What do Canadians Use For Swearing In?

This article today writes an opinion about the swearing in ceremony in American government - and I had no idea there were restrictions on what a future member of Congress/Senate was to use.

What do Canadians use when taking their Oath of Office - if they do not use the Bible? Is this the same in a Court of Law where they have to swear to uphold the truth?

Updated: 11:59 AM EST
Newly Elected Muslim Lawmaker Under Fire
Decision to Take Oath on Koran Sparks Controversy

By Andrea Stone, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON (Dec. 1) -- The first Muslim elected to Congress hasn't been sworn into office yet, but his act of allegiance has already been criticized by a conservative commentator. In a column posted Tuesday on the conservative website Townhall.com, Dennis Prager blasted Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison's decision to take the oath of office Jan. 4 with his hand on a Quran, the Muslim holy book.
"He should not be allowed to do so," Prager wrote, "not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American culture."
He said Ellison, a convert from Catholicism, should swear on a Christian Bible -- which "America holds as its holiest book. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress."
The post generated nearly 800 comments on Townhall.com and sparked a tempest in the conservative blogosphere. Many who posted comments called the United States a Christian country and said Muslims are beginning to gain too much influence. Others wrote about the separation of church and state and said the Constitution protects all religions.
Dave Colling, Ellison's spokesman, said he was unavailable for comment. Earlier, Ellison told the online Minnesota Monitor, "The Constitution guarantees for everyone to take the oath of office on whichever book they prefer. And that's what the freedom of religion is all about."
Colling said Ellison's office has received hundreds of "very bigoted and racist" e-mails and phone calls since Prager's column appeared. "The vast majority said, 'You should resign from office if you're not willing to use the book our country was founded on,' " Colling said.
"Requiring somebody to take an oath of office on a religious text that's not his" violates the Constitution, said Kevin Hasson, president of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
Members of the House of Representatives traditionally raise their right hands and are sworn in together on the floor of the chamber. The ritual sometimes seen as the swearing-in is actually a ceremonial photo op with the speaker of the House that usually involves a Bible.
"They can bring in whatever they want," says Fred Beuttler, deputy historian of the House.
Prager, who is Jewish, wrote that no Mormon elected official has "demanded to put his hand on the Book of Mormon." But Republican Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, carried a volume of Mormon scriptures that included the Bible and the Book of Mormon at his swearing-in ceremony in 1997.
Prager, who hosts a radio talk show, could not be reached for comment.

12-01-06 11:28 EST
I believe Harper was holding his bible when he was swore in. The swearing in means nothing to me. They could hold onto their ancestors death certificates for all I care. Not like it matters what they choose to swear upon, it's just a formality. If they actually believed in swearing on something, I think it would be more evident in their actions.
Heres the oaths:

Oaths of office

Oath of Allegiance

I, __________, do swear (declare) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors.
So help me God.
The Oath of the Members of the Privy Council

I, __________, do solemnly and sincerely swear (declare) that I shall be a true and faithful servant to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, as a member of Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada. I will in all things to be treated, debated and resolved in Privy Council, faithfully, honestly and truly declare my mind and my opinion. I shall keep secret all matters committed and revealed to me in this capacity, or that shall be secretly treated of in Council. Generally, in all things I shall do as a faithful and true servant ought to do for Her Majesty.
So help me God.
Oath of Office

I, _________, do solemnly and sincerely promise and swear (declare) that I will truly and faithfully, and to the best of my skill and knowledge, execute the powers and trusts reposed in me as ...........
So help me God.
Note: Individuals may choose to affirm their oath. In those cases, the word "swear" is replaced by the word "declare" and the expression "So help me God." is omitted.
Thanks Tonington

Do they use the Bible in court testimony cases too?

I still don't understand what the Bible has to do with government and/or judiciary anyway - where is this "separation of religion and government" ???
I agree, it is rather silly. Reminds me of when someone sneezes and someone says God bless you, do they actually mean that? For the most part I would say no, it's another formality.

I think in court you can choose to swear on the bible, or make some other claim to say the truth. I say if they want to insure truth, put a polygraph on all the witnesses! hahah, not very practical, but whatever. Maybe we should have capitol punishment for politicians who committ the most egregious crimes. Or send them to work camps in the Arctic. Man I'd be an awesome dictator! (rubs hands suspiciously)

Ya - I'm starting to wonder about all you easterners! Rough and tumble crowd ye are!
Ahhh yah! Can't have it any other way!

