He was sworn into office on the Koran! Bugger!

My dad (Christian) said to me today after hearing that a person had been sworn into office on the Koran, "That is so stupid! I can't believe they swore him in to office on the Koran! This is a Christian nation!" I silently thought, " I can't believe they use the Bible to swear people in all the time!"

You know, it's interesting, that a person can't just take an oath on their own - like their word is not good enough and is meaningless unless it is put on the bible (or Koran). When did we move away from a person's own word? Why is that not good enough?

Ahh... just fussing I guess.....


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Comment by Joseph P on January 13, 2011 at 8:39pm
For that matter, forget all of the legal stuff and Christian-nation garbage.  Would your father really accept anything that a Muslim said under oath, swearing on the Bible?  Wouldn't he rather bind the oath to something that actually meant something to the person swearing the oath, if you're going to go in on stupid, religious symbology?
Comment by Pat on September 14, 2010 at 8:45pm
I'm curious John. When I mentioned that if you "affirm" rather than "swear to god" there's nothing they can do about it. By "they," I mean those administering the oath. Maybe I'm mis-reading something here (and please let me know if I am), but your response stated "Actually they can." Exactly what remedy for those administering an oath, or punishment for those refusing to "swear" is there?
Comment by Prog Rock Girl on September 14, 2010 at 1:21pm
Considering that "testify" sounds related to the word "testicles", I've heard that people used to swear by those. Which is a lot more meaningful than swearing by some book.
Comment by John B Hodges on September 14, 2010 at 12:52pm
Actually they can; the Constitution specifies "oath or affirmation"; one may affirm the truth of one's testimony or whatever, instead of swearing to it. This came from the presence of Quakers in America in Colonial times. (They are still around today, the Society of Friends, if you want to check them out.) The Quakers took a few of Jesus' teachings seriously, and one in particular was about the taking of oaths. The text is (Jesus speaking)

Matthew 5:33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself [NKJV: swear falsely], but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

So the Quakers refused to swear any oaths, neither on the Bible nor in any other way. The Constitution included the possibility of "affirming" instead, to acknowledge the sincerity of Quakers.

By the way, regarding that particular member of the House of Representatives who was Muslim and sworn into office on the Koran; the Rare Books librarian at the Library of Congress happened to live in that reps district, and he called up the newly-elected rep and said "we have a copy of the Koran that was owned by Thomas Jefferson, the first English translation ever done." So the rep arranged to use that one; he swore his oath of office on the 200-odd-year-old Koran that was owned by Jefferson.
Comment by Pat on September 14, 2010 at 12:52pm
About 6 months ago, I was called to testify before an administrative hearing board of the State Supreme Court. As the clerk was placing me under oath, she asked if I swore to tell the truth, "so help me God." When I said, "No" you could have heard a pin drop. I turned to the presiding judge and told him, "I just don't do gods of any kind." He smiled and asked if I was going to tell the truth. I said "Yes, of course." he smiled, and told me to take the stand. However, a female associate on the panel glowered at me like I had 666 tattooed to my forehead. If you're in similar situation, there is nothing requiring you to "swear to god." You can refuse, just as I did, tell them you will affirm to tell the truth, and there's nothing they can do about it
Comment by David Flynn on September 14, 2010 at 12:40pm
The people who claim this is country was founded on "Christian priciples" know nothing of the Constitution or the bible for that matter. It would be ineresting to know exactly what Christian priciples they are referring to. You should mention the treaty of Tripoli. We use the bible for swear in presidents, congressmen,senators and witnesses and the obvious question is why.

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