OMG They Screwed Up the Oath of Office!


I am rolling of the floor laughing (ROFL). If you didn’t see it, watch the YouTube Video.

(He totally made up for it with the speech, of course.)

You may also note two precious moments earlier in the day:

1) When George Herbert Walker Bush was coming out to the stage and walking between the marine guards, he slapped one of the guards on the ass.

2) When George Bush (our newly formered president)’s image was first shown to the crowd before he came out, the crowd started singing that song … “Hey hey hey, good bye…” (You know the song.)

Oh, and Rick Warren. Gag me.

Oh, from the speech: “We are a nation of bla bla bla and unbelievers.”


Very pro science talk.

There is some live blogging going on here .

Nice poem.

Benediction. Ick.

Two men go in, one comes out. And gets in a helicopter and flies away. Magic. Good bye, you fucking bastard.

As the bush helicopter is flying off, the crowd has broken out again in song: Hey hey hey, good bye!!!!!!

From now on I totally love that song.

Uffda. The third major religulous event is now underway at the post-inaugural lunch.

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0 thoughts on “OMG They Screwed Up the Oath of Office!

  1. Right. Bla bla bla, and Non Believers.

    Usually it’s This Religion and That Religion and Some Other Religion and bla bla bla. I chose to reverse the verbal imagery. For one thing, this makes the Zoarasterians feel better.

    Oh, look, the helicopter is taking off. Good bye, george.

  2. Can’t decide if I’m more annoyed by Rick Warren and his one-time appearance at the inauguration or Lawrence Summers’s ongoing role in the Obama administration. You know, what with his “wimminz is all stoopid with teh maths” attitude and all.

  3. Summers is a very smart economist who is a total moron when it comes to politics and society, and although he can be very personable he has the Harvard Hubris big time. I can think of a long list of people who could be playing his role as well or better who do not have that mark on their records, including a number of women.

  4. I know Warren didn’t say non-believers. I meant that somebody should have told him that Obama was going to include all those “others” in the speech, since Warren’s only “diversity” was to say “in the name of Jesus” in several languages.

  5. I need to see it again, but my impression was it was Roberts who messed it up and Obama was trying to figure out if he should say it as written or as Roberts misread.

    For that matter, Roberts’ pause moments were absolutely and utterly wrong for that oath which already threw Obama off for a start. Dude Roberts, there are public speaking classes for that sort of thing.

    Makes me wonder if he’d have screwed it up if it had been McCain standing there with him.

  6. Robert’s flub shows that the poor guy is tired and overworked. Maybe we need 11 or 13 on the Supreme Court.

    (Hey, it worked for FDR when he needed some “minds concentrated” over there – think of this as a pre-emptive strike for the Obama.)

  7. Robert’s flub shows that the poor guy is tired and overworked. Maybe we need 11 or 13 on the Supreme Court.

    Hey, it worked for FDR when he needed some “minds concentrated” over there. Think of this as a pre-emptive strike for Obama, and the rest of us. I’d really like to have the 4th Amendment back.

  8. Minor point of correction:

    That guard was not a Marine. He was a member of the United States Army’s Old Guard, an elite and prestigious unit with a long and storied history.

    There was of course another abuse of the oath of office, not accidental and much more insidious. That’s the addition of “So help you god?” at the end.

  9. The oath is spoken exactly as written (give or take today’s flub), and signed exactly as written.

    “So Help Me God” is a perfectly valid under the right to free expression. It in no way interrupts actual oath of office as proscribed, so the President still swears (or affirms) it lawfully. I do not accept the argument that feeling pressured to say it is per se a violation of the “no religious test for office” clause. the pressure may come from the media and the people, but it does not come from the law as enforced or written.

    Yes, one can fully expect the media machine to go nutso the first time a President doesn’t say it, but that too is first amendment protected (just as the Deists and Rationalists were annoyed when Washington added it to start the tradition). they can rant about it all they want. what I won’t let them do if it is my power to stop it is to amend the constitution to make it permanent and effectively undo the “no test” clause.

