Posted by Vishva News Reporter on August 10, 2006


Different ways of swearing oaths in enlightenment period (last 500 years) in western civilization
(1791: Pen, ink and wash with black chalk, 490 x 600 mm Musée National du Château, Versailles




"tell the truth,
the whole truth,
nothing but the truth
so help me God"

If a person has to testify in court as above,
what book with "holy scriptures"
must s/he swear on  the above ?


PVAF continues to share more knowledge on the subject matter of the news story which was first published on this knowledge-sharing PVAF web site for the sole purpose of empowering the current humanity on this planet earth to co-exist harmoniously with diversity of cultures and faith systems and proper with knowledge by alleviating all human poverty - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual..... 

As is being discovered through many articles on this PVAF web site, humanity goes through cycles of growth and decline. But the sciences of the human creation  and life called vED in sNskrut language persists,  perseveres and perpetuates as continuing discoveries and inventions by humanity.

The Truth is....
From world harmonious co-existent to peace,
From poverty to prosperity,
From scientific discovery to comic genius,
All through contentment, spiritual health
and personal achievement,

...we have to choose to be Truthful to receive.

It takes courage to seek out change based on Truth,
But for those Truly courageous souls seeking who
choose to explore Truth, rest assured....

The Truth Is Out There!

Today PVAF presents information on the intensifying argument among humanity in the 21st century, especially in western civilization, to determine which of the many holy books can be or should be used for swearing oaths in the judicial systems of various cultures and civilizations of various nations on the planet earth.


Please click on the next line to learn about this  intensifying argument among humanity the swearing of civil oaths in western civilizations of today which is transforming into populations of diverse cultures and belief systems.....also read about the fight by humans who call themselves atheists in USA about why swearing an oath should be by any of the holy books and/or by the acknowledge of GOD......



BRF WITNESS: Harold S. Martin: March/April 1978

An "oath" is a solemn declaration (based on an appeal to God or to some revered object) that one will speak the truth (or keep a promise)

The Bible speaks about the oath in a number of places. James 5:12 is a kind of summary statement: "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath; but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay, lest ye fall into condemnation."

Generally we think of two kinds of oaths. There are "common" oaths and there are "civil" oaths:

Common oaths -- Sometimes a person in private conversation, says, "I'll swear to it." Children playing at school will say, "Cross my heart and hope to die, if I'm not telling the truth." These are attempts to guarantee the truth of what is being said by appealing to some revered object.

The common oath also includes profane swearing and the use of euphemisms. Swearing is calling upon the name of God to express feelings of anger, and resentment, and over-emphasis. Euphemisms are mild words substituted for outright profanity. Both are flippant uses of God's name to guarantee the strength or truth of one's statements.

Civil oaths -- One called upon as a witness in court, is asked to place his hand on a Bible, and to solemnly swear to tell the truth. In the courts, it is a very serious matter to promise (in God's name) to tell the truth, and then tell a lie. The crime is known as perjury."

One who "swears" before a court of justice implies that he doesn't always tell the truth, but now that he has placed his hand on the Bible and said "I do solemnly swear," he is promising to be truthful in what he says. The Bible, however, says that a Christian is to be clearly identified with truth telling at all times. His "yes" means "yes." His "no" means "no." He doesn't need an oath to guarantee that what he says is true. The Christian is to be so careful with his speech at all times, that it will be said of him as it was commonly said of the early Brethren - "Their word is their bond" - or, "Their yes is equal to the world's oath."

The laws of our land recognize the convictions of those who cannot swear an oath in good conscience, and the law permits us to simply "affirm" instead. When we "affirm" that what we are about to say is true, we simply state that we mean to tell the truth as far as we understand it. Our experience has shown that the judge usually welcomes testimony from those who say they cannot in good conscience swear over a Bible, but who affirm to tell the truth.

taking oaths upon a Bible,
and use the words
"so help me God."

From: Separation of Church and State

When Presidents and other federal officials take their oaths of office, they often place their hand on a Bible and conclude their oaths with the words "so help me God." Some accommodationists see these practices as evidence that the founders never intended separation of church and state. But this conclusion doesn't follow: the Constitution doesn't require Presidents or other federal officials to place their hand on the Bible or say the words "so help me God." Quite the contrary, those sections of the Constitution that deal with oaths of office are completely secular in content and, as such, constitute evidence that the framers intended separation.
The Presidential oath of office is described in Article II, section 1 of the Constitution:

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Nothing in this section requires that the oath of office be taken on the Bible. Neither do the words "so help me God" appear in the oath. While Presidents often include this phrase in their inauguration ceremonies, the words are customary; they are not required by the Constitution and have no legal significance.

