Marietta, Ga., Lawmakers to Review ‘So Help Me God’ Police Oath

By Joshua Rhett Miller
Monday, November 23, 2009

City council members in Marietta, Ga., will consider changing the oath of office that the city’s police officers take so that recruits can swear to uphold the law without saying the phrase “so help me God.”

But a police spokeswoman says that to her knowledge, nobody has ever objected to saying those words, and the city’s mayor promises he’ll veto any change to the oath that removes them.

Det. Gwen Lewis, a police spokeswoman, said no complaints have been received recently regarding the five-sentence oath the Marietta Police Department last adopted in August 2001. To her knowledge, she said, no would-be officer has ever objected to saying “so help me God” as part of the oath.

Councilman Van Pearlberg floated changing the oath last week during a Public Safety Committee meeting as the lawmakers reviewed the police department’s operating procedures. Pearlberg said he personally did not object to swearing to God, but as the city’s deputy assistant district attorney, he had encountered problems with individuals doing so in legal proceedings.

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