Do you eat Dulce too? Sassy likes it - I think it's what gives her such peppy zippy ways.... she's always doing something interesting or getting into trouble.
I don't love the stuff, I can chew on it every once in a while. Sassy has an appropriate name from what I can tell.

Yesssssssss that is the perfect name for her. She can get into more trouble in a half hour than I take all week! But it's a hoot to watch.
In Canada you can either swear on the bible or Affirm. At least in court. I swear on the bible when I testify in court. My colleague affirms- he does not swear when he testifies.
I don't see why this man swearing in on the Quran is a problem. My dad didn't swear on the bible for court because it isn't a book that meant anything to him. That doesn't make him a bad Canadian or anything, so I don't see why this congressman's choice is a big deal.
I had to testify in court once --as an expert witness. It was disgusting---the Queen was mentioned as the entitity that was violated by the accused. They had me swear on the bible----even though i didnt believe a word of it---but if I objected it would have made things difficult for the accused --so I had to go along with this fascist bull**** . You have to consider just how many people are doing just that going along with this monarchist--god crap ---because we have too------When we take over things will be different.
Hey quit calling me Sassy, I should of picked a moniker more like my personality perhaps Quiet or Shy.

Swearing on the bible has been part and parcel of the tradition of being sworn in to government, it's symbolic of honesty and truth. Those of Jewish faith took no offense, nor the Mormans or any other religion but along comes a Muslim who thinks his religion is more important than a symbolic jester. I've done a fair bit of reading on the Democrat Keith Ellison and to be frank he's a trouble maker who has an agenda to further the Islamic issue in the US. He's already insisted that a special law be inacted to protect Muslims who fly, over the bogus stunt pulled by the Six Imams. Frankly he's an attention hoe.
What if he just wants to swear on something that is meaningful to him? I don't think I'd want to swear on a bible. It means nothing to me and my experiences with organized Christianity have almost all been negative. Why should anyone care if some of us are not into Christianity as long as we're still good citizens? Aren't there more important fish to fry nowadays?
Dear Quiet One - "Dulce-ette"....hee

For years Jews have been swearing on the Bible, for years people of all faiths have been using the Bible in formal ceremonies where it is required to swear an Oath, even Muslims have been using the Bible until
this recent tantrum by the newly emerging "activist" Muslims.

The whole issue is as phony as a 3 dollar bill - and let him swear on a recent issue of Playboy for all I care.... it means nothing to him anyway.
Apparently 4 presidents haven't used the Bible for swearing in, including Teddy Rosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.

Some jewish politicians have used the Torah in lieu of the Bible. Is that a problem?

The problem is this guy making a big deal of it.... nobody thinks it is a big deal but him.

Many of the founding fathers of the U.S. were Deists and had no formal religious ties.

Only four president's didn't use the Bible? I think you are mistaken here...

It isn't a problem for me....except his making it into a press release.

I'll wait and see how he carries out his "loyalty Oath" professionally thank you - anyone can say the words....

BlogCritics says it well.....

First, the use of a Bible in the oath-swearing process is a tradition, but not mandatory, as even the State Department points out .
As evidence of that, two presidents declined to use Bibles when they were sworn in. John Quincy Adams took the oath with his hand on a volume of law; Theodore Roosevelt simply used nothing.

Heck, if Prager had a clue he'd remember that the Founders specifically forbade any sort of religious test as a requirement for holding office. Article VI reads, in part:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
And the presidential oath of office is studiously secular. From Article II:
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
So Prager is wrong on the particulars. But he's also wrong on a general level. Because the point of swearing on a Bible is not to show support for the Bible — it's intended to be a sign of taking the oath of office seriously by swearing on something important to you. It's akin to a blood oath, or "I swear on my mother's grave" or "cross my heart and hope to die."
So Christians swear on the Bible, because (the thinking goes) swearing on their religion makes them that much less likely to break their oath. But the oath, not the Bible, is the important thing.
And in that context, forcing a Jew or a Muslim or an atheist to swear on a Bible is not just obnoxious; it's pointless. Because to a Jew, for example, an oath sworn on a Bible is no more or less binding than an oath sworn on a telephone book.
Also, it's worth noting that the Founders provided the option of simply "affirming" their committment to their duties. And again, two presidents have done just that: Franklin Pierce and Herbert Hoover. This further demonstrates that the whole idea of "swearing on" something is simply a tradition, not something central to the process. Just like the words "So help me God" that most presidents add to the end of the oath.
Further, I believe members of Congress take the oath en masse, and nobody checks to see if they're swearing on a Bible, Playboy magazine or nothing at all.

