A committee in the House of Representatives, which is Democrat-controlled, is moving to remove a reference to God from the oath witnesses must make before testifying before the panel. The change is featured in a draft of a proposed new rules package which is expected to be approved later this week.
The draft, according to a report by Fox News, covers potential rules changes for the House Committee on Natural Resources. Witnesses testifying before the panel, should the package be approved, would be faced with the following question: “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?”
In the draft, the phrase “so help you God” is placed between red brackets, indicating that is would be removed. The phrase “under penalty of law” is printed in red text, showing that it is a proposed addition to the oath.
There are other changes in the rules as well. The phrase “his or her” would be removed throughout the document and replaced with the word “their.” “Chairman” would also be stricken from the rules, with “Chair” being used in its place.
While the phrase “so help me God” is used in many federal oaths, it isn’t mandatory in all of them. The most notable example is the presidential oath of office, which does not require the verbiage to be used during the ceremony, though it can be added.
President Donald Trump did opt to say “so help me God” when he took the oath of office.
The committee is scheduled to vote on the new wording this week. If adopted, the new rules would take effect immediately.
Some Republican leaders expressed disappointment in the proposed changes, suggesting they were a sign of a leftward shift being pushed by Democrats.
“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,” said House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney. “They really have become the party of Karl Marx.”