Thursday, June 18, 2015


Traditionally an oath is either a statement of fact or a promise with wording relating to something considered sacred as a sign of verity.

In law, oaths are made by a witness to a court of law before giving testimony. Willfully delivering a false oath is the crime of perjury.

In addition to holding ones hand upon an object of ceremonial importance (usually the Bible), it is customary for a person swearing an oath to hold the raised right hand in a

specific gesture, a custom referred to in the Old Testament ("Their mouths speak untruth; their right hands are raised in lying oaths", Psalm 144:8).

A few weeks ago, I had to give a deposition in a legal proceeding involving my former employer.

When sworn in, I was asked to raise my right hand, but was given no Bible, nor did the oath end with the usual “so help you God” language.

When you do not swear on anything, what is the point? 

Isn’t it just as illegal to lie to an officer of the law whether or not you raise your right hand and say you won’t lie?

What if I raised my right hand but crossed the fingers on my left hand? 

Would that be a loophole?

How about if we implement a pinky swear process instead of the whole "raise your right hand" practice? 

Wouldn't that be more binding?

While I find George Carlin's skit below amusing, the reality of our society moving away from Christian values is a little alarming.

In eradicating God from our society, we have cheapened many things. 

The whole point of an oath is that in a God-fearing society, by swearing on God to tel the truth, you risk some good old-fashioned Old Testament wrath if you fib.

Fire and brimstone. Pillars of salt. Floods. Famine. 

And from a logical standpoint, the whole oath process is, as George described, meaningless. 

Certainly it is without God in the equation. 

Absent God, what is right or wrong? 

Why not lie if it suits you? 

Yet the custom of swearing in is still here, a practice that dates back to the Old Testament, albiet modified in our senseless pursuit of "separation of church and state." 

As with many things, those who claim to not believe seem to always hedge their bets.