Monday, July 18, 2005

Swearing on "The Holy Scriptures" in North Carolina Courts

Dunno whether this has made the national news, but in North Carolina courtrooms, if you swear on a "holy" book it's got to be the Bible. The Koran is right out. This obviously has to change, but we're a red state, so it won't happen without the requisite fight against tradition.

You can simply affirm that you will tell the truth when you testify in a North Carolina court, and I've had to do so before. (Now that's a funny story, and I might even regale you with it at some point.) Thing is, you probably lose credibility when you do so. The court clerk (or whoever administers the oaths) rolled her eyes and said something like "whatever!" when the prosecutor said that I would "affirm"--and this was in Chapel Hill, the most liberal place in the state by far. I though I was being a good citizen, since swearing on the Bible means absolutely nothing to me--it's like asking me to swear on Moby Dick or a credit card application from BP. So I figured I should tell them that they were asking me to bind myself with an oath that I considered utterly meaningless. Simply affirming that you'll tell the truth, however, doesn't tacitly make your oath contingent on your belief in the veracity of the Bible. Of course, if you'd lie in the first place you'd probably lie about whether you'd lie or not, but waddaya gonna do?

But, anyway, by insisting that people who swear on a "holy" book must swear on the Bible, NC courts are--if I understand the concept of swearing on books rightly--making it easier for e.g. Buddhists to lie. Heck, make it a requirement to swear on the Bible if you like, guys, that just means that the oath will have no effect on most of the population of the world.

I've long thought--as have others--that we should be asked to swear on the Constitution. Now THAT would have binding force.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if you're a citizen of a country other than the USA who's providing testimony in a US court? Asking such a person -- and, to paraphrase Apu Nahasapeemapetilan, there are almost six billion of us -- to swear on the US Constitution is the secularist equivalent of asking a Jew to swear on a copy of the New Testament.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Damn fine point. Guess we'd have to figure out something else for 'em.

4:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only is an oath upon the Bible meaningless for many witnesses, it is inappropriate for all witnesses. Further, a provision allowing the oath to be customized to each witness is neither feasible nor productive of binding oaths. An oath upon the US Constitution is both feasible, binding (though not , and

An oath upon the Bible appeals to the moral authority of God, and any suitable alternative will appeal to the moral authority accepted by the witness. Allowing for this perfect substitution (and ignoring the problems involved in an appeal to moral authority), the oath is considered morally binding by the witness. I can think of three problems with such a solution: (i) the witness could lie about his convictions, producing an oath which is not considered morally binding, (ii) even if the witness’s convictions were determinable in spite of their deceit, no oath could bind a nihilist, and (iii) often the witness is legally obligated to give testimony, and thus forced to take an oath, violating good faith, and nullifying the oath.

A way out lies in a clear distinction between two types of obligation: legal and moral. Morality is irrelevant in courts of law; they are concerned only with legality, i.e. the legal obligations as outlined by the government in a legislative process. Ultimately, the foundation for the authority of the government, the validity of the legislative process, and of all legal obligation, is the US Constitution; each step in producing legal obligation must be consistent with that document. When giving testimony in a US court, an oath upon the Constitution appeals to its legal authority, and amounts to recognizing the legal authority of the court and the legal obligation to be truthful.

The legal obligation to testify is only present for those already under the authority of the relevant legislation, American citizens and certain well-identified others. For them the oath marks the beginning of their testimony, during which they are legally obliged to be truthful. In the case of many foreign citizens, i.e. when the legal obligation to testify is absent, they may choose to testify. Such an oath upon the US Constitution is made in good faith; it is an appeal to the source of legal authority in this country, it recognizes the authority of the courts, and it accepts the legal obligations regarding his testimony. In either case, the oath is legally binding.

5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James 5:12 is quite explicit on the subject of oaths, as is Matthew 5:37.

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you! I have a book review site/blog. It pretty much covers book review related stuff.

3:24 AM  
Blogger doer said...

Hello, just visited your bible blog, I also have a bible related website, it's about some books which is helpful to understand the God's Words

8:30 PM  
Blogger blaze said...

I found your site on card credit processing quite useful. I also have a site about card credit processing that you may find useful also. Please feel free to check it out and let me know what you think

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have some really good websites below that can help you with credit repair and legal law forms.
You can also check out the news section at "Latest Legal Articles"

Preparing legal documents has never been easier
with our library of forms, agreements, and checklists. It is valuable to small and growing businesses and entrepreneurs.

