By Stephen J. Smith
---- — In the July 17 newspaper, Mr. Hussong wrote that God has been removed from our agenda. He seems to be sure that God, and his religion in particular, is the way to fix all problems.
Other articles that have recently appeared in the paper implied that we need to get back to the roots of our founding fathers and that would fix all our issues. So I went back to the root of the roots: The Constitution of the United States. In looking over the Constitution I cannot find the word "God" anywhere. And references to Jesus are not there either. They were left out on purpose. The references to religion appear in Article I Section 7, Article II Section 1, Article VI, and Amendment I.
In Article I the reference is (Sundays excepted) when referring to the number of days that the president has to act on a bill that comes to his office.
Article II Section I is included here as the oath of office for the president. Most folks think that the words "so help me God" are in the oath of office for the president. The actual wording is "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." The term "so help me God" was added to placate the Christian majority and is not part of the oath.
Article VI addresses the qualification for holding office, senators, representatives and other officials. It says the requirement is to be bound by an oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution, but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. In short, no religious test.
Amendment I says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
It is written this way so that religious zealots could be held at bay.