  10. The issue, Joe, is not whether the President says it. The issue is that it should not be offered by the Chief Justice in an official governmental capacity as an addition to the oath as given word for word in the Constitution.

    It is most certainly an establishment clause violation.

  11. Each branch of the service has varying styles of uniforms for different occasions. There are times when several or all branches are involved in a very formal ceremony (such as an inauguration or the placing of a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns), and the uniforms are deliberately similar for traditions of unity.

    Because the Marine Corps’ standard dress blue uniform is nearly black to begin with, and is much more ubiquitous than any of the extremely formal uniforms we are talking about, it is not unusual for any service member in the super-formal uniform of their branch to be mistaken for a Marine by the general public.

  12. acceptable points, both.

    On the issue of the justice saying it, I would “compromise” that if the inauguration team requested the justice to say it on behalf of the President then it would be acceptable. If there was no prior agreement to add it for the day and the justice said it anyway out of tradition, then it is questionable. And certainly if an incoming requests it be omitted (which would have to happen after this many centuries of ritual) and the justice says it anyways, well it’s both unconstitutional and the justice is being a prick.

    on Washington’s alleged expressions of faith being inflated, “good point”. 🙂

  13. Can someone (Greg) please delete comment comment 1334035 as being irrelevant, insulting, and offensive.

    I am willing to own up to disagreements in history by those willing to cite facts or alternatives (as I clearly did). The comment by “eddie” on the other hand is utterly un-called for.

  14. So the claim that the flubbed oath nullifies Obama’s presidency works its way up through the courts, and reaches the Supreme Court.

    How will Justice Roberts vote?

  15. Okay, I’m curious. What consideration outweighs the lesson of eddie having people who usually agree with him (at least somewhat, assuming this is the same eddie) tell him he’s made himself look like an ass?

  16. It could be a two-fer, a “Let’s You And Him Fight”, smearing one blogger under the false-flag of another blogger’s name. Greg, what does IP origin indicate?

  17. Eddie: For shame.


    “You should be ashamed! Stop blogging. Stop blogging right now!”

    — Ivy Frye

  18. I consider the indoctrination of children to be child abuse. Further, I think that religion is not primarily about whether there is a god, but about earthly power. Those who support religion abuse us all, and children are the least able to defend themselves. Preying on the weak is the most despicable cowardice.
    Why is this not obvious to you?

  19. It in no way interrupts actual oath of office as proscribed, so the President still swears (or affirms) it lawfully.

    Uh, Joe? I think you mean prescribed here. Using the word “proscribed” completely reverses the meaning. Sorry, pet language peeve. Ranks right up there with “All X are not” when what’s meant is “Not all X are.”

  20. Or maybe when I said abuse you assumed I meant sexual abuse. Not necessarily. A lot of religion does involve that but, even when a child is raped, it is mainly about power.

    Did you know that the army is using viagra to buy the support of afghan tribal leaders with child ‘brides’?
    I heard that from BBC and don’t know if it was reported in USA.

  21. Eddie,

    Perhaps you could provide evidence that he is even involved in religion.

    You simply showed up and threw an accusation out there with no support or context whatsoever. I can’t say I disagree with you about religion, but you’ve not provided any link from religion to the person you are accusing.

  22. Thank you, Lou FCD. Trying to figure out “abuse” from this terse commentary was bad enough (with *neither* of the interpretations proposed so far being what was seemingly intended) certainly isn’t easy. I merely said that one interpretation (that of an agreement between the Justice and the President) might allow for the use of the phrase by the Justice. On this we disagreed, though I see your point and I respect it. Lawyers I’m sure would have a field day mincing words on it, except of course that the Supreme Court could never agree that anybody might actually have standing to sue on this (so much for redress of grievances).

    I do agree that on general principle freedom from establishment trumps freedom of expression by any government official when the two are in conflict. I’m just not as convinced as you that we have establishment in this case.

