The Bible

1291 Words6 Pages
Use of the Bible in Courts and Government. For many years, the tradition of swearing an oath to the Bible has survived and still exists in the contemporary society. The most recent incident of this oath taking was back in March 2014, when Elena Kagan was “sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice” (Applewhite). This process of swearing an oath to the Bible requires that a person hold their right hand in the air while placing their left on top of the Bible and saying the words “so help me God” at the end of their oath. While this process has appropriate intentions, it also has been the source of an ongoing controversy. Despite the fact that this tradition has gained favor among most people and having good intentions, the process of requiring a person to swear an oath to the Bible in government should be eliminated because of religious complexities, one’s inclination to have clean records, and the government’s lack of ties to religion. The action of swearing an oath to the Bible has its positive effects. According to Rob Boston, in this time period, people fear God’s punishments more than they do the law. He claims that people know that telling lies to the government was more than just extended time in jail; it also put their “immortal souls at risk” (Boston 4). In a sense, it’s clear why the oath would be very effective. People believe that the law can only punish them up to a certain point. Their soul, however, is eternal, and they wouldn’t want that tainted. It would be like burning a tongue or burning some cash. Souls and tongues are things that stay with us, thus making them more valuable than time and money. Time and money are things that we can always have more of. Souls are more valuable and are therefore more important than hav... ... middle of paper ... ...” It may seem as if taking away the Biblical oath would eliminate motivations for oath takers to tell the truth. However, there is an existing penalty of perjury should witnesses lie or government officials break their oaths. The possibility of being charged with perjury is sufficient in encouraging oath takers to tell the truth (Chandu 22). It’s quite simple actually. Should an oath taker lie, the penalty of perjury will bring him behind bars and make his wallet a little lighter. The government doesn’t need religion to acquire justice. Fear of being charged with perjury should be enough. The whole practice of the Biblical oath is purely symbolic. If a witness swore on the Bible and failed to tell the truth, “the judge isn't likely to wait for a lightning bolt to descend from the skies above.” Instead, the witness would simply be “charged with perjury” (Boston 4).
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