Way back during President Obama’s 2013 Inauguration, I waxed poetic about discarding the practice of using a Bible and suggested that the proper protocol would to be take the oath of office with your hand resting on a copy of the US Constitution…the very document that you are swearing to uphold.

If elected, I will do so…and I will support legislation that requires using the Constitution and prevents the use of any religious book or text.

21 Responses to Campaign 16: Taking The Oath on the Constitution, Not A Bible

  1. Denis Navratil says:

    A quote from the document you hold in high esteem.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

    So in order to demonstrate fidelity to the US Constitution, you are proposing legislation that explicitly violates the US Constitution.

    • John Casper says:

      Denis, Jim, whoever, you wrote, “So in order to demonstrate fidelity to the US Constitution, you are proposing legislation that explicitly violates the US Constitution.”

      How does anything in Ed’s post in any way violate the First Amendment?

      • Denis Navratil says:

        John, Ed is in support of legislation that “prevents the use of any religious book or text.” Taking an oath on the Bible or other religious text would be an example of freely exercising of ones religion, and Congress at least can make no laws prohibiting said exercise, per the Constitution. It seems pretty clear to me. What is not clear to you?

    • Ed Heinzelman says:

      Close but no cigar Denis. Taking an oath of office whether as an elected official or appointee is an official act of government. So yes their is certainly grounds to define how the oath is administered. In no way would that be construed as restricting anyone’s freedom to practice their religion as they see fit.

      • Denis Navratil says:

        Thanks for your plausible-ish answer Ed, but I think we will just have to agree to disagree on this one. In my world, individuals take oaths, governments don’t. An oath is taken before one takes office and is therefore not an official act of government. And if someone wishes to take that oath with his hand on a bible, that is an individual religious expression protected by the Constitution.

  2. Waukesha Blue says:

    Where in the Constitution does it say a president must take the oath on a bible. It’s personal choice. Wait, Republicans don’t believe in choice. Oh well, Constitution it is.

    • Denis Navratil says:

      WB, where in my comment do you find any argument in support of a requirement that a president take the oath of office on a bible? When I explained to you recently the logical fallacy of a straw man argument, it was so you wouldn’t employ them in your comments.
      By the way, I agree that the taking of the oath on a bible would be personal choice, a choice Ed wants to eliminate. So it is Ed in this case who is anti-choice.

      • John Casper says:

        Denis, Jim, whoever you are. Are you familiar with Genesis 19:4-8?

        “But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”

        Is this consistent with the values that you want public