July 07, 2005

Swear on Which Book??

I've always wondered -- when a Jewish man or woman testifies in court, do they swear on the Christian Bible? What about a Muslim? And if they do -- does it really mean anything? After all, they are swearing on a book whose contents they largely (if not completely) disagree with.

And what about atheists? They're doing the equivalent of swearing on a copy of Mother Goose to us -- they're swearing on a book they consider to be a work of complete fiction.

In a society where Christians, while in a slight majority according to the polls, are not close to the only spiritual/philosophical group, why do we make everyone who testifies in court swear on the good old KJV?

There's a group in Guilford County, North Carolina who are asking the same question. They're petitioning the courts to use various religious texts in the swearing-in process.

The group - made up of more than 20 religious leaders from the area, including those of Christian, Jewish and Buddhist faiths - sent a letter Tuesday to Guilford Superior Court Judge W. Douglas Albright, who has said an oath on the Quran is not lawful.

"In North Carolina, we continue to be people who take our religious beliefs and practices very seriously. But we no longer live in the Bible Belt. Today, we live in the Bible-Talmud-Qur'an-Veda-Dhammapada-Guru Granth Sahib-Kitabiiqan Belt," the letter states.

This should be a no-brainer, folks. Those who are giving sworn testimony should do so on a book they consider holy -- whether that's the Bible, the Talmud, the Quran, or The Fountainhead.

And the local judge doesn't get it.

Albright, who sets policy for Guilford County's nine Superior Court courtrooms, has said that an oath on the Quran is not a lawful oath under state law, which refers to using the "Holy Scriptures."
But it doesn't say whose. That's the point the group is trying to make.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 09:46 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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