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7.30.2005    |    Do you solemnly swear...
...or, perhaps not? Another example, were one needed, of the "American Civil Liberties" Union stirring the pot, attempting to eliminate Christianity from the public square.

Why the scare quotes? Well, if it isn't clear by now, the ACLU may be a "union", that is, a gathering of like-minded souls, but it surely isn't American, nor does it protect your civil rights if you are a Christian. The ACLU seems bent on severing America's Christian connection, root and branch. Which is tantamount to declaring us null and void as a nation under God.

America is not, and never will be, a nation under Ganesha or Allah. For the simple reason that we are told, rather plainly and forcefully, that "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex 20:3). And, no, "Allah" is not God, even if the Arabic word translates as "god". No religion that denies the truth of Jesus, after the fact of his death and resurrection, can be valid.

The issue at hand is that the ACLU wants the State of North Carolina to now allow the use of holy books other than the Holy Scriptures as the basis for courtroom oaths (story here). North Carolina already allows those who are not Christian to not place their hands on a Christian Bible, or, for those with no faith, to simply affirm that what they are about to say will be the truth.

As might be expected, there are two sides (at least) to the story, which may be summed up from the News & Observer's story:
Erik Stanley, a lawyer with the Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based conservative law group, said the ACLU was trying to erase historic references to Christianity.

"The ACLU is not attempting to bring accommodation. That already exists," he said. "They're trying to erase history. Courtroom oaths have always been done on the Bible."

But Charles Haynes, a scholar at the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Va., said the affirmation oath was designed for people of no faith, not for people of faiths other than Christianity.

"It gives Muslims and Jews the message, 'You are a lesser citizen than those who put their hand on the Bible,' " he said. "Nobody wants to be made to feel an outsider."
I think they are both right. It is troubling not to accommodate Jews, who were the messengers who brought us the Christ, by allowing the use of the Hebrew Scriptures. As for those of other faiths, or no faith, they are accommodated by allowing them to simply swear by their version of God, or to affirm.

Jews, Muslims, and other non-Christians need to know they live in a Christian nation. Which is how they get their freedom to worship according to their conscience in the first place. Freedom of conscience was a necessary product of the (Christian) sectarian wars that the Founders were fearful of repeating in the New World. I would claim further that it was the love shown by Jesus for all that was the example used. We Christians may believe that none will come to the Father but through Jesus (John 14:6), yet we also know that judgment on those who have not chosen Jesus Christ as Savior will not be carried by men, but by God (John 5:21-29).

There is something, however, that ought to trouble Christians who are asked to take a public oath. Something our Savior told us in Matthew 5:
33 Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn. 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply Yes or No; anything more than this comes from evil.
The Christian, then, ought not to worry about oaths, and, frankly, ought not to swear at all for the reasons that Jesus has given us. When we must swear, Holy Scriptures will do nicely. But should not be necessary.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.