Friday, October 21, 2005

"So Help Me God"

You may have seen this e-mail making the rounds. A woman was called to testify in court, and she was shocked — shocked, I tell you — that the oath was administered without the phrase "so help me God" at the end. She asked about it and was told that those four words were no longer required when taking an oath upon testifying. She went home and sent an e-mail out to everyone on earth decrying the downfall of civilization.

The conventional form of the oath is: "Do you solemnly [swear or affirm] that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth [so help you God]?"

There are people in this nation who do not believe in any God. There are people who believe in multiple gods — and even goddesses! There are people who believe that using the name of God in an oath in court is blasphemous.

To those who object to the removal of "so help me God" from legal oaths, I propose the following alternatives:

  • so help me Beelzebub
  • so help me Allah
  • so help me by the consciousness of a universe without God
  • so help me Forseti, Loki, and Iþunn
  • like, because lying is totally bad karma and all, you know
If you find any of those objectionable, then I leave you only one alternative: "I solemnly affirm that the testimony I shall give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, on penalty of perjury."