PDA

View Full Version : Do you swear to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you GOD?


Idle Thoughts
04-28-2005, 03:56 PM
I'm surprised.

In this day and age where taking prayer out of school and removing "under God" from the Pledge is happening...HOW has this one escaped all the people on the warpath to eliminating freedom to not believe in God from most public areas of life?


Cause when someone has to testify in court, that's what they make you do. Put your hand on a bible and verify you will tell the truth on it..."So help you God"


But what if you don't believe in God or the bible? Does this apply? Must you still do this?


I'm surprised it hasn't be debated and taken out by now.

I believe in God and all, but it still surprises me. I'd have thought they'd have done away with it by now. Or have they and I'm just out of the loop?

matt_mcl
04-28-2005, 04:03 PM
I've testified twice in court. It's very simple, there's a Bible there and you can either swear on it or affirm (uh...) not on it.

(In the one case, I was testifying in defence of some people who had been arrested for doing things they didn't, during a protest that the police had violently put down. All of the protesters affirmed; all of the police officers swore on the Bible, following which they lied like dogs. Our folks were acquitted.)

askeptic
04-28-2005, 04:09 PM
I spend most days in court and the most common version I hear is:
Do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the truth."

The other version may be used in some places but I think it is more common on television than in courts. I could be wrong.

Anaamika
04-28-2005, 04:17 PM
I've heard it can hurt your case if you refuse to swear on the Bible. Is this true?

I mean, I would have no problems lying after swearing on the Bible - but I would find it morally wrong to swear in a courtroom.

Wartime Consigliori
04-28-2005, 04:24 PM
I've heard it can hurt your case if you refuse to swear on the Bible. Is this true?

It is my understanding (from a lawyer friend) that one can arrange to affirm to tell the truth outside of the courtroom. When you go in to testify, the judge tells the jury that you had been sworn in previously, thus lessening the chance for jury bias.

Anaamika
04-28-2005, 04:38 PM
It is my understanding (from a lawyer friend) that one can arrange to affirm to tell the truth outside of the courtroom. When you go in to testify, the judge tells the jury that you had been sworn in previously, thus lessening the chance for jury bias.
Thank you, I've always wondered.

betenoir
04-28-2005, 04:59 PM
I believe in God and all, but it still surprises me. I'd have thought they'd have done away with it by now. Or have they and I'm just out of the loop?

You're out of the loop. As far as I know (although I could not swear...or even afirm.....that it is the same in every state) it's optional.

When I testified before the grand jury when I was mugged, the Bible was not even brought up, I was just asked to raise my right hand (which I found offensive enough being left handed, but hey, you have to pick your battles :)) and afirm that I would tell the truth. Which, ironically, is closer to what Jesus said to do than swearing on the Bible would be.

Misnomer
04-28-2005, 05:12 PM
In this day and age where taking prayer out of school and removing "under God" from the Pledge is happening...As far as I know, "under God" is still in the Pledge.
HOW has this one escaped all the people on the warpath to eliminating freedom to not believe in God from most public areas of life?Oh, it hasn't escaped us, we're just fighting one battle at a time: first "under God," then "so help me God," then "in God we trust," etc. ;)

Ike Witt
04-28-2005, 05:54 PM
Bailiff: Place your right hand on the...
Dr. Orpheus: How sweet, a bible! Well if you don't mind sir, I have a book of my own for this little ritual. Keep your fingers clear of it's mouth, he's a nibbler!
Bailiff: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you...uh...whoever?
Dr. Orpheus: I SWEAR IT!

Cornelius Tuggerson
04-28-2005, 05:56 PM
Oh, it hasn't escaped us, we're just fighting one battle at a time: first "under God," then "so help me God," then "in God we trust," etc. ;)
Exactly. All is going according to plan, we'll get to it eventually. :cool:

5 time champ
04-28-2005, 09:02 PM
I always swear to tell the truth, nothing but the truth, but for god's sake not the whole truth.

Zsofia
04-28-2005, 10:58 PM
When I served on a jury three years ago there was God in it. I kicked myself later for not stopping everything and asking to affirm, but the opportunity didn't really come up and I felt kind of funny about interrupting everybody and everything. I just had jury duty (municipal) last week and if picked for a jury this time I would have objected to the ceremonial deism.

houghton
04-28-2005, 11:22 PM
I believe GOD was added to the oath of office by George Washington.
The founders had a different affermation in mind, one without the bible, and provided for simple affirmation in the law where the swearing in ceremony is defined.
But since the bible was common in English courts, and hence colonial courts, George thought it unwise to break the tradition and invite speculation about how valid his oath was.

At least one president (C.A. Arthur?) did not use the bible. Although he was a believer, his son had just died and he was angry at god and used an affirmation over a law book instead.

Spatial Rift 47
04-28-2005, 11:38 PM
When I served on a jury three years ago there was God in it.

Wow, they got God to sit on the jury? How cool is that!? I wonder what His decision was ...


ain't I a stinker? [/Bugs Bunny]

Terminus Est
04-29-2005, 01:29 PM
The Master speaks: How do courts swear in atheists? (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_145.html)

NoPretentiousCodename
04-29-2005, 03:44 PM
I liked when George Frankly on the PBS show Mathnet was on trial.

"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you Gosh?"

Zsofia
04-29-2005, 03:56 PM
Wow, they got God to sit on the jury? How cool is that!? I wonder what His decision was ...


ain't I a stinker? [/Bugs Bunny]
I wish to hell we'd had a little deity action on that jury, because there would have been some serious smiting action - plagues of boils on both parties, indeed, and then we could have gone home!

Thalion
04-29-2005, 11:52 PM
I've testified in court scores of times (I've been a cop for 18 years). The usual oath is something like, "Do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" Some add, "So help you God", but I've found that this is the exception rather than the rule.

I have never once been offered a Bible to put my hand upon.

FTR, I'm in Washington state.

Othersider
04-30-2005, 01:49 AM
I've testified in court scores of times (I've been a cop for 18 years). The usual oath is something like, "Do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" Some add, "So help you God", but I've found that this is the exception rather than the rule.
We all watch too much TV. :D