When his nephew took the oath of office on Dec. 6 to become a new member of the Ceres City Council, Burl Condit noticed some missing words: “So help me, God.”
Condit came before the council last week wanting to know why the tradition had been abandoned.
Burl Condit noted that the phrase was part of his Marine Corps oath in 1964 and his 1971 oath to become a Modesto Police officer. The phrase was also part of his 1986 oath to become a Ceres School Board member.
“Why is it not there?” asked Condit. “And what reason? Is there a law? A court case? Is it something that took ‘So help me God’ out of our oaths that we take for offices?”
Deputy City Attorney Nubia Goldstein noted that the oath is the same language as the one in the California Constitution.
“So it’s very likely that at some point it was amended but the current language does exclude that particular phase from it,” she said.
Mayor Chris Vierra wanted the attorney to look into the matter to see why it changed and if including it back would be a problem.
Burl Condit was a candidate for Stanislaus County Sheriff in 1986.
The phrase has been controversial “so help me, God” has not been without controversy with atheists suing in some states to have it removed.