Friday, October 31, 2008

"So Help You God" is Gone

I'm the foreman of the grand jury I serve on, so I have the responsibility of swearing in the witnesses who testify in each case. Twenty to thirty times each day, I recite the oath that each witness must agree to before testifying. I've recited it so much, I can say it in my sleep, and knowing my poor sleeping habits, I probably do!

Maybe it's just me, but I thought that the oath included the words: "so help you God." My understanding was that the oath was designed to solicit the help and accountability of God. By agreeing to the words, "so help you God," a person who is preparing to testify is calling upon God for help in telling "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." But get a load of this...the wording has been changed. I don't know when it happened, but the oath now goes like this:

Do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth under penalty of law?

"So help you God" is gone. It's been replaced by the words "under penalty of law." I guess people were lying a lot under oath, and so the powers-that-be decided it might be more effective to threaten witnesses with legal ramifications rather than spiritual ramifications.

Pretty sad. I was actually taken back when I first gave the oath, and I've threatened to throw "so help you God" in one of these times! It's just another sad way in which our society is slowly removing God from its moral fabric.

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