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Freedom of Religion - Part 5

Do the words "so help me God" in the oaths administered to jurors and witnesses in a criminal trial violate the constitutional principle of separation of church and state? No, concluded the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Such terminology is simply one example "of many permissible, secular references to the Almighty that run through our laws, our public rituals, and our ceremonies." Commonwealth v. Callahan, 519 N.E.2d 245 (Mass. 1988).

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  • July 1, 1988