Last month, I posted about a newly-minted lawyer named Jen who said an alternative oath during her initiation ceremony. Instead of saying, “So Help Me God,” she said, “On my honor.”
Reader Sarah just began a new job and faced a similar situation. Jen’s story was in the back of her mind.
Sarah writes this in an email:
A few days ago, I was hired by a privately-funded homeless shelter. My first day of work I was asked to fill out tax forms, sign my employment contract, and sign an oath to act in a respectful and professional manner. At the end of the oath, above the line for my signature, I was perturbed to see the phrase “SO HELP ME GOD.”
I don’t believe I require a non-existent being to help me behave properly, and I would have felt like a hypocrite if I had signed it with the (irrelevant) phrase intact.
I remembered reading about a lawyer in the states (on Friendly Atheist) who substituted “On my honour” for “so help me God” when giving an oath.
I asked my new boss if it would be acceptable to make the substitution. He said it was fine by him but was unsure if it was all right for us to make the changes on a legal document. He called the commissioner of oaths and asked her if it was all right to make the change and she said it wass perfectly fine. “So help me God” was scratched out with a black pen and “on my honour” was written in. I signed and feel good about it!
Looks like there’s a trend underway… is anyone else changing their oaths to strip them of religious references?