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First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Deputy General Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, once a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
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Aug 5, 2019

Saying “So help me God” at the end of the oath is a part of our country’s history and tradition. Removing it is taking away the acknowledgement of accountability outside oneself. Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.


Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives recently decided to remove the phrase, “so help me God” from the end of the oath.

Witnesses appearing before Congress now end the oath that they will bear truthful witness before the body without invoking anything higher than themselves or the politicians they face.  Call it a “Congressional pinky promise.”

Representative Steve Cohen told the New York Times, “I think God belongs in religious institutions: in temple, in church, in cathedral, in mosque — but not in Congress.”

George Washington tagged the phrase “so help me God” to the end of his initial oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City.  The tradition stuck and eventually became part of federal law in 1966.

In other words, like “In God We Trust”and “God Bless America”and the Pledge of Allegiance’s “under God,”the phrase “so help me God” is part of our history and tradition. 

But, beyond history and tradition, acknowledging accountability outside oneself, or the men and women assembled on the dais of a congressional hearing room, is important in our republican democracy.  In other words, the use of the phrase “so help me God” acknowledges there is something to which each of us are accountable beyond ourselves and beyond government. 

When we proudly reject these limitations upon our authority, we assert ourselves as an authority unto ourselves. 

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

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