I saw two glitches in the article, so I wrote the author saying, "The statement, 'Every president since [Chester A. Arthur], including Obama, has followed suit,' is way off the mark. The fact is that the 'every president since' remark belongs to FDR. If one does the research, then the results show only a few presidents from Chester A. Arthur to FDR added what is a non-biblical, extra-constitutional religious codicil to their presidential oath. (Hoover is the last president who did not say SHMG.)
I also said, "As for constitutional historian R. B. Bernstein's challenge "to find any presidential speech that doesn't make a lot of mention of God" that's a no-brainer. GW's second inaugural speech makes no mention of the Almighty".
A few edits later, the part about "every president since [Chester Arthur]" was removed, and, as for the Bernstein challenge, this is what appeared:
[T]he oath of office is only one mention of God in a ceremony that has historically included religious participation and references from prayers and music to a president's inaugural address.
"I challenge you to find any presidential speech that doesn't make a lot of mention of God," constitutional historian R. B. Bernstein told USA Today.
Blogger Ray Soller, who has taken a personal interest in sorting out the history of God talk in presidential inaugurations, took up Bernstein's challenge and found Washington's second inaugural address in 1793 is the sole exception, according to an email exchange between Bernstein and Soller, forwarded to the Deseret News.I really haven't specialized in sorting out the history of God talk in presidential inaugurations, But, if one wants to followup on this subject, there is, along with Brad Hart's recent contribution, this 1/22/2013 NPR article, Divine Rhetoric: God In The Inaugural Address, by Scott Neuman that presents its own contribution.. Here's a taste:
Martin J. Medhurst, a professor of rhetoric and communication at Baylor, a private Baptist university in Waco, Texas, says formulations such as "the Almighty" and "Divine Providence" were part of "a common language adopted by the revolutionary generation in part to avoid the kind of divisiveness that more specific formulations might engender."
In fact, the word "God" doesn't even show up in an inaugural speech until 1821, when James Monroe vowed during his second inaugural to carry out his presidential duties "with a firm reliance on the protection of Almighty God."
[dot - dot -dot]
What changed? Two things, Duncan and Medhurst agree: the dying out of the revolutionary generation that was so reluctant to invoke a personal god; and a Protestant revival that was gathering steam just as Monroe became president.
Monroe was apparently as astute a politician as any, and his God reference neatly coincided with the Second Great Awakening, an explosion of Baptist and Methodist congregations in the U.S. that was partly a reaction to the distant deism of the Founding Fathers.
Even so, from the 1820s until the late 1850s, as the country moved unstoppably toward civil war, presidents reverted back to the safer territory of Almighty Being and Divine Providence.