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If necessary to testify in court would you put your hand on the bible?

People in courts have to place their hand on the bible to swear they're telling the truth (ironic I know) so would YOU or not and what would you say to the court about not doing it?

K9Kohle789 7 Jan 18

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58 comments

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15

Googled this one "Atheists are allowed to "solemnly, sincerely and truly affirm" instead of swearing." (To tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth). I know someone just posted this in response to something else the other day? So in any case - no not swearing on a book I believe is fantasy. They might as well substitute Harry Potter!

Harry Potter is much more plausible than the bible...

It is my understanding, that at least on the left coast, you are asked to swear or affirm. You don't need to make a scene unless you want to...

I would so swear on HP!! I solemnly swear I am up to no good!

14

When I was getting my divorce I had to stand up and raise my hand and swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God. When he said that I just started laughing. The judge just looked at me strangely and I said sure why not. I think I would totally swear on the Bible so if I lied who cares I swore on something that is a big lie in the first place.

@EmmanuelArmah no. I am with someone.

13

If I have to testufy I will ask for the Constitution

9

Why not? If it makes them feel better... A liar is a liar bible or no bible

7

I guess I would. Because it would take much much much less time and effort than explaining to a courtroom about my lack of beliefs

7

Being in contact with the bible never altered the composition of my skin. So I will swear on anything you put in front of me. Is not my burden to value my swearing.

@JWDiaz I knew you weren't that bad of a human being.

7

I would swear on The Constitution.

Which part the true intend ideas have become so twisted that the true meaning means nothing.

@azzow2 Come again?

@RoboGraham If you read the original Constitution and compare it to what is written for modern laws in a lot of the cases you will think WTF.

@azzow2 Yes, we certainly have some ridiculous laws.

6

Sure, why not. I am pledging to tell the truth not belief or allegiance to the bible. Just because I don't fear divine retribution doesn't mean I don't have enough integrity to tell the truth

6

Actually, my job in Georgia requires me to prosecute environmental violations in court. My first time the Judge asked me to swear on the bible I explained that I could but it would mean nothing to me because I am an Atheist. He was only slightly taken aback. Then he asked if I would swear to the court. I said sure.

6

Depending on where you live it is not actually mandatory to swear an oath on the bible.

Most US states offer alternatives.

"If you are testifying at a trial or hearing, you also have right to affirm in most states. If you are given an oath with a deity in it, and a bible is held up for you to place your hand on, inform the judge that you need to make an affirmation (and mention that you would be glad to place your hand on the U.S. Constitution instead!). It is unfortunate that the onus falls on you to object, and thus to single yourself out as a nonbeliever, or at least a non-swearer, often in front of a jury. Some enlightened judges have dropped religious oaths entirely, but that is rare."
[ffrf.org]

5

Only if I intended lying. In Oz, few people put their hand on the bible these days, instead we just affirm we will speak the truth, breaching this is still perjury.

5

I think I'd try to talk to the judge in chambers and say, hey, if you are cool with me swearing on a book that I have no reverence for, then fine, ill do it. But isn't there a more appropriate way for me to demonstrate that I take this seriously? I love the swearing on the constitution idea. And since perjury is a criminal offense, shouldn't people swear on the Criminal Code of the Jurisdiction?

5

I've had to testify, however I did not have to put my hand on anything. Just raised it and affirm that I will tell the truth. Even if I had to put my hand on the Bible I would. It's not like I'm planning on lying or anything.

4

No, it would mean nothing to me. I would swear on the US Constitution.

4

I'd do it.

4

I like @ashleyrenee comment. Think I'll ask for that.

For me, it would either be the US Constitution or a copy of Harry Potter 😉

4

You can be sworn in on anything as I understand it. Some people choose to he sworn in on the US Constitution and, if I were in that position, I think that's what I would do.

4

I would write, memorize, and recite a short, pithy rhyming poem about how my word is trustworthy because I have integrity and not because I make some pro forma oath. And then if they still want me to affirm I'd do that. With a snotty smirk.

3

Very very few places require any "book" to swear on, you can simply affirm you intend to tell the truth. A non-issue for years

@EmmanuelArmah I. Not your "dear"
2. Why exactly would I want to chat?

3

To save my ass you bet I would or help save or convict someone too if I was passionate about the subject. it doesn't mean I believe a word of it.

3

This is a contplating thought you have to put your hand on a book based on lies to take an oath to tell the truth.

Great response!

2

No, and the one time it came up for me the judge in the case handled it perfectly. When one of the defense attorneys made a fuss about my refusal to swear on a bible the judge reminded that person that not only was "Mr. Powers NOT on trial" but also that it is not a requirement in any legal statute of which he was aware. The judge asked if I swore to tell the truth. I said I would. He said
"you are under oath."

2

i do, because i live in the bible belt, and if my ass is on the line, i don't need any bias towards me or my case. that being said, when i do jury duty, i refuse. its not required by law. as an atheist in the buybull belt, you must pick your battles. christians are two faced and will use it against you. while they smile and tell you to have a blessed day.

Yup, I hate that phony, two-faced politeness with a smile. In Iowa, they call it " Iowa Nice". I call it phony, enforced politeness that is all fake bullshit. I refuse to participate in it and now that I'm retired, I don't need to play their game to get a job, so I confront the shit out it whenever I run across it just because I enjoy messing with these phonies, pissing them off, and making them squirm. But I even used to do it a lot even before I retired, just picked my battles, as you say.

2

If the witness is a Jew, do they swear only on the Old Testament?

2

It is a false dilemma. The bible thing is a common way of being sworn in there is no part of US law that requires it or even suggests it. You can tell them you want to swear on a different book or affirm. I have had to and I just affirmed.

However if there was a situation where that was the only option I would because me feeling slightly uncomfortable doesn't compare to the damage I could cause someone else for failing to tratify.

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