Swearing the oath before a civil court

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by beej6, May 2, 2006.

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  1. beej6

    beej6 Puritan Board Sophomore

    In swearing to the classic oath before a civil court, "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" would it be disrespectful to answer instead of the classic "I do" or "Yes," to answer, "So help us God, I do," or "May God help us, I do"?

    Does it then become not just an answer to an oath, but a prayer, at which we then should invoke it in Jesus' name?
  2. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

    I don't know BJ. There is nothing wrong with the prayer, it's just that you will probably tell the truth whether God helps you or not. Unless you mean praying for God's help in a complicated situation where you don't want to forget any of the truth?
  3. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Disrespectful to whom? I don't think any judge I know of would consider your response disrespectful.

    Our jurisdicition has fallen into the "oath or affirmation" wording. "Do you solemnly swear or affirm . . . .?"

    Very often a witness will say something like "before God I so swear." I've never seen a judge take the response in a disrespectful way.

    And I don't think God is shown disrespect, unless, of course, the witness goes on to lie.

  4. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    BJ, I'm sorry, I missed the last part of the question. I have seen witnesses swear in the name of Jesus too with no offense taken by a judge, although I've seen a lawyer or two cringe. Says something about a lawyer or two, I think.

  5. Ambrose

    Ambrose Puritan Board Freshman

    Ironic that only in court can "swearing in the name of Jesus" offend non-Christians!

    Anyway, I've never been sworn in, but I would think that "By the grace of God, I do" would be a good way to answer.
  6. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

  7. beej6

    beej6 Puritan Board Sophomore

    I don't usually appear in court, but it may happen a few times a year as part of my work. I just answered with the simple "I do" this time... I guess the picayune point I was thinking of making was that God should help all of us, not just me, on the stand... however, since the oath is specifically directed at me, I suppose I could just address that that way.
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