Thanks for that info Pat!~ Melinda
The "so help me god" during the swearing in process is pro forma -- it is like "bless you" after a sneeze. When I have jury duty, I just go along with the crowd. I would be more than amazed to find out that someone's oath was nullified because they were an atheist. If you have a moral qualm about the "appearance" of belief, then you can go find the bailiff or clerk and tell them you need a civil oath instead of the "religious" one.
Steph, thanks for bringing up this question. I have not had Jury duty but Pat's response seems reasoned. I imagine you could just solemnly affirm.
Not too helpful on this, but here is a blog about why it's beneficial for atheists to be on jury duty.
Thank you Sentient - I am going to that link.
I'm sure it varies from state to state and even municipality to municipality, but the three or four times I've served on jury duty here in Chicago, Illinois, I never once had to swear an oath to god. I wasn't even asked to, as it seems it's not a part of our normal process. The last time I had jury duty about two years ago, after the jury was selected but before opening statements were made, I recall the judge asking all twelve of us if we felt confident whether we could individually listen to all the facts of the case and come to a personal decision about a resolution based on the merits of the arguments. (Paraphrased, but something like that.) No swearing in, no oath. Just an understanding of agreement. Believe me, from what I've personally seen take place in the deliberation room, people take the role of juror very seriously. It has given me confidence in our legal system......for the most part.
I don't recall having to be sworn in the one time I was on a Jury. Even if there was something like that I wouldn't mind just saying 'i do' or whatever at the end. It's just a formality. I mean all you're really agreeing to is that you'll take your job as a juror seriously. It's not like they're asking you to accept jesus as your lord and savior.
Most states have a rule on the books already. Where do you live?
In Florida, one only raises a hand, no Bible. In most cases, they do say "so help me god", but all yo ureply is "I do" so there's no real option to avoid it.
This is from 1981 but.... http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/134/how-do-courts-swear-in...
thank you Patrick
"I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." should suffice for any witness giving testimony. As a juror, I don't think any such statement is required of you. If there was some objection to leaving out the "so help me god.", I think "Are you SERIOUS?" is an appropriate reply.
Most "swearing in statements" are, "Do you swear or AFFIRM ...". When I worked for the Denver health department I was a witness in a number of cases and that was what I was asked - and there was no, "so help me god", at the end.