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Re: [atheists-27] Fwd: So Help Me God in presidential oaths

From: Mathew G.
Sent on: Monday, March 11, 2013 7:48 PM
Promising to "tell the truth" or not to commit perjury is usually a focus of judicial oaths for witnesses.  This is an oath for executive office, some lying is technically permitted (not grounds for impeachment).  Here it is:

“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.”

On Mar 11, 2013, at 7:29 PM, Kevin Cole <[address removed]> wrote:

The whole notion of oaths (or whatever variation of said term) has always struck me as odd.  If I have to "attest" / "affirm" via magical incantation that I'm making a promise / telling the truth, it suggests that in my normal day-to-day life, where I'm not attesting / swearing to every utterance that most of the time I'm just a lying sack of shit.  And, if it's true that I am, reciting the incantation wouldn't change that.  In other words, it's a meaningless time-waster.

Rather than ask "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth", ask "Do you understand what perjury is?  Do you understand that we're going to be fact-checking and will hurt you if you're lying to us?"  

If I answer "No, I don't swear to tell the truth" then I'm in contempt. So, I should lie, and say that I "swear ... so help me god", which by the very nature of affirming something I patently don't believe in, I've in effect invalidated the whole charade...

I want to say "Either trust me or don't. Your choice."

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