate way to assess if the oath in its current form is constitutional
She further alleged,
By its very nature, an oath that concludes “so help me God” is asserting that God exists.
Accordingly, the current oath violates the first ten words of the Bill of Rights, and to participate in a ceremony which violates that key portion of the United States Constitution is not supporting or defending the Constitution as the oath demands.
To be clear, the phrase “so help me God” is optional in the Oath of Allegiance of the United States. The oath itself – for those of us who were born in American and who did not have to take this oath – reads,
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service to the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose evasion; so help me God.
Some Democratic leaders in Congress have removed the phrase “so help me God” from any swearing-in ceremonies before them believing such a statement does not belong in Congress.
I think God belongs in religious institutions: in temple, in church, in cathedral, in mosque — but not in Congress.
This statement was uttered by Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.
He further noted,
What Republicans are doing is using God. And God doesn’t want to be used.
Franklin Graham noted this a backward statement,
Why has the Democratic party turned its back on God. We need more of God, not less! What @RepCohen is suggesting is what Communism did in Eastern Europe & is still doing in places around the world like Cuba. Communism only allows worship inside approved churches.
God is our Creator & the maker of the universe. He is present everywhere. He is not limited to churches or temples. The root of the issue is that many politicians don’t want God in any part of their politics or
The removal of “so help me God” from the oath is a reflection of progressive separation of this country from its foundational roots as a religious, Christian nation.
The Founders realized that this nation could not function as a republic unless it was founded on religious principles, and believed likely it would gradually resolve into tyranny otherwise.
We are seeing the realization of this fear where Christian principals are ridiculed and belittled as the country slides away from a republic toward federal, central rule. The Founding Fathers recognized centralized rule would result in progressive abuse and tyranny. The further removal of government from the people would lead to abuse with loss of freedoms.