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Sunday, September 15, 2002



Isle group protests
use of word ‘God’
in HPD oath

The group claims that the wording
violates the state constitution


Associated Press

The group Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church wants the Honolulu Police Department to abandon the oath used to swear in new officers.

In a letter to City Corporation Counsel David Arakawa, the group's president, Mitchell Kahle, said yesterday that the wording of the oath violates state and federal constitutions because it contains the phrase "so help me God."

Legal action will be taken if HPD fails to abandon the oath by close of business Friday, Kahle said.

The department should follow the state constitution, which spells out an oath of office that doesn't contain the word "God," he said.

The constitution says all eligible public officers, including county employees who possess police powers, shall take the oath: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the State of Hawaii, and that I will faithfully discharge my duties as ... to best of my ability."

Earlier this month, HPD removed a biblical passage and poems containing religious content from its Web site after Kahle's group complained. Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said the department will ask city attorneys to look into the matter.

The group earlier demanded the Honolulu Fire Department recall a safety guide because it contains a firefighter's prayer that includes the word "God."



Honolulu Police Department

Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church



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