" Swearing " on the Bible

United States
October 29, 2009 8:28am CST
In all the court scenes I see a person swearing on a Bible What if the person isn't Jewish or Christian? What happens then?If you were a member of the jury and you found out that the person testifying wasn't Christian or Jewish would you assume they would lie on the stand? I think courts these days should have All the Good Books ,especially The Koran.And if an Atheist is to testify,the bailiff should make sure the person knows the rules against perjury. Your thoughts.
3 people like this
14 responses
@Qaeyious (2362)
• United States
30 Oct 09
I just had jury duty last week, and when it comes to jurors, no book is used, at least in the state of California. We are told before the selection process to raise our right hands and we are informed that committing perjury during the process is a federal offense, subject to fines and/or imprisonment. It happens again with the selected jury, though I do not recall the exact words of the court professional; she spoke so fast (it was very close to 4:30pm when they absolutely had to dismiss) that I didn't quite catch all of it. I wasn't selected on the jury, so it wasn't important. I wonder if that is still being done for actual trials. I will try to find out later.
2 people like this
• United States
3 Nov 09
Thanks,let me know.
1 person likes this
@Qaeyious (2362)
• United States
5 Nov 09
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06222/712484-85.stm This reports that 24 states "prohibit the use of a religious test ... to qualify as a witness or juror." Unfortuneately it doesn't name the states or whether they use a bible by default. It does say that Pennsylvania, Delaware, and North Carolina are the only ones that currently refer to "God" in their oaths. www.aclu.org/images/asset_upload_file287_29873.pdf This is a court document where the ACLU challenged the North Carolina court procedures, where it was denied to - 1) have the law (specifically naming "God" as the only deterant against people lying) declared unconstitutional - 2) to have other religious texts available, besides the christian bible. But it did say that a person can bring in a religous text of their choice to use instead of their christian bible. So it's up to the individual states, and other than those previously mentioned, as well as http://www.calbar.ca.gov/calbar/2cbj/00aug/frompres.htm where I found an incidental statement for California saying that "we have appropriately done away with oaths using the Bible," but not any official California legislative document that verifies this; maybe I'll have more luck in finding information on some particular states. I'll let you request a state for me to check if you so desire, since searching 50 states (and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and the rest of the lot) will take a bit of time ...
2 people like this
• United States
10 Nov 09
Thanks. I am here in Virginia but I am close to Maryland and D.C. Can you check them for me?
@angelajoy (1839)
• Philippines
30 Oct 09
It really is inappropriate to make someone who is of a different religion swear on the Christian bible. I think your idea of making people swear on the book of their own religion is better. But what if the person is an atheist? What would he or she swear on?
@SouravRC (248)
• India
30 Oct 09
That's a fantastic point! lol!
2 people like this
• United States
3 Nov 09
An Atheist would just be told the law against perjury.
1 person likes this
@usemyname (640)
• Philippines
30 Oct 09
lol I think that thought crossed my mind sometime before. Anyway, there should be a "universal bible" if it can't be help. Maybe this is the reason behind why some people actually lie on court. . . It figures.
2 people like this
• United States
29 Oct 09
why is swearing on the bible (or any religious book) even neccesary? if people want to lie then they are going to lie regardless of their religious background "If you were a member of the jury and you found out that the person testifying wasn't Christian or Jewish would you assume they would lie on the stand?" I hope you dont feel that way I found that question insulting I am not a Christian and for someone to assume that I am a liar because I am not a Christian is just down right insulting even us NON Christians have morals!!! so to answer that question NO I would not assume anything about anyone based on their religion
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Oct 09
I am not Christian either. I'm Jewish so The first part of the Bible is sacred to me but I don't assume Only christians and Jews are the honest ones in court. I find it insulting and maybe a violation of separation of church and state for the Bible to be used this way.
• United States
29 Oct 09
Good to know you dont feel that way I agree with you that it is violation of the seperation of church and state a bible has business in a court of law
1 person likes this
@solared (1210)
• United States
29 Oct 09
I get what your saying, but the money on the dollar says in god we trust. What do they do when you go to arab countries? The UK system now has a judicial system for muslims.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Oct 09
Leave it to our cousins to get it right. I think the whole swearing thing is useless.
@jillhill (37383)
• United States
29 Oct 09
What an interesting discussion....never even crossed my mind that it would be against some people's religion or that there might be something they would like to swear on....my thought are though that it probably is a method of putting someone on the spot...and trying to make them be truthful so they use the Bible as it's the largest selling book in the world....maybe they should ask a person before they make them swear on it...
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Oct 09
I agree. Both sides should Know the beliefs of the witness.
• Canada
10 Nov 09
I am a Christian, but I do not believe in swearing on the bible for the following reasons. a) Do not worship false idols -- Personally I think swearing on a book just because a human interpretation of holy words is written in it is the worship of idolatry, because they are giving the book itsself God-like qualities. b) Separation of church and state (that should say it all! I will not swear on a Bible or other holy book in a courtroom).
1 person likes this
@wmraul (2557)
• Bucharest, Romania
29 Oct 09
The main question is if swearing on bible really stops ANYBODY to commit perjury. Coz if you ask me, I know as many chiristian liars as any other "religious group" .. Swearing to tell the truth, on bible, on kuoran or on a pair of used underwear, is same. So, this stuff is in fact just a symbol. No real guarantee that truth will be spoken .. You may also want to find out what George Carlin said about this stuf .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgnWP7jD-0I
1 person likes this
@Fulltank (2896)
• Philippines
29 Oct 09
I think its a court rule that has to be amended as its not applicable to the current way of living. As many responder to this discussion said, it make one looks ridicule. Much better if they swear to there word without putting their hands on the Bible. I see some court (at least in the movies) wherein the witness swears without the Bible thing. I'm not against it as well but our way of life have change, and some old rules need to be amended at.
1 person likes this
@SouravRC (248)
• India
29 Oct 09
It's a old rule or you can say tradition. Yes, one can lie even after swearing on a religious book. But it's kind of emotional play. People normally feel bad or nervous telling lie after swearing on their faith. At people used to be like that. Nowadays things have changed and well... it may seem ridiculous.
1 person likes this
@laglen (19782)
• United States
29 Oct 09
If you do not believe in the bible, they have you swear on your word. As a jury member, I wouldn't think twice. If the person gives their word, it is the same thing. I would watch and listen to the person and evidence to judge.
@creationhub (3068)
• Malaysia
29 Oct 09
It does not matter what religeon a person belong, but swearing on the bible makes ridicule. It does not mean that God is going to send thunder and lightning should one lie. It is better just put on a reliable lie detector test before testifying in court.
@Ravenladyj (22937)
• United States
29 Oct 09
LOL you know I've often wondered that myself..or what if the bible being used is onen that the person testifying is against? If you were a member of the jury and you found out that the person testifying wasn't Christian or Jewish would you assume they would lie on the stand? would "I"? no...to me the whole swearing on the bible thing is nothing but b.s since even Christians are capable of lying whether they'll admit it or not....
1 person likes this
• Canada
10 Nov 09
I am a Christian, but I do not believe in swearing on the bible for the following reasons. a) Do not worship false idols -- Personally I think swearing on a book just because a human interpretation of holy words is written in it is the worship of idolatry, because they are giving the book itsself God-like qualities. b) Separation of church and state (that should say it all! I will not swear on a Bible or other holy book in a courtroom).