Additionally, we note that the words required by the Constitution are described as an "Oath or Affirmation," and that the President is allowed to simply affirm his faithfulness to the Constitution. The word "affirmation" was inserted in this section precisely to allow Presidents to avoid swearing oaths to God as a condition of taking office. This provision seems particularly intended for Quakers (who had religious objections to taking oaths), but it is worded broadly enough to encompass any person who objects to taking an oath, including non-theists.

At the time of the Constitution several states allowed Quakers to escape taking an oath as a condition of assuming elected office. The 1780 Constitution of the state of Massachusetts, for example, provided that:

when any person shall be of the denomination called Quakers, and shall decline taking said oath, he shall make his affirmation in the foregoing form, omitting the words "swear" and inserting, instead thereof, the word "affirm," and omitting the words "So help me God," and subjoining, instead thereof, the words, "This I do under the pains and penalties of perjury."
Conversely, the 1776 Delaware and 1777 Vermont constitutions did not restrict affirmations to Quakers. Like the Federal Constitution, these states allowed any citizen otherwise qualified for public office to affirm loyalty to a state, if conscientiously scrupulous of taking an oath. Still, the federal Constitution went far beyond the practices of even these states by prohibiting religious tests for public office (see below).


Finally, we note that even the "oath" form of the words prescribed by Article II, section 1 is secular in content. Unlike the oaths required in some states, the federal Constitution does not specify to whom the President "swears." God is not mentioned; it is almost as if the framers purposely worded the oath to allow the President decide for himself who, if anything, is being sworn to.

Oathtaking is not rocket science. If the framers wanted Presidents to invoke God when taking the oath of office they could have worded the oath to accomplish that objective. Instead, the constitutional oath of office contains no reference to God, need not be administered on the Bible, and need not even be considered an oath. Contrary to the accommodationist argument, Article II, section 1 is evidence that the framers intended the federal government to be secular in its operation.

Oaths of office for other federal and state officials are described in Article VI of the Constitution:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
Joseph Story, an early Justice of the Supreme Court and the author of the first detailed commentary on the United States Constitution, comments on the oath or affirmation clause of the Constitution as follows:

Oaths have a solemn obligation upon the minds of all reflecting men, and especially upon those who feel a deep sense of accountability to a Supreme being. If, in the ordinary administration of justice in cases of private rights, or personal claims, oaths are required of those, who try, as well as of those, who give testimony, to guard against malice, falsehood, and evasion, surely like guards ought to be to be interposed in the administration of high public trusts, and especially in such, as may concern the welfare and safety of the whole community. But there are know denominations of men, who are conscientiously scrupulous of taking oaths (among which is that pure and distinguished sect of Christians, commonly called Friends, or Quakers,) and therefore, to prevent any unjustifiable exclusion from office, the constitution has permitted a solemn affirmation to be made instead of an oath, and as its equivalent (Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833, pp. 1838ff.).

In other words, the Constitution guarantees all federal and state officials the right to avoid taking oaths of office. Further, the Constitution guarantees that there will be no religious tests for federal office. In the words of Joseph Story, the effect of these provisions is to "cut off for ever every pretense of any alliance between church and state in the national government." Additionally, these clauses moved the Constitution well beyond contemporary state constitutions in terms of their provisions for religious freedom.

Presidents and other federal officials may swear on the Bible and say the words "so help me God," but this does not make the Constitution any less secular. The Constitution requires nothing of federal officers in the way of religion. The framers saw no need to refer to God in the oath of office, and explicitly provided an alternative to the oath that guaranteed secularity.




Symbol of the American Atheists

Atheist sues to ban hand on Bible

THE WASHINGTON TIMES: January 8, 2005: By Jon Ward

The California lawyer who tried to have the phrase "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance now wants to legally prevent President Bush from placing his hand on a Bible while being sworn in at his inauguration.

Michael Newdow, an atheist doctor and lawyer from Sacramento, has filed a complaint and a motion for preliminary injunction in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking to remove prayer and all "Christian religious acts" from the Jan. 20 inauguration.

