Proposal Would Change Oath Law
Special Report - February 13, 2007
From testifying in the courtroom to entering into elected office, North Carolina has long recognized the value and importance of swearing an oath with one’s hand upon the Bible. Senate Bill 88Clarify Oaths, sponsored by State Senator Ellie Kinnaird (D-Orange), however, would allow oaths in North Carolina to be sworn upon “the Bible or any text sacred to the party’s religious faith,” and would allow the omission of “so help me God” from the oath, “if appropriate to the person’s religious faith.”
“North Carolina law already accommodates those who do not wish to take an oath with their hand upon the Bible or say ‘so help me God,’” responded John Rustin, North Carolina Family Policy Council director of government relations. “Senate Bill 88 proposes something altogether different. It invites any so-called ‘religious text’ into our courtrooms and governmental bodies on a footing equal to that of the Bible. In so doing, it denies what our oath law clearly acknowledges, that Almighty God is the ultimate authority to whom we must answer.”
North Carolina’s oath law currently reads, “Whereas, lawful oaths for discovery of truth and establishing right are necessary and highly conducive to the important end of good government; and being most solemn appeals to Almighty God, as the omniscient witness of truth and the just and omnipotent avenger of falsehood, and whereas, lawful affirmations for the discovery of truth and establishing right are necessary and highly conducive to the important end of good government, therefore, such oaths and affirmations ought to be taken and administered with the utmost solemnity.”
The law continues: “Judges and other persons who may be empowered to administer oaths, shall…require the party to be sworn to lay his hand upon the Holy Scriptures, in token of his engagement to speak the truth and in further token that, if he should swerve from the truth, he may be justly deprived of all the blessings of that holy book and made liable to that vengeance which he has imprecated on his own head.”
Senate Bill 88 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary 1 Committee.
Copyright © 2007. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.