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Swearing on the Bible

 
 
Telamon
 
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 10:23 pm
"Here's another one of these civic customs: swearing on the Bible. Do you understand that ****? They tell you to raise your right hand, place your left hand on the Bible. Does this stuff really matter? Which hand? Does God really give a **** about details like this? Suppose you put right hand on the Bible, you raise your left hand. Would that count? Or would God say: "Sorry, wrong hand! Try again!" Why does one hand have to be raised? What is the magic in this gesture? This seems like some sort of a primitive voodoo mojo stick. Why not put your left hand on the Bible, let your right hand hang down by your side? That's more natural. Or put it in your pocket. That's what your mother used to say. "Don't put your hands in your pockets!" Does she know something we don't know? Is this hand **** really important? Let's get back to the Bible: America's favorite national theatrical prop. Suppose the Bible they hand you to swear on is upside-down. Or backwards. Or both! And you swear to tell the truth on an upside-down backwards Bible. Would that count? Suppose the Bible they hand you is an old Bible and half the pages are missing. Suppose all they have is a Chinese Bible, in an American court! Or Braille Bible, and you're not blind! Suppose they hand you an upside-down, backwards Chinese Braille Bible with half the pages missing! At what point does all of this stuff just break down and become just a lot of stupid **** that somebody made up? They ******* made it up, folks! It's make-believe!"- George Carlin

Makes me giggle every time. Never understood why this was added to the American court system in the first place (separation of church and state) and why the hell is it still around?
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 10:25 pm
@Telamon,
Telamon wrote:

Makes me giggle every time. Never understood why this was added to the American court system in the first place (separation of church and state) and why the hell is it still around?


God only knows!
Telamon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 10:49 pm
@roger,
roger wrote:

God only knows!

humorously ironic
0 Replies
 
Region Philbis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 03:22 am
@Telamon,

was that an exerpt from his larger dissertation on "the invisible man in the sky"?

that is some funny ****...
Intrepid
 
  3  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 06:02 am
@Telamon,
The raising of the hand is symbolic and is not the act of taking the oath.

The custom of raising the right hand originated during the Medieval period when convicted felons were often branded on the palm of the right hand with a letter or mark indicating their conviction. Since felons were disqualified from making declarations under oath, an oath-taker would display their right hand to show that they were free of convictions and therefore able take an oath.
djjd62
 
  3  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 06:09 am
@Region Philbis,
one of my favourite carlin bits

Here is my problem with the ten commandments- why exactly are there 10?

You simply do not need ten. The list of ten commandments was artificially and deliberately inflated to get it up to ten. Here's what happened:

About 5,000 years ago a bunch of religious and political hustlers got together to try to figure out how to control people and keep them in line. They knew people were basically stupid and would believe anything they were told, so they announced that God had given them some commandments, up on a mountain, when no one was around.

Well let me ask you this- when they were making this **** up, why did they pick 10? Why not 9 or 11? I'll tell you why- because 10 sound official. Ten sounds important! Ten is the basis for the decimal system, it's a decade, it's a psychologically satisfying number (the top ten, the ten most wanted, the ten best dressed). So having ten commandments was really a marketing decision! It is clearly a bullshit list. It's a political document artificially inflated to sell better. I will now show you how you can reduce the number of commandments and come up with a list that's a little more workable and logical. I am going to use the Roman Catholic version because those were the ones I was taught as a little boy.

Let's start with the first three:

I AM THE LORD THY GOD
THOU SHALT NOT HAVE STRANGE GODS BEFORE ME

THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD THY GOD IN VAIN

THOU SHALT KEEP HOLY THE SABBATH

Right off the bat the first three are pure bullshit. Sabbath day? Lord's name? strange gods? Spooky language! Designed to scare and control primitive people. In no way does superstitious nonsense like this apply to the lives of intelligent civilized humans in the 21st century. So now we're down to 7. Next:

HONOR THY FATHER AND MOTHER

Obedience, respect for authority. Just another name for controlling people. The truth is that obedience and respect shouldn't be automatic. They should be earned and based on the parent's performance. Some parents deserve respect, but most of them don't, period. You're down to six.

Now in the interest of logic, something religion is very uncomfortable with, we're going to jump around the list a little bit.

THOU SHALT NOT STEAL

THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS

Stealing and lying. Well actually, these two both prohibit the same kind of behavior- dishonesty. So you don't really need two you combine them and call the commandment "thou shalt not be dishonest". And suddenly you're down to 5.

And as long as we're combining I have two others that belong together:

THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTRY

THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR'S WIFE

Once again, these two prohibit the same type of behavior. In this case it is marital infidelity. The difference is- coveting takes place in the mind. But I don't think you should outlaw fantasizing about someone else's wife because what is a guy gonna think about when he's waxing his carrot? But, marital fidelity is a good idea so we're gonna keep this one and call it "thou shalt not be unfaithful". And suddenly we're down to four.

But when you think about it, honesty and fidelity are really part of the same overall value so, in truth, you could combine the two honesty commandments with the two fidelity commandments and give them simpler language, positive language instead of negative language and call the whole thing "thou shalt always be honest and faithful" and we're down to 3.

THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR"S GOODS

This one is just plain fuckin' stupid. Coveting your neighbor's goods is what keeps the economy going! Your neighbor gets a vibrator that plays "o come o ye faithful", and you want one too! Coveting creates jobs, so leave it alone. You throw out coveting and you're down to 2 now- the big honesty and fidelity commandment and the one we haven't talked about yet:

THOU SHALT NOT KILL

Murder. But when you think about it, religion has never really had a big problem with murder. More people have been killed in the name of god than for any other reason. All you have to do is look at Northern Ireland, Kashmir, the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the World Trade Center to see how seriously the religious folks take thou shalt not kill. The more devout they are, the more they see murder as being negotiable. It depends on who's doin the killin' and who's gettin' killed. So, with all of this in mind, I give you my revised list of the two commandments:

Thou shalt always be honest and faithful
to the provider of thy nookie.

&

Thou shalt try real hard not to kill anyone, unless of course
they pray to a different invisible man than you.

Two is all you need; Moses could have carried them down the hill in his fuckin' pocket. I wouldn't mind those folks in Alabama posting them on the courthouse wall, as long as they provided one additional commandment:

Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself.
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 07:48 am
I'm honestly still a bit confused on the procedure here. I've heard about people taking oaths of office on books other than a Bible (a Koran in the case I'm thinking about). Does that apply in court cases? What of atheists? What are we supposed to swear in upon?

Is this federal or state by state?

A
R
T
Intrepid
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 07:55 am
@failures art,
I believe the bible is an option. It is not a legal requirement. The only legal requirement is an affirmation that the person agrees to tell the truth. As for the hand raising.....see my post above.
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 07:58 am
@Intrepid,
Cool info on the hand raising. Thanks, BTW.

Good to know about the Bible stuff not being a part of official procedure or that it would disqualify my testimony if I ever had to give one.

A
R
T
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 09:10 am
@Intrepid,
I've never seen a bible in a courtroom in all of the years that I have practiced law. A witness swears by raising his or her right hand -- that's it.
Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 09:51 am
@joefromchicago,
I am only familiar with Canada. Although, I only had occassion to be sworn in once in a courtroom. That was many years ago in Toronto when I was called as a witness.

I don't recall if there was a bible at the time. Apparently, one can be requested if the person swearing the oath requests it.
0 Replies
 
Telamon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 04:00 pm
@Intrepid,
Intrepid wrote:

The raising of the hand is symbolic and is not the act of taking the oath.

The custom of raising the right hand originated during the Medieval period when convicted felons were often branded on the palm of the right hand with a letter or mark indicating their conviction. Since felons were disqualified from making declarations under oath, an oath-taker would display their right hand to show that they were free of convictions and therefore able take an oath.



Like failures art said, “cool info on the hand raising. Thanks, BTW.”
0 Replies
 
Diane
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 04:18 pm
The British version:

The late Baron Stratford was one of the most colorful characters to grace the British politics in the recent years. As plain the Rt. Hon. Tony Banks, he and his acidic wit served with distinction in the House of Commons. It was Banks who christened Tory leader William Hague as a “foetus”, adding that Conservative MPs might be rethinking their views on abortion.

His most controversial moment came when he was seen crossing his fingers when he took the oath of allegiance to the Queen. Since Banks was a fervent republican, there were much controversy, although Banks always insisted he was wishing himself luck in his new job as Minister for Sport.

The 500-year old oath has never been without controversy. At one point in 1998, even 15 dukes (including three royals) refused to swear it. At the start of each new parliament, all MPs take the oath, swearing on a bible or an equivalent sacred text: “I [name] swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.” The wording varied from parliament to parliament (it used to be so much longer). Non-believers and those like Quakers whose religion makes oaths objectionable, affirm: “”I [name] do swear that I will be faithful…” Many MPs think it should be scrapped; on the other hand a similar oath was proposed to be enacted in schools.

And there were those like Banks who brought humor to the occasion. John Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister, mumbled the words. Dennis Skinner, ad-libbed “and all who sail on her” after the words Queen Elizabeth. But this is nothing new. There were many MPs and Lords throughout history who pledged their allegiances to the constituents and the “common people” before swearing the oath. Tony Benn prefaced it with, “As a dedicated republican” in 1992, and atheist Charles Bradluagh refused to swear it in 1880, thus beginning first of his four ejection from the House.

I've always loved the Hippy Dippy Weatherman.

Sorry, I don't remember the source. I'll add it if I can find it again.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 04:45 pm
@Diane,
??? I'm pretty sure the weatherman I was thinking of retired before you moved into the state. Maybe not, though.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 06:40 pm
@Telamon,
Telamon wrote:
"Here's another one of these civic customs: swearing on the Bible.

I don't think they do that any more. They do it a lot on TV, but the few times I've been in an actual court, they didn't do it.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 07:08 pm
@rosborne979,
when I was still a working man, I spent at least 3 days a week in court, I've never sworn on a bible.
0 Replies
 
Sentience
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Aug, 2010 12:30 am
Shh...! Don't ruin it for the rest of us, I like being able to bend truths in court! Heh.
Telamon
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Aug, 2010 12:39 am
@Sentience,
Sentience wrote:

Shh...! Don't ruin it for the rest of us, I like being able to bend truths in court! Heh.

The truth we speak, may not be the truth you think you hear.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Aug, 2010 02:31 am
@Telamon,
Just what are you? Some kind of politician, or something?
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Aug, 2010 08:28 am
@Diane,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1uaw3WIOlc

Hippy Dippy Weatherman- Still gives me a laugh
0 Replies
 
 

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