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Sat Jan 19, 2013, 02:48 PM

How To Take Public Office In Louisiana Without Swearing To God

Thursday, January 17, 2013
Randall Hayes

Last fall I was elected unopposed to the Board of Aldermen in the village in which I live. Before I could take office, however, I had to fulfill the following requirement set forth in the Louisiana Constitution:

Art. X, §30. Oath of OfficeSection 30. Every official shall take the following oath or affirmation: "I, . . ., do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the constitution and laws of the United States and the constitution and laws of this state and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as . . ., according to the best of my ability and understanding, so help me God."

As an atheist I wasn’t going to swear an oath that ended with “so help me God.” It would have been dishonest.

Since the Oath of Office section of the Louisiana Constitution provides an affirmation option, I was pretty certain I would not be compelled to say “so help me God.” Even though the language of the section does not make it clear that the phrase “so help me God” is not required of those who choose to affirm, it would make no sense to interpret it any other way. The whole point of the affirmation option is to accommodate those people who have a conscientious objection to swearing religious oaths. Any statement that ends with “so help me God” is clearly a religious oath, regardless of which verb was used.

http://thebaldcypress.blogspot.com/2013/01/how-to-take-public-office-in-louisiana.html

From his facebook page he appears to be a Libertarian.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Randall-Hayes/359417617470144

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 02:54 PM

1. Proving once again that not everyone in Louisiana is a rigid fundamentalist.

I was often asked to swear on a bible when giving testimony in a court. I looked at it as symbolic and interpreted it as meaning, "I really mean this and I'm not lying".

But for those who find it objectionable, I am glad that there is a provision for a more neutral affirmation.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 02:57 PM

2. All that should be necessary for a witness is a statement that the testimony is given subject to

the penalties of perjury.

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Response to rug (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 02:58 PM

3. Perjury charges scare me a lot more than swearing falsely to a god.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 03:04 PM

4. It should, A perjury conviction can be a real, as opposed to a hypothetical, hell.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 10:53 AM

5. You're right, they just make non-believers jump through hoops for the same rights.

Nah, that's not rigidity or hatefulness at all.
Imagine how much easier it would be if we all just went along, right?

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