Church and State

Newly elected Democrats forgo the bible and are sworn in on town’s code book

Change is afoot at the Manlius Town Board in New York now that progressives have completely flipped the committee around by winning four seats and giving Democrats a 5-to-1 advantage over Republicans who previously held that honor.

Change was possible thanks to a huge grassroots campaign that focused on increased transparency and public interaction at meetings, but here’s what is so far, the most notable about this change.

When three of the new members were sworn in, they didn’t use the Bible to take their oaths. Instead, they were sworn in with the town’s book of codes.


“John Deer, Elaine Denton and Heather Waters each chose to put their hand on the codes book for the swearing-in ceremony on Dec. 30 in the town hall. The fourth Democrat, Katelyn Kriesel, as did other town officials sworn in.”

So why didn’t they use the Bible?

Deer, it turns out, is an atheist who supports the separation of church and state.

“I just thought it was the right thing to do,” he said.

Waters said she also believes in the separation of church and state and that also spurred her to use the town codes, while Denton said she took an oath to represent the people. For her, “using the codes book seemed appropriate for me.”

Their decision to do this was met with enthusiasm from the audience, which is audible in the video below at the 3:00 mark. Right after Deer announces his decision, someone can be heard yelling “Love it!”

Watch the video below.

[Friendly Atheist]

Featured image via screen grab

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