    On the other hand, NONE of that should have implied that I am pro-religion or pro-establishment (“eddie”‘s seeming explanation), nevermind “pro abortion” (which was Greg’s original interpretation). The comment remains inaccurate and inappropriate to me or my contributions, irrelevant to the discussion as a whole, and offensive to myself and all reading here.

  23. To relate to the topic of the thread: President Obama was elected by us and his power and legitimacy come from us. The distortion of the oath makes it no longer an oath to us but to something else. Those expressing support for the distortion are attempting to steal power and legitimacy. To rob us of our self determination. It is this I objected to.
    The reason to oppose such as Warren, etc is not that they are unpleasant people, but that they seek to gain illegitimate power over us.

  24. Hello, long time reader, first time commenter.

    Now keep in mind that I am a mere adolescent who has yet to experience the hardships and enlightenment of academia that you have. However, I must confess that I have a conflicting opinion with you regarding the inauguration ceremony.

    You don’t honestly believe that poem was any good do you?
    It seemed to suck the emotion out of the festivities after Obama’s riveting speech (I pretty much left after the “take out your pencils” line). It just seemed so contrived and pretentious to me.

  25. “So help me god” doesn’t bother me. “Under god” bothers me. One is a personal plea to his god, while the other indicates the entire nation is under the control of a god. As I see it.

  26. If freedom of expression were the issue, President Obama could have followed the oath with “…and get those superbowl seats warmed up.” or recited a verse from the Bob The Builder song.
    That js claimed FoE validated him adding a particular phrase that is a) overtly religious and b) contradictory to the ‘protect and defend the constitution’ bit, I took as an, albeit subtle, attempt to insert a religious wedge between president and people. This I consider support for abuse.
    I’m glad that since then js has asserted that freedom from establishment out weighs FoE.

    But I wonder; does FoE give license to break any promise? There are those who claim an oath is by definition to god. Most consider it to be to a ‘higher power’. I think the community is that higher power.

  27. We had a small discussion over at Dispatches about the “So help you God?” part of CJ Roberts’ oath “administration.” According to an affidavit filed by Roberts in response to the Newdow case, Obama asked CJ Roberts to add in the “So help me God” part. Roberts said he would. Instead, Roberts flubbed/decided to change it to an interrogative. To me, it sounded much more like, “are you sure you’re asking for the Lord’s assistance? I don’t believe you…” which was just unnecessary.

  28. I think we’re all clear on the fact that the (then) President Elect asked Roberts to put it there.

    The fact that he requested it is immaterial, near as I can tell. If the residents of a county request that a display of the Ten Commandments be installed behind the judge’s bench in a courtroom, does that make it Constitutional?

    If the residents of a school district vote to replace Science with Creationism, is it then Constitutional?

  29. I still don’t get “abuse” at all. You’re still making a HUGE unproven step between establishment (even subtle) and abuse, that I think few would follow you on. Yes, *some* religions have practices that I consider abusive, but so do some secular practices.

    I also don’t see how that moment of expression drives a “wedge” between President and People when 90% of the people claim to believe.

    ShawnSmith: Roberts flubbed a lot more than just that. 🙂

    Lou FCD I’m still not convinced the scenario today and the two examples you just posted are comparable. There may be an argument from analogy that’s valid, but those two aren’t really it.

    Now, the use of the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew Chapter 5 (translated by King James’s commission in 1605 and modified soon after for use in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer) specifically in Warren’s invocation I thought was way the heck out of line.

  30. To clarify re: Warren.

    It’s more than the idea that state sponsored prayer is an Establishment violation. (though that’s an issue)

    Warren specifically is a divisive, hate-mongering, Phreaky Phred Phelps in a tie, despicable excuse for a human being and is counter to everything this administration has told us it stands for.

  31. In looking at the Lemon test (one criteria for first amendment issues, though not the only) in a little more detail, I found I was focusing too much on items 2 (advancing a religious position) and 3 (excessive entanglement). Your examples are clear violations of those two, particularly the second.

