Swearing on the Koran or the Bible? How About “Affirming?”
Congressman Virgil Goode Jr., a Republican from
The Constitution requires oaths in two places. First, it specifies the oath of office the President must take: 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.
Second, it provides that all other state and federal officeholders “shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the
Note the careful secularism of both provisions. Neither refers to God, both provide non-believers the opportunity to “affirm” rather than “swear” their support for the Constitution, and the general oath provides further that there shall be no religious test for office.
Now consider the oath, prescribed by statute, that all new members of Congress, including Representative Ellison, must actually take. It states:
I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.