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Judges bid to banish the Bible from court

court judges bible oath witnesses

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31 replies to this topic

#1    Still Waters

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 12:33 PM

Defendants and witnesses in British courts will no longer swear on the Bible to tell the truth under controversial plans being considered by a powerful body of judges.

The traditional religious oath could be scrapped amid concerns that many giving evidence in criminal cases no longer take it seriously.

Instead, all witnesses and defendants would promise to tell the truth without mentioning God, and would acknowledge they could be jailed if they are caught lying.

http://www.dailymail...-seriously.html

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#2    spacecowboy342

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 01:00 PM

The part about how non-believers could choose to affirm instead of swearing on the bible always bothered me as I figured Christians on the jury would automatically assume I was lying as I was a Godless atheist


#3    Rlyeh

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 02:36 PM

Like the Bible has stopped liars anyway.


#4    ealdwita

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 03:05 PM

Religious or not - it appears to me to be yet another attempt to undermine the traditional British way of life which our Lords Temporal and Spiritual all seem to despise!

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#5    Leonardo

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 05:09 PM

God (divinity) is not recognised in a court of Law as an entity. This means, in the eyes of our legal system, there is no force or commitment behind any oath sworn upon the bible beyond that of the person's commitment to upholding the integrity of our legal system. It makes sense to remove the requirement of swearing an oath upon the bible, then.

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#6    voidla

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 06:39 PM

Good :D
It doesn't stop people from lying. Being reaffirmed they'll face arrest if found to be lying sounds a better guilt trip.

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#7    GreenmansGod

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 08:51 PM

Last time I was sworn in I was told to raise my right hand and the bailiff said, 'Do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, under penalty of law."  Nothing about God or a Bible.    If you don't tell the truth you go to jail. That is enough for me.  If I am to swear on something it would have to be an oak branch.

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#8    Paranoid Android

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 12:40 AM

I've never been in court, but as a Christian I would refuse to swear an oath of any kind, whether on the Bible or anything else. Jesus says not to do this (Matthew 5:33-37), simply be truthful in everything you say. Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.

As far as court systems go, I'm pretty sure everyone knows there are penalties for lying. The procedure of acknowledging this is just the system's way of ensuring no one can feign ignorance if they are caught. Swearing an oath isn't going to makesomeone intent on lying to tell the truth.

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#9    crimson089

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 10:15 AM

^agreed and besides, the court is governed by the laws of human and their trials & justice are different systems from the bible.

Edited by crimson089, 10 October 2013 - 10:17 AM.

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#10    Junior Chubb

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 10:27 AM

There is no place in the courtroom for the bible. IMO it is embarrassing that it is still used in a 'modern' courtroom.

Do you swear on this book (that may hold no meaning to you whatsoever) tell the truth, maybe in fear that you may suffer the wrath of a faith you do not believe in while respecting a deity you do not believe exists?

Edited by Junior Chubb, 10 October 2013 - 10:31 AM.

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#11    Frank Merton

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 10:45 AM

Do they actually do that in US courts?  I thought there was separation of church and state?


#12    spacecowboy342

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 11:04 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 10 October 2013 - 10:45 AM, said:

Do they actually do that in US courts?  I thought there was separation of church and state?
On paper, yes, in practice, not so much. They also start every session of congress with a prayer. Doesn't seem to be helping much.


#13    Paranoid Android

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 01:27 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 10 October 2013 - 10:45 AM, said:

Do they actually do that in US courts?  I thought there was separation of church and state?

View Postspacecowboy342, on 10 October 2013 - 11:04 AM, said:

On paper, yes, in practice, not so much. They also start every session of congress with a prayer. Doesn't seem to be helping much.

Perhaps this is because you have not studied the nuances of said state/church separation. The wording of the creed only demands that in matters of Law, church cannot interfere with Law (and vice versa). This was a direct result of the English system from which America grew, being that the Anglican system was part of the political hierarchy in England. No Law is affected when swearing an oath on the Bible, therefore there is no issue with the Constitution. The phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear on any official document I'm aware of. From memory (and don't quote me on this), the text only says something along the lines of "Congress shall make no Law that favours one religious group over another". I'm no expert, but this is my understanding.

Edited by Paranoid Android, 10 October 2013 - 01:30 PM.

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#14    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 01:48 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 10 October 2013 - 01:27 PM, said:

This was a direct result of the English system from which America grew, being that the Anglican system was part of the political hierarchy in England.

I believe that the church/state separation that we enjoy in the US is indeed a result of the English system, namely that we did not want to have the English system.

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No Law is affected when swearing an oath on the Bible, therefore there is no issue with the Constitution. The phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear on any official document I'm aware of. From memory (and don't quote me on this), the text only says something along the lines of "Congress shall make no Law that favours one religious group over another". I'm no expert, but this is my understanding.

One could also argue that no law is affected by having school-led prayer in public schools, but that is an issue for the US Constitution at least and forbidden.  The phrase 'separation of church and state' is a shorthand way of describing the US government's approach to religion, that the govt can make no law respecting an establishment of religion nor prohibit the free exercise thereof, it was also how Jefferson described the 1st Amendment religion clauses in a letter I believe to some Baptists.  The fact that the exact 'separation' phrase doesn't appear in the Constitution doesn't really mean much; it similarly doesn't contain the phrases 'right to privacy' or 'right to a fair trial', although those are also used as shorthand ways of describing the corresponding concepts.

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#15    Leonardo

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 02:20 PM

View PostLiquid Gardens, on 10 October 2013 - 01:48 PM, said:

One could also argue that no law is affected by having school-led prayer in public schools, but that is an issue for the US Constitution at least and forbidden.  The phrase 'separation of church and state' is a shorthand way of describing the US government's approach to religion, that the govt can make no law respecting an establishment of religion nor prohibit the free exercise thereof, it was also how Jefferson described the 1st Amendment religion clauses in a letter I believe to some Baptists.  The fact that the exact 'separation' phrase doesn't appear in the Constitution doesn't really mean much; it similarly doesn't contain the phrases 'right to privacy' or 'right to a fair trial', although those are also used as shorthand ways of describing the corresponding concepts.

The only difference between a tradition and a law, is the different quality of belief in the authority invoked in following them.

It could be argued the US Congress' tradition of prayer is de-facto law, and I would like to see what the response would be should someone object to the daily prayer and suggest it be abolished as a tradition, but that each member of Congress may perform their preferred religious ritual in their private office before attending chamber.

My bet is that there would be great opposition to this and it would be decried as 'restricting religious practice', when in fact it is not restricting that practice at all but separating that practice from the practice of government.

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