Prager ratchets up the hyperbole later on:
Devotees of multiculturalism and political correctness who do not see how damaging to the fabric of American civilization it is to allow Ellison to choose his own book need only imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler's "Mein Kampf," the Nazis' bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison's right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?
Note the logic: If it's not the Bible, it's the equivalent of "Mein Kampf."
That aside, the argument is fallacious. There are many religious objects and books that might be looked at askance if used in a swearing-in ceremony; but that has nothing to do with them not being the Bible. I doubt an Aztec would be allowed to take the oath while standing over a human sacrifice. And he definitely wouldn't be allowed to play soccer with the head afterward. But that says nothing about the use of something other than a Bible — it merely demonstrates that some things are repugnant.
And this is what I like from his blog:
Ellison should be able to swear on a Bible if he wants to; he should be able to swear on a Koran if he wants to. He should be able to affirm his oath without swearing on a book at all if he wants to. The oath is the important thing, and his adherence to it is what he will be judged on.
Last edited by Curiosity; Dec 1st, 2006 at 06:41 PM..
I agree he shouldn't make a big deal out of it either. If he released a press release, that's a little silly. What really matters is how he serves the people who elected him. The rest is just a distraction IMO.

Admittedly I am not a scholar of American history, but I thought part of the reason this country was formed was because people wanted to practice their religion freely. There are obviously people from all religions here in the US and I don't see much intolerance to them. Most Americans I know are Christian but I can't imagine many of them would insist a congressman should swear on the Bible or not take office. They're generally pretty accepting people.
Update - The Question of a Bible, Koran or Playboy is Moot



Muslim Congressman Won't Use Koran When Taking Oath of Office
By Randy Hall
CNSNews.com Staff Writer/Editor
December 01, 2006

(CNSNews.com) - When he is sworn in as a member of the 110th U.S. Congress on Jan. 4, 2007, Congressman-elect Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) will not take the oath of office with his hand on a copy of the Koran - or any other book, according to a spokesman for Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to the House of Representatives.

Ellison will not use any book during the ceremony, Dave Colling, who served as the Minnesota Democrat's campaign manager, told Cybercast News Service. "Neither will any other member of the House," Colling added, since "no one has ever taken the oath of office in Congress with a Bible, a Koran, a Torah or anything else."

Instead, the members of the chamber are sworn into office as a group, Colling noted. "They all raise their right hands and repeat the oath that's prescribed in the Constitution."

Drew Hammill, spokesman for Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), confirmed Colling's description of the swearing-in ceremony.

"You're actually sworn in on the floor of the House," Hammill told Cybercast News Service. "There are no books present."

After Pelosi becomes the new speaker, she will lead the other members of the House in reciting their oath of office :

"I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

The remarks by Colling and Hammill came in response to a controversy sparked on Nov. 9, when the New York Times ran an article on Arab reaction to Ellison's victory in the U.S. mid-term election two days earlier.

"Arab news reports highlighted the fact that Mr. Ellison would probably take the oath of office on the Koran, something which also upset Muslim-bashers in the blogosphere," the article noted. "Some suggested it meant he would pledge allegiance to Islamic law rather than to upholding the Constitution."

On Nov. 11, ABC News reported that Ellison "will be sworn into the House of Representatives with his hand on a Koran."

More than two weeks later, radio talk show host and columnist Dennis Prager wrote in a Nov. 28 commentary that the Minnesota Democrat "has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran."

"He should not be allowed to do so - not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization," Prager argued. "Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible.

"If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress," he wrote.

Prager's column generated a number of responses, including a reply from Stephen Bainbridge, a professor at the UCLA School of Law, who called the columnist's arguments "fundamentally misguided."

"I don't share Prager's notion that it's necessary for politicians and government officials to 'take their oaths of office with their hands on the very same book' in order to 'affirm that some unifying value system underlies American civilization,'" Bainbridge said.

