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House Democrat calls it ‘unconstitutional’ to cite God in hearing oaths

Greg Nash

Rep. Jared Huffman (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.

{mosads}“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 Cheney 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 Johnson (R-La.) has criticized Democrats this year for excluding the “so help me God” phrase from oaths, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.), the chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Tags Jared Huffman Jerrold Nadler Jerry Nadler Liz Cheney Mike Johnson Steve Cohen
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