After obtaining an exclusive draft of the House of Representatives’ new rules package, Fox News has reported that a “key committee in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is moving to eliminate the God reference from the oath administered to witnesses testifying before the panel, as part of a new rules package expected to be approved this week.”
The draft obtained by Fox states that the House Committee on Natural Resources would only ask witnesses, “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 rules proposal places the words “so help you God” in red brackets, indicating they are slated to be cut. The words “under penalty of law” are in red text, indicating that Democrats propose to add that phrasing to the oath.
The draft rules also remove the phrase “his or her” throughout the document, changing those two pronouns to “their.” The rules additionally modify all references to the committee’s “Chairman” to instead refer only to the committee’s “Chair.”
Other rules changes relate to expanding the committee’s authority over natural gas in Alaska and fossil-fuel resources.
While many federal oaths include the phrase “so help me God,” some — most notably the presidential oath of office — do not.
The new language is set to be voted on by the full committee this week. The new rules would go into effect immediately if voted on. On Monday, other committees were still working on finalizing their rules.
Republican leaders were not pleased about the Democrats’ proposed change.
“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,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney said to Fox News. She continued, “They really have become the party of Karl Marx.”
When Fox requested a statement from the Natural Resources Committee, they declined to respond. Democratic Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva heads the committee, which is in charge of national parks, wildlife, and energy, according to Fox.
The Democrats have been trying to remove God from official party documents for a while now. Back in 2012, a move to “restore to the platform a reference to God and recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital” was made at the Democratic National Convention, according to Fox News.
Fox reports, “A large and loud group of delegates shouted ‘no’ as the 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.”