Dem-Controlled House Committee to Eliminate 'So Help You God' From Witness Oath

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, House Committee on Natural Resources chairman / Twitter
January 29, 2019

Democratic members of the House Committee on Natural Resources are in the process of eliminating the words "so help you God" from the oath witnesses recite before they testify before the panel.

A draft of the new rules package, obtained by Fox News, shows the key committee plans to ask their witnesses to recite a shorter oath: "Do you solemnly swear or affirm, under penalty of law, that the testimony that you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?"

The proposal has red brackets around the words "So help you God," indicating an intention to remove them. The committee, which has oversight of national parks, wildlife, and energy, has also proposed rule changes to expand its authority over natural gas in Alaska and fossil-fuel resources.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.), the House Republican Conference chair and a member of the natural resources committee, likened the Democratic Party to the "party of Karl Marx."

"It is incredible, but not surprising, that the Democrats would try to remove God from committee proceedings in one of their first acts in the majority," Cheney told Fox News. "They really have become the party of Karl Marx."

This isn't the first time Democrats have attempted to strike references to "God" in official party documents. The floor of the 2012 Democratic National Convention erupted with boos after a decision to restore to the platform a reference to "God" and the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The inclusion was a reversal after they initially omitted these references.

A large and loud group of delegates shouted "no" as convention chairman, then-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, called for the vote. Villaraigosa had to call for the vote three times before ruling that the "ayes" had it. Many in the crowd booed after he determined the language would be restored.

The battle marked the biggest platform fight in either party's convention, and signaled Democrats were worried the prior language could have been politically damaging in a tight election year.

A senior campaign official told Fox News at the time that then-President Obama personally intervened to change the language in both cases. On the "God" reference, the official said the president's response was, "Why did it change in the first place?"

The full natural resources committee is expected to vote on the proposed changes this week. The rules would take effect immediately if adopted.