Have you ever needed a legal form but didn't know where to get one? Have you ever wanted to cover yourself in a legal agreement or make sure that those you love are protected? is an easy to use online legal forms provider that can and will save you thousands of dollars of lawyer's fees every year.

Repair your own credit , Credit Repair is an ongoing matter for many consumers. Consumers have paid up to $500 or more to credit repair companies who follow this same process to remove their credit errors. Without credit you can't get a car, travel, loan money, or even get mortgage.

Have you been victimized by credit repair companies? Many companies promise or guarantee to clean up your credit report so you can get a car loan, a home mortgage, insurance, etc. In reality, they can't deliver what they promise. You pay them hundreds dollars in fees and these companies do nothing to improve your credit. Many of them just disappear.

Everything a credit repair companies can do for you, you can do for yourself at no cost. No one can do a better job in repairing your own credit as you can. You are the only one responsible to make sure your credit report is accurate. Our guide will help you every step of the way.

If your application for credit is denied due to information supplied by a credit bureau, the company you applied to must be liable to provide you with that credit bureau's contact information. Furthermore you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report if you've been denied credit within the last 60 days

Disputing credit mistakes or outdated items is free. Just ask the credit reporting agency for a dispute form or submit your dispute in writing, attach any supporting documentation. Always send them a copy instead of the original Team

Also checkout our sponsors at: - Get Paid to Drive in UK ---- Only website on the internet that offers paid to drive companies exclusively in United Kingdom

6:52 AM  
Blogger Goodman441 said...

Hello, this is a great blog on interest only loan, Please visit my site when you get a chance at

8:02 PM  
Blogger GooglePlexMan said...

Super blog you have. Did you know you can find information about College Credit Card
at College Credit Card
. Check it out if you have a change. I'll be sure and visit your blog again.

8:51 AM  
Blogger ld163 said...

Hi, just came across your debt consolidation loan. What a great site. I also have a site relating to the debt consolidation loanniche that I think your readers would be interested in. Go and check it out!!

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi I just came across your blog about loan corporate and wanted to drop you a
note telling you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here.
I have a loan corporate. It pretty much covers loan corporate related stuff.
so I know what I'm talking about when I say your site is top-notch! Keep up the great work, you are providing a great resource
on the Internet here!


8:12 PM  
Blogger said...

Debt Management, Consolidation Loans & Elimination Programs

It's time to do something about your debt. Millions of Americans have a wallet full of credit cards--plus expensive personal loans, auto loans, second mortgages and more. you're tired of paying 10%, 15%, 19% and more on your credit cards, auto loans, personal loans and other types of credit, today is the day to wipe the slate clean and start over. A debt consolidation loan can lower your interest rate, combine all your accounts into just one convenient monthly payment and give you some extra breathing room in your budget. You'll save money now - and at tax time too (be sure to consult your tax advisor for details.)

With mortgage interest rates the lowest they've been in decades, now is the perfect time to refinance your home and pay off all those nagging bills. You can count on America's Lending Partners FREE service to help you lower your interest rate, pay off those nagging bills and cut your monthly payments by as much as $300, $450, even $500 or more.

Start your request at left. Then, we'll match your profile with our nationwide network of lenders. You'll get up to 4 great offers from some of the most prominent and respected refinance debt consolidation lenders in America...each presenting their absolute best loan offer to win your business

Do not wait any longer; now is the time to take charge of your debt situation. Feel free to brows our site for more information, or for a free, no obligation debt quote, fill out a quick response form on your left, or click here for a free debt quote.

If your in debt... you're not alone. Today, millions of Americans are having difficulty paying their debts. Most of those in financial distress are middle income families with jobs who want to pay off what they owe.

Now is the time to act! Doing nothing can lead to much larger problems.


Free Loan Request - Get Up To 4 Loan Offers!

**** You must own a home to qualify for this service. ****

12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good to see a blog dealing with credit card issues. Credit cards are a necessity in Western Life. Sadly they can be one of our biggest liabilities. I have a site dealing with credit card debt solutions. You might like to take a look

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Thank you for having this info on the web. I enjoyed your post. If you may have any interest in
debt consolidation student Loan consolidation
then I know where you may get your solution. For your comfort, I have enclosed the link, so if needed you can visit the site. Thanks again for your lovely blog

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Debt Consolidation Debt Consolidation Programs can help you reduce your interest burden by charging an interest rate lower than the rate on your existing loans. Debt consolidation loan can also allow you to make small monthly payments by extending the loan period

4:30 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home