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Blue State Cuts ‘So Help Me God’ from Oath Requirement Following Atheist Group’s Federal Lawsuit

Atheists are cheering a decision by New Jersey to drop a requirement that political candidates sign an oath that included the phrase “so help me God.”

Some conservatives, however, expressed outrage over the move.

“Communist Republic of New Jersey Kicks Out God Again,” is how podcaster Ken Matthews — who used to regularly guest host for Rush Limbaugh — summed up the situation in his post on the social media platform X.

The requirement was dropped in late October after an unbeliever filed a federal lawsuit against the New Jersey Secretary of State.

James Tosone, a 70-year-old Bergen County resident who wants to run for congress, filed the federal suit Oct. 3 with the help of Freedom From Religion Foundation, which boasted that, thanks to its successful legal battle, the state “is becoming markedly more inclusive.”

The suit, according to, claimed that the requirement violated the First Amendment rights of Tesone, a self-described “nontheist.”

“While Mr. Tosone previously completed the candidate petition in order to participate in past elections, he now sincerely believes, as a matter of conscience, that he cannot swear ‘so help me God,’” the lawsuit said.

“By requiring plaintiff to swear ‘so help me God,’ in order to run for public office, without a secular option, the secretary of state has inflicted, and will continue to inflict, irreparable harm upon (Tosone),” it continued. said a state elections specialist advised Tosone to contact legislators to change the state statute.

That evidently happened, because on Oct. 24, a memo went out from Lauren Zyriek, acting director of the New Jersey Division of Elections, to all county clerks, advising them of several changes in the statute.

Petitioners for placement on a ballot now have the option “to make a solemn affirmation or declaration in lieu of an oath,” according to the memo.

Prospective candidates, according to the statement, can either choose to use the secular-leaning phrase, “I … do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm” or they can use the more traditional, “I … do declare, in the presence of Almighty God, the witness of the truth of what I say.”

“In addition, in the affirmation or declaration, the words “so help me God” shall be omitted,” the memo added.

Tosone’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the suit Monday, and a judge signed a dismissal order the next day, reported.

Not every public office in every state has historically required a “so help me God” type of oath for candidates filing to run, or for those being sworn into office.

Many areas do so, Just the News reported, but others, “most notably the presidential oath of office — do not require it.”

The outlet added that Donald Trump and Joe Biden have both chosen to use the phrase when taking their oath of office.

In doing so, they were following a tradition believed to date back to President Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration in 1861.

  • Sick of Politics says:

    The problem with this nation is there are people who want God removed from America. I remember Obama saying that American is not a Christian nation. He does not have the authority to declare that. Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. People in authority have been changing this so we don’t offend someone. This right has been trampled on by people who want to take away our rights as Americans. Slowly they take away a little at a time. It’s like the frog in the boiling pot.

  • Tamirose170 says:

    Is Tosone going to work for free then? American forms of money have “GOD” written on them and IF he is so offended by that 3 letter word – then he shouldn’t accept any position in a Building that has embedded “In God We Trust” on the exterior as does the US Capitol. So he by this virtue of his lawsuit shouldn’t want to work anywhere that 3 letter word is written, right? How absolutely petty of him – – How about attack Laws that are VERY damaging and painful – say like Sharia Law or permitting Muslims to practice Sharia Law here in the USA instead?

    NO one in New Jersey should vote for this James Torone. IF he were elected to Congress, does he realize that the words “In God We Trust” are engraved in both Chambers, the Senate and the House? So since that 3 letter word is SO upsetting to him, I think it is best for him NOT to work in that Environment.

    Every State can elect 1 or 2 losers, say Chris Christie, who banned all NJ residents from going to the Beach during COVID and then was caught, a few times, with his family sitting in lawn chairs with the entire beach to themselves. Every State can have a few GIGANTIC mistakes, like Christie, Bob Menendez 1st, 2nd and 3rd political scandals with a side order of Treason and taking a TON of money from Foreign Enemies or Mayor Frank Hague of Jersey City, U.S. Sen. Harrison Williams, U.S. Rep. Frank Thompson and state Sen. and Camden Mayor Angelo Errichetti , Newark Mayor Hugh Addonizio and his 64 counts of Extortion & Conspiracy – the list of NJ Politicians that have done time in prison afterwards is EXTENSIVE! New Jersey has created MORE career criminals that crossed over into Politics than any other State = but why are you so proud of that and want to elect another one, James Torone? Most Crime/Mafia movies are actually written about REAL events that took place in New Jersey politics – – so the Voters are to blame! Do better New Jersey – – Just say “no” to James Torone. He won’t be able to work in Congress at the US Capitol because he’s an atheist anyways!

    IF he wants to be that TOUGH about a 3 letter word and upset the Apple Cart on anyone taking an Oath in New Jersey – you just can’t elect him as he’ll have a stroke from the stress at the US Capitol, DC has that 3 letter word engraved on the majority of the Buildings. Our Nation and Constitution – based on Christianity. The word doesn’t physically ATTACK HIM or cause him any Personal or Physical Harm; but since he thinks it is important to spend NJ tax dollars on this lawsuit – protect him and don’t let him win for Congress. I’d rather those tax dollars be spent on computers or equipment for students in school, not a 3 letter word that has been around for THOUSANDS of years! If you reach into Torone’s pockets, I bet you can find “GOD” written on items in them.

    Don’t donate to his Campaign because all of your money will have that 3 letter word on it – – and he doesn’t want that. Let him Fall on his Own Sword!

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