Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Jury ‘duty’

I wondered about whether jurors in the UK have to swear on bibles or what.  The Current Mrs Latsot knows about this kind of stuff and sent me the answer (from Wikipedia):

Religion Oath/Affirmation Scripture
Roman Catholic, Mainstream Protestant, Orthodox Christian, Jewish, Rastafarian

I swear by almighty God that I will faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence.

The Bible; New Testament
Islam

I swear by Allah that I will faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence.

The Koran
United Brethren swear:

I, being one of the United Brethren called Moravians, solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence.

Not all Christian sects believe in swearing oaths.
Quakers affirm:

I, being one of the people called Quakers, solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence.

Quakers do not believe in swearing oaths.
Sikhs can swear:

I swear by Waheguru that I will faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence.

Waheguru
Hindus

I, swear on the Gita I will faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence.

Gita
Atheist/Agnostics; Jehovah's Witnesses

I solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence.

None

 

Two things strike me. The first is that atheists and agnostics are bundled with Jehova’s Witnesses, which is simply extraordinary. The second is that swearing on holy books is given consideration in the legal system.  It doesn’t matter what holy book it is.  And in the case of us Atheist Witnesses, it doesn’t matter whether we have a holy book at all.  But as long as people swear on such a thing, there’s apparently a greater chance that they’re telling the truth.

The very idea of promising to tell the truth is embarrassing, much more so when it invokesreligion.

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