As fellow blogger Ray Soller (of American Creation) has noted, there is a great deal of skepticism over whether or not George Washington uttered the phrase, "So help me God" at the conclusion of his oath of office. To be honest, this is an issue that I have never before considered. Like most people, I probably just assumed that the historical record accurately accounted for the authenticity of this event. However, as Mr. Soller has pointed out in his excellent article (Freeman's Oath - reference), there is strong reason to not only question but to doubt the legitimacy of the "So help me God" claim.
Like most history nerds, I was a devout follower of HBO's hit miniseries, John Adams. One of the most powerful scenes of the entire series is the inauguration of George Washington as the republic's first president. Not only does the scene attempt to recreate the oath of office -- including Washington uttering "So help me God," -- but the whole clip effectively arouses a sense of Christian patriotism, which I am sure was extremely effective in invoking a "spiritual" response from the average viewer.
To be perfectly honest, I have absolutly no idea if Washington did or did not conclude his oath of office with, "So help me God." I do believe, however, that Mr. Soller has shed light on some very important evidence that should be considered in detail. Hopefully we can continue this discussion, including the views of those who support the "So help me God" claim.
Here is the Washington Inauguration according to HBO's John Adams: