House Democrat calls it 'unconstitutional' to cite God in hearing oaths

Rep. Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanDemocrats reach cusp of impeachment Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Pelosi heading to Madrid for UN climate change convention MORE (D-Calif.) said this week that requiring witnesses testifying before Congress to affirm an oath to God is “unconstitutional.”

“It’s unconstitutional to require a witness in congressional testimony to affirm an oath to a deity they may not even believe in or to affirm an oath to a singular deity when you might be a polytheistic Hindu for example,” Huffman said during an interview on The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “Freethought Matters” program.

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“It’s just preposterous."

Huffman also said that congressional committees have a “sporadic standard” for including God in their oaths.

The California Democrat, who sits on the House Natural Resources Committee, said dropping the oath or allowing those who testify before the panel to voluntarily say it was proposed, for example. 

Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Apple reportedly dropped plans to let iPhone users encrypt backups | Justices decline facial recognition case | Critics fear Facebook losing misinformation fight | Truce on French tech tax MORE just went ballistic," Huffman said, referring to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the House Republican Conference chairwoman.

"She smelled blood in the water, went on Fox News and started ranting about how Democrats were dropping God from the Congress," he added.

A spokesperson for Cheney told Fox News that she "will always defend God. Period. If that bothers Rep. Huffman, we’ll be praying for him."

Fox noted that Rep. Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules White House appoints GOP House members to advise Trump's impeachment team Five lingering questions as impeachment heads to Senate MORE (R-La.) has criticized Democrats this year for excluding the “so help me God” phrase from oaths, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerSusan Collins asked Justice Roberts to intervene after Nadler late-night 'cover-up' accusation Nadler gets under GOP's skin Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on MORE (N.Y.) and Rep. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira Cohen2019 in Photos: 35 pictures in politics Gabbard under fire for 'present' vote on impeachment Gabbard votes 'present' on impeaching Trump MORE (Tenn.), the chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.