Religious oath removed from N.C. county website (December 2023)

A North Carolina citizen found information on the Craven County website regarding running for office, including running and filing information from the North Carolina Constitution, that included a religious oath. The information provided included Article VI from the North Carolina Constitution, which says that concluding an oath of office with “So help me God” is required before anyone can take office. The next section, titled “Disqualifications for office,” states that “any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God” is disqualified from office. While the provisions are still included in the North Carolina Constitution, they are not reflected in practice, supported by the candidacy forms that the website links to from the North Carolina State Board of Elections. The forms allow for the candidate to simply “swear or affirm” to the truthfulness of the statements on the form. Additionally, the North Carolina Constitution requires members of the General Assembly to take “an oath or affirmation” to support the federal and state constitutions and faithfully discharge their duties without any reference to a god. FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line wrote to Craven County Board of Elections Director Susan R. Williams about the issue. In response to FFRF’s concern, Williams reported that, since taking office in February, she is currently still reviewing everything put on the website before she entered office. “I hope that you can let the citizen know that I will have the N.C. Constitution PDF removed, it is unnecessary as the fact sheet link directs the user to the N.C. State website and has everything that is needed,” she writes.

Freedom From Religion Foundation