New research suggests non-religious defendants are penalized for taking secular oaths
Never in my seventy-five years have I seen a single example of religion making a person honest. They are either honest or they are not, and I've known religious people I would never trust.
I was once called on to be a witness in a low-stakes non-criminal trial. I approached the clerk of court (who was to do the swearing in) and said (quietly, so only the 2 of us could hear) "I don't do oaths." She gave a brief nod and used the words "solemnly affirm" rather than "solemnly swear" and said nothing about God. The jury was none the wiser that I'd done anything unusual and had simply followed the procedure as instructed.
Of course, this was in Madison, Wisconsin, home to the Freedom From Religion Foundation (whose national HQ was about 4 blocks away from the courthouse), so I'm not suggesting that the same tactic would've worked anywhere else, but it might be worth a shot.
"Some people argue that swearing a religious oath makes religious people more honest."
"France being a republican and secular State, the oath is not sworn hand on the bible, neither on any cult item or about any belief, even if one side ask for it. The formulation of the oath makes no reference to any religion or philosophy."
My whole country is dishonest 😁
Honestly, can't say that I'm surprised at this one. Whether atheists continue to be the most distrusted segment of society in 2023 or not, I don't know, but that history, certainly in the US, is as long as it is problematic.
I would wonder if an instruction by a judge from the bench, to the effect of: "You shall not indulge in any untoward bias toward this witness / defendant / whatever, because of his/her beliefs or lack thereof," though that could just as likely further ingrain any such bias. The ultimate cure may be the plain fact that, as I've said many times, those of us who don't believe are slowly but surely becoming what may ultimately be a plurality, where those who continue to foster irrational beliefs are in decline.
A change in the oath itself would be helpful, certainly, but like so many other such things, it's up against social inertia, and such change won't come easily.
What if the judge, in front of the entire court, explained to the witness that lying to the court is a crime punishable by prison and asked if they understood. Then, the witness has to confirm that they understand and therefore do not have any excuse that they didn’t know they had to be honest. No god, no swearing, no muss, no fuss.
People lie whether they swear an oath or affirm it or not. There is no evidence showing religious people, faced with the eternal consequences of this type of oath, are more honest than anyone else, but they believe it to be true. Of course they believe in a hundred impossible things before breakfast, like talking snakes and god loves them.
Is holding an upside-down bible good enough?
Dogma is never based on inclusivity. It is all about punishing other tribes.
And this surprises who?
I told the story before.
The last time I was called to serve on a jury, I was asked to swear on the Bible that I would blah blah blah. I said flat out, "I don't give this ancient book any validity whatsoever, and swearing on it would be of far less value than my word."
Or, to put it another way- jurors are more likely to shirk their duty to render impartial judgment if they're religious.
Am I the only one who was kind of hoping that Trump might try to make a break for it, yelling YOU'LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE, COPPER! yesterday and the cops bringing him down with tasers?
Just a thought.
This cracks me up.... "Some people argue that swearing a religious oath makes religious people more honest. Humanists UK knows of no evidence for that," With today's Republican Christian, lying is expected.
OT: The Catholic church is losing its stranglehold on still another country it has traditionally dominated. This time it's Poland. Click through to the article about John Paul II. Regulars here know that I have a personal interest in the Catholic clerical abuse scandal and I follow it pretty assiduously, but somehow this had escaped me before now. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/apr/05/catholic-church-poland-law-and-justice-party-young-voters
𝐼𝑛 𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡...
I'm a scientist. I value experiments. However in this case I am quite skeptical that the controlled game-like tests tell you how people really make judgments in a courtroom setting. If for no other reason than by the time the Jurors are finished hearing evidence, convening together, discussing it, etc., who swore what oath may not even be in anyone's mind.
I think a much better way of looking at this effect might be to anonymously survey jurors after their duty to ask them what most impacted their decision, who they thought was telling the truth on the stand, and then (in the demographics section of the survey, separated from those questions so that the survey-ees are not likely to game their answers), as whether they are religious or not and how often tehy attend church. Then you look for correlations between religion, church attendance, and how they answered 'who was trustworthy on the stand'. The people conducting this survey then separately get info from the court record on who said what oath, so that the participants don't know that's what they are looking at.
𝐴𝑛𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑖𝑠, 𝑖𝑛 𝑎𝑑𝑑𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑡𝑜 𝑟𝑒𝑞𝑢𝑖𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑎 𝑠𝑒𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟 𝑎𝑓𝑓𝑖𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛, 𝑡𝑜 𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑜𝑤 𝑟𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑔𝑖𝑜𝑢𝑠 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑤𝑒𝑎𝑟 𝑎𝑛 𝑜𝑎𝑡ℎ 𝑖𝑛 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑡 𝑜𝑓𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑙𝑠
No, that won't work. If the defendent's lawyer thinks taking a religious oath makes their client more trustworthy, and the defendent did that, then the very first question they'll put to their client when they're on the stand is "did you also take a religious oath in private in front of court officials?" And conversely, if the prosecutor thinks abstaining from the private oath makes the accused less trustworthy, and they know the accused didn't take the oath, they will also ask that same question when the person is on the witness stand.
Get rid of it or don't, but don't try and hide it from the jury.
Strangely enough, here in the Bibble Belt, many people choose to affirm or solemnly state. Matthew 25 tells them they must not swear, so they don't!
So much for the idea of "post-Christian America."