Stumper Detail

Date: Monday, January 1, 2001 
Question/Topic: Oath of office - oaths and affirmations 
Answer/Pointer: "An oath is someone's appeal to God to witness the truth of what he is saying or a pledge to do something that is enforced by his responsibility to answer to God. An affirmation is a solemn and formal declaration that a statement is true without referring to God. An affirmation can be made by someone who does not believe in God or by someone who does not wish to swear to God. . . . Laws now generally allow affirmations to be made as an alternative to oaths, the words may vary to satisfy each person's conscience, but if a form is prescribed by law, it should be followed exactly. The most famous oath prescribed by law in the United States is the one repeated by the President when he takes his office. The Constitution says that the Chief Executive "shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." The Constitution also requires every Senator, Representative, state legislator, governor, and state or federal judge to swear or affirm his loyalty to the Constitution, but it specifically forbids any requirement that a federal official swear that he has any religious belief. To be effective, an oath must be administered by a public official. The law that creates and describes each public office generally specifies who is authorized to administer the oath of office. A spoken oath is usually sufficient, but a written and signed oath can be required by law." Source: Reader's Digest Family Legal Guide R 348.736 Rea, p. 696. 
Librarian: LCLCPL 

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