Over at the African-American Literature Book Club, I’m participating in a discussion about a lawsuit filed seeking to stop Obama from saying “so help me God” during his inauguration on Tuesday:
“Supporters of a strict interpretation of the separation of Church and State in the United States have filed a lawsuit seeking an end of the use of the term “so help me God” during President-elect Barack Obama’s 20 January 2009 inaugural ceremony – writes Chris Herlinger.
The lawsuit, initiated by groups of US atheists and humanists, also wants an end to the practice of prayer and invocations at public events.”
In this discussion, I commented that until we have an atheist president, this inaugural tradition would go unchallenged. Another commenter noted that we’ve already had atheist presidents–they just haven’t been honest about it–and he provided this link to Famous Atheists, Free Thinkers, Diests, and Agnostics.
That got me to thinking what those earlier presidents said–or didn’t say–when they were sworn in. All I could find was this from the Ekklesia article sourced below:
“Historians are divided as to whether earlier US presidents, including George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, used the phrase. “