Duke From Canada, joined Sep 1999, 1165 posts, RR: 2 Posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3427 times:
I have decided not to comment in the debate about George Bush taking his oath on the Bible. Instead, however, I'd like to ask a concrete question. In order for his inauguration to be valid, does he have to "swear" and end with "so help me God", or could he instead chose to repeat a non-religious version (I.E. "I, George Walker Bush, do SOLEMNLY AFFIRM...")?
In Canada, I think public officials have the choice of either swearing (a religious act) or solemnly affirming (a secular act) the promise. In the Czech Republic, the President must make a PROMISE in order to be validly president, but it's by constitutional definition a promise, not a religious oath.
As an aside question, I know that in the American military, you can either "swear" or "solemnly affirm" your promise. But are those who "solemnly affirm" exempted from saying "so help me God" at the end (In Canada they are)?
Redngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 42
Reply 2, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3400 times:
SLC is right -- anyone can "solemnly affirm" instead of swearing.
The U.S. Constitution does not specify the words "so help me God" in the Presidential oath of office. Those words have been spoken by tradition alone, starting with the first sworn President of the United States, George Washington. Any president-elect can choose not to say those words. The fact of the matter is, most Presidents have been men of faith and had no reason *not* to say them.