    What was not clear to me was whether or not “so help me God” is also advancing a specific religious position. I don’t believe it does. That is why the comparisons seem to me to be lacking.

    The issue I’ve since hit is looking at the other two clauses of Lemon. The collusion between Roberts and Obama for putting the line there is borderline on “entanglement” – having to wrestle with semantics like lawyers to justify it means acknowledging that it may be more entangled than is appropriate, and it was under that where I was disagreeing with you in trying to resolve what that borderline might be*.

    However, there’s that all-important first clause: the action [legislation, but the sentiment applies beyond that word] must have a secular purpose. Here, your position is clearly in the right: there is no *secular* reason why any public ceremony of office should ever have “so help me God” officially in it. Agreeing with Newman’s otherwise pointless lawsuit of last month, and an earlier statement I made, it might be OK for the President to add it on his/her own, but Constitutionally, Roberts was in the wrong to have prompted it, even upon request or agreement.

    * It was in suggesting a particular borderline that got “eddie” to assume I was pro-religious with all of the backlash that happened here – would that he chose his words more carefully and not echoed the hate-rhetoric of the Religious Right. I was suggesting it as an idea that came to mind, not because I was in any way interested in encouraging establishment of any type. It is possible, nee necessary, to discuss things objectively, which I was trying to do. From “Day of Prayer” bills signed by Washington and Adams (and even one by Madison, under pressure) to “God Bless America” being sung (badly) on the Capital Steps by Congress, this country has a history of justifying accommodation legally after the fact, and I was attempting to discern if there was some justification that could be used and throwing the idea out there for legitimate discussion. In spite of eddie’s inflammatory remark, that discussion has happened, and I thank you.

  32. My main concern was not with the letter of the establishment clause. Warren’s stuff was obviously against this. I am concerned that the oath itself is meaningless if is can be contradicted in the following sentence and indeed if the oath is a promise to those who put the president in office, or to something/someone else.

    I too followed the debate on dispatches and the religionists position was that it was freedom of expression and harmless. That that argument was rehashed here seemed to me an example of a standard apologist tactic when they lose a debate; to pretend the debate never happened and restate their original case.

    I’m sorry, js, that you had become associated with these people in my perception.

  33. I would suggest this reality, though: the more one tries to remove religious expression from any official aspect of the ceremony, the more “God” you’re going to hear in the speech itself. Keep it up and it will turn into a sermon, not a stance for real, unified American ideals.

  34. The oath is from the president to the citizens of the country. In essence the citizens are giving the president authorization to act for them and the president is promising to act as the citizens have instructed through the laws established by the citizen’s representatives.

    Roberts congratulated Obama after the exchange regarding the offensive phrase, that is where they are making the error. They are not in a position to legally alter the promise that is made to the citizens of the country. If they want the oath changed they need to ask the citizen’s representatives to consider and adopt the change. Which leads to a serious problem for the christians as well as for those that have the ability to think rationally.

    The christians claim to fame is that their chosen life rules put pressure on them to ensure that they act in an exemplary way. However, the act itself of changing the oath is deceptive and dishonest. The deception is pointed squarely at their god idea and completes a circle that suggests they have no intention of acting honestly or acting by the laws that have been established by the citizens representatives.

    The change to the oath also makes an agreement between the president and his chosen god idea representatives giving them authorization to disregard the laws established by the citizens representatives. To be totally faithful to the spirit of the oath as given the president should of course act in conjunction with his god idea representatives and should be deceptive when acting with disregard to the written oath.

    Joe, whatever the president wants to put in his personal remarks to the citizens is his business. The oath he promises to the citizens is not his to change; honestly, ethically, morally, or legally.

  35. Agreeing with Newman’s otherwise pointless lawsuit of last month…

    I’m guessing you meant Newdow’s lawsuit?

    I can live with a bit of ceremonial deism so long as it’s not terribly distracting. A president adding “So help me God” at the end of an oath as personal prayer doesn’t bother me.

    However, Judge Roberts’ decision to ad lib “So help you God?” has become a distraction and so I find it unfortunate.

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