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Shelby Township allows 'so help me God' in oaths

"I think we need to bring God back to what we are doing," Grot said. "Invoking His name is helpful, in my opinion."


The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing prayers before public meetings has prompted one Metro Detroit clerk to add a call to a higher power to the township's oath of office. Shelby Township Clerk Stanley Grot won approval from the board of trustees to give officeholders the option of ending their sworn oath with "so help me God."


Supporters say the move is a return to Judeo-Christian principals that conservatives like Grot say the country was built upon. But opponents say it needs to be clear to those taking an oath that includes phrases invoking guidance from a religious being is optional. Making it mandatory would cross the line separating church and state. Grot said the phrase is a common conclusion to oaths such as the Oath of Enlistment for the military and presidential inaugurations. And "In God We Trust" appears on U.S. currency, so why not evoke God's name during a local oath of office?


"I think we need to bring God back to what we are doing," Grot said. "Invoking His name is helpful, in my opinion." He said the phrase was taken out of the oath because of political correctness. "It dawned on me, I almost automatically started saying 'so help me God' but it wasn't in there. We revisited it and there it is," he said. Grot became clerk in 2012.


Grot said his decision to amend the township's oath of office was inspired by the U. S. Supreme Court's ruling in May, that it is OK to conduct a prayer before a public meeting.



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