Freethought Today · Vol. 26 No. 8 October 2009

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

It Pays To Complain

FFRF Forum administrator Darrell Barker notes the fledgling forum’s first measurable success in effecting secular change.

Forum member Mathew Goldstein (username Explicit Atheist) spotted an error on the U.S. House of Repres­ent­atives Web site and wrote the Office of the Clerk:

Under Historical Highlights, the Oath of Office bill, May 18, 1789, your Web site asserts that the bill passed on June 1 specified the 34 words “I, NAME, a Represent­ative of the United States in the Congress thereof, do solemnly swear in the presence of Almighty God, that I will support the Constitution of the United States. So help me God.”

This is false. The oath specified by that law was 14 words, as follows: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.” Please correct. Thank you.

Barker said that due to the keen eye of Explicit Atheist and the prompt sup­port of Evolution 101 (another forum member), the Web site has been changed to reflect the original godless oath. The Clerk’s Office replied to Evolution 101: “We have modif­ied the May 18, 1789, Weekly Historical Highlight to reflect the language that is listed in 1 Stat 23 (‘An Act to regulate the Time and Manner of administering certain Oaths’). Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.”

In a follow-up forum post, Evolution 101 said, “We must give the credit where credit is due. I did the easy part of copying Darrell’s e-mail post and pasting it into an e-mail to them from me. I truly believe it was Darrell’s letter that I used that did the trick, as it gave them no wiggle room to not change it.”

The forum (at went online May 26 with Jack D. Simpson as the first registered user. As of Sept. 15 it had 400 members and 355 total topics.

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