Eugene Volokh, another professor at the UCLA School of Law, also disagreed with Prager by noting that the oath of office "is a religious ritual, both in its origins and its use by the devout today. The oath invokes God as a witness to one's promise as a means of making the promise more weighty on the oathtaker's conscience."

Volokh also pointed to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, which states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

"Requiring the performance of a religious act using the holy book of a particular religion is a religious test," Volokh noted.

The dispute has generated "tons and tons of email" to Ellison's office, "none of it in a good way," said Colling.

After the House swearing-in ritual is completed, brief sessions are held so individual members of the chamber can be photographed with the speaker. Most participants at this point reportedly choose to adopt the traditional pose of placing their hand on a Bible.

"That's a mock ceremony, so it's not official," Hammill told Cybercast News Service. "Members can bring in the local press, or they can do a photo op with their family, but that's not their actual swearing in."

More Media Much Ado About Nothing

Quote: Originally Posted by tracy View Post

Apparently 4 presidents haven't used the Bible for swearing in, including Teddy Rosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.

Some jewish politicians have used the Torah in lieu of the Bible. Is that a problem?

Re President Johnson's "Swearing In". It appears his hand is on something that looks like a Bible. He was on Air Force One - immediately after J.F.K. was slain in Dallas.

I read it was actually a catholic missal, not a bible. I'll look it up. It says he used a bible after he was elected, but not when he was sworn in after Kennedy's assassination.

Lyndon Johnson's two Presidential oath takings were unusual in several ways. The photograph of the first, immediately after John F. Kennedy's assassination, was flashed around the globe as a testimony that the transition of government in that time of crisis was smooth and orderly. This was the first swearing in aboard an airplane, as well as the first time the presidential oath was administered by a woman. Someone handed Judge Sarah Hughes a small Bible belonging to Kennedy, and Johnson placed his hand on it while taking the oath. As it turned out, however, the book was a Catholic missal, not a Bible. In Johnson's 1965 inauguration, Mrs. Johnson held the Bible as her husband took the oath. This was the first time that the wife held the inaugural Bible for her husband
Last edited by tracy; Dec 2nd, 2006 at 12:37 AM..
In our society we place much value on the swearing in of witnesses and victims by having them swear on either a Bible or Koran - or simply affirs - naturally, this opens the doors to slightly possible perjury charge depending on the nauture of the charge befrore the Court - and weather the presiding jugge xly has some knowlege of the types of cases he his judging. I't really a scarry process which doesn't get better when you discover your judges pedigree - very scary indeed. . . .
I highlighted the area's I agree with in red and underlined them.

An article by Diana West.
Read Article & Comments (32) Trackbacks(0) Post Your Comments

Give pundit Dennis Prager points for disputing a decision by newly elected Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, to use a Koran at his private Capitol Hill swearing-in ceremony next month.
I can't say I subscribe to Prager's logic -- and that goes for both his position that it should be the Bible or bust at private swearing-in ceremonies, and his amended notion that the Koran is OK by him so long as the Bible is there, too. Still, I applaud him for trying to construct an argument, however flawed, around what I interpret to be a more visceral reaction against the symbolic introduction of the Koran into the institutions of American government.
:launchSlideShowWindow('/Photos/SlideShow.aspx?issue=15&ContentGuid=de4861b9-f23d-4dac-adaf-6ca76f858438')" target="_blank">

Skender Halim Prushi holds a small Koran, measuring 26.8 mm long by 21.6 mm wide, with a thickness of 10.9 mm and weighing 5.2 grams, in his hand at his home in the northern Albania town of Lac some 55 km (34 miles) from Tirana November 15, 2006. The tiny Koran has been with the Prushi family for generations, but now he wants to sell it to a museum either in the Arab world or the West. REUTERS/Arben Celi