Michael Newdow (AP)

Mr. Newdow, 50, asserts that the presence of Christian ministers who pray publicly at the inauguration, Christian songs and the swearing of the oath of office while a president places a hand on the Bible violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
Such practices turn people "into second-class citizens and create division on the basis of religion," he said yesterday.
"It is an offense of the highest magnitude that the leader of our nation — while swearing to uphold the Constitution — publicly violates that very document upon taking his oath of office," Mr. Newdow wrote in his Dec. 17 filing. "The demands of strict scrutiny have not been met, and defendants must be enjoined from their planned religious activities."

The Constitution does not require the new president to place his hand on a Bible while repeating the oath. The tradition has been kept since George Washington — with the exception of Theodore Roosevelt, who did not use a Bible when he took the oath after President William McKinley's 1901 assassination.

The Revs. Franklin Graham and Kirbyjon Caldwell delivered Christian invocations at President Bush's 2001 inauguration. Inaugural organizers have yet to announce who will pray this year, but they confirmed there will be an invocation and a benediction by ministers chosen by the president.

The White House and the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which is one of three inaugural organizational bodies, declined to comment on Mr. Newdow's actions but a response to his filing was due yesterday.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for Thursday, Mr. Newdow said.
Mr. Newdow's efforts are "part of a march toward removing every vestige of religion from American public life," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, a D.C.-based public interest law firm.




"There is a progressive move toward secularism that we've got to combat pretty aggressively," he said.

The center is filing an amicus brief in support of the defendants in this case..

The legal debate centers on two Supreme Court cases — Marsh v. Chambers in 1983 and Lee v. Weisman in 1992.

The argument in favor of prayer at the inauguration is based on the establishment of chaplains in Congress at its inception, before the Bill of Rights was passed prohibiting any "law respecting an establishment of religion."

When the presence of chaplains in the Nebraska state legislature was legally challenged in 1983 by Ernest Chambers, a Nebraska lawmaker, the Supreme Court ruled against him, saying the practice had a "special nook" because it was a long-standing practice to have government-paid chaplains.

"The Supreme Court has given its constitutional blessing, so to speak," said Mr. Sekulow. "We should not lose our history and the religious underpinnings it is founded on."

However, Mr. Newdow makes a distinction between prayer in government chambers and prayer at a presidential inauguration.
"This is the most important public ceremony we have in our public existence, the inauguration," he said. "This is public, not just for" lawmakers.

The presence of Christian influence and prayer, Mr. Newdow said, have forced him to contemplate not using his ticket to the inauguration because he does not want to feel like "an outsider."
Mr. Newdow filed a similar suit in the San-Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year. The court threw out the suit, calling it "futile" and said that Mr. Newdow had not suffered "a sufficiently concrete and specific injury," the Associated Press reported.

Mr. Newdow first became a national figure when he argued before the Supreme Court last March to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. The court dismissed his case on the grounds that he could not represent his 10-year-old daughter, who is in the custody of his ex-wife and believes in God.

In addition to his quest to remove Christian activities from the inauguration, Mr. Newdow has renewed his quest to remove "under God" from the pledge by filing a new suit in California federal court on behalf of eight other parents.

Mr. Newdow is a licensed minister of atheism, though he says he and members of his Internet church worship nobody. He says church members instead encourage a way of thinking.

"Question everything," said Mr. Newdow, summing up his worldview. "Be honest. Do what's right. Stand up for principle."
When asked how to determine what is right, Mr. Newdow said, "I use my brain."

Mr. Newdow states in his complaint that he "sincerely believes that there is no such thing as god, or God, or any supernatural force." On the contrary, he believes "supernatural" is an oxymoron. "Thus, plaintiff denies the existence of God."

The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, said Mr. Newdow's filing marks "the day we have been warning America would come."

"Mr. Newdow should be ashamed for seeking this injunction against his fellow citizens," he said. "We, as Americans, need to awaken and deal with these threats to religious liberty, cynically disguised as 'civil liberties' defense."


There are 0 additional comments.


Send your news items to be posted to

If you have any questions or comments about this web site, send mail to Bhavin Mistry.    
© 1997-2003 Prajaapati Vishva Aashram Foundation.    
Site Design by Helios Logistics Inc.