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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1 In Canadian courts, you swear on the holy book of your choosing, or you may also simply affirm that what you way is true. When I took my oath of citizenship, I didn't take a Bible. I figured my word was my bond.

Posted by: rebecca at July 07, 2005 10:44 PM (0/gmv)

2 Didn't you post something on that before, Rebecca? Seems I've heard about that somewhere before. It seems like it's the only reasonable way to do it -- makes no sense to have someone swear on a book that means nothing to them.

Posted by: Warren at July 08, 2005 11:56 AM (iJfPJ)

3 I know if I were made to swear an oath on the Quran, it would mean nothing to me. I might would tell the truth just because I think the truth should be told...I would have no fear of breaking an oath made on the holy book of another religion. Interesting point.

Posted by: Bethany at July 12, 2005 12:05 PM (6Y5GN)

4 The koran does not meet the criteria that most scholars use to identify holy scripture. The only book that has been proven holy and inspired by God is the Bible! Don Richardson's book, Secrets of the Koran, will thoroughly explain to anyone who is interested, why the koran is NOT holy scripture.

Posted by: terry at August 13, 2005 04:56 PM (5uBsV)

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