What do I mean by visceral? For starters, bear in mind what Debra Burlingame reminded us of recently in an op-ed decrying the "grievance theater" of the so-called flying imams from the North American Imam Federation (NAIF) who were ejected from a US Airways flight for threatening behavior: The words "Allahu akbar" (Arabic for "Allah is Great") were the last words heard by passengers plunging to their deaths on Flight 93 as they saved the U.S. Capitol from probable destruction on Sept. 11. They will almost certainly be the last words at Ellison's swearing-in ceremony cum Koran to ring out under that same Capitol dome. "Visceral" describes the queasy reaction to the thought of this. Our multicultural, politically correct education tries to confound the connection, but it's still there.
Or is it? Pundits on the left and right have denounced Prager for being religiously intolerant -- as though Islam were just a simple matter of religious inspiration sans totalitarian designs. Those who persist in giving ecumenical cover to imperial Islam are the useful fools of our age.
Then there are the rope-sellers, or propaganda peddlers, such the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR -- which, by the way, supported Ellison's congressional campaign (and now supports the "flying imams") -- entered the Koran controversy not just to debate Prager's position, but to try to penalize him for it by demanding he be booted from the council of the federally funded Holocaust Memorial Museum.
As CAIR put it in a letter to the council, "No one who holds such bigoted, intolerant and divisive views should be in a policy-making position at a taxpayer-funded institution that seeks to educate Americans about the destructive impact hatred has had, and continues to have, on every society."
This is rich. Could CAIR possibly be referring to the "destructive impact" of Islam's doctrinal hatred of Jews and other infidels, which to this day curdles Friday sermons at mosques around the world? Or to the "destructive impact" of its Hamas pals' charter, which, quoting sacred Islamic sources, calls for the destruction of Israel? Not a chance. In light of CAIR's call for Prager's head, I mean, seat on the Holocaust council, it's worth noting that the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews -- the core concern of the Holocaust council, after all -- was enthusiastically supported by many Muslims, most notoriously by the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.
Somehow, this adds a dizzying irony to the attempt by CAIR, a Muslim advocacy group, to unseat Prager, a Jew, from the blooming Holocaust council. So, too, as a politically correct sidelight, does the fact that the Holocaust Museum itself totally ignores the Muslim role in the Holocaust. (In fact, as Chuck Morse and Carol Greenwald have pointed out in The Washington Times, the museum does not even mention al-Husseini, whose entry in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust takes up more pages than anyone's but Hitler.)
The CAIR letter continued: "As a presidential appointee, Prager's continued presence on the council would send a negative message to Muslims worldwide about America's commitment to religious tolerance." Please. America's commitment to religious tolerance -- freedom, actually -- is of no concern to "Muslims worldwide" as long as Islam itself is supremacist in its institutional degradation of non-Muslim peoples.
Such supremacism may or may not be at the root of Prager's concerns. Certainly, it should be. But there is something else. The oath of office that Ellison plans to take with his Koran binds members of Congress to uphold the constitutional law of the land. Islam, which recognizes no separation between religion and politics, calls for loyalty to sharia, or Islamic law, over any "manmade" law, which would include our constitution.
Given Ellison's associations with Islamic groups, including CAIR, NAIF, and American Open University (known to law enforcement as "Wahabbi Online," according to WorldNetDaily.com), members of which have openly supported sharia, this swearing-in ceremony suddenly takes on an alarming significance that is by no means just symbolic.
I wonder what Dennis Prager thinks about while putting his socks on. Probably something negative about muslims. Let us know when Prager stops bashing muslims. That will be newsworthy.
It's amazing to witness the clear delineation between church and state that this oath-ing stuff describes itsn't it!?

Maybe Bush had it right and poor old Davey Frum's word "crusade" should have stayed in that speech???
L Gilbert
No Party Affiliation
Perhaps in order to convince us the would actually DO things to the best of their ability, if pols had to swear a blood oath similar to what the Mafia supposedly do, things might be a bit better.

I wonder what we atheists swear on.
L Gilbert
No Party Affiliation
Dr. Seuss books, Mad Magazines, etc. ?

Seriously, I'd swear on the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics ( published by The Chemical Rubber Co. 84th edition, of course, as it's the latest).
Quote: Originally Posted by L Gilbert View Post

Dr. Seuss books, Mad Magazines, etc. ?

Seriously, I'd swear on the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics ( published by The Chemical Rubber Co. 84th edition, of course, as it's the latest).

You realize the testimony would be invalid if it was the 83rd edition.
Quote: Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post

Re President Johnson's "Swearing In". It appears his hand is on something that looks like a Bible. He was on Air Force One - immediately after J.F.K. was slain in Dallas.

Don't all those people in the background look guilty of something. They always did back then. There has got to be a conspiracy in the works of some sort.
Last edited by Kreskin; Dec 9th, 2006 at 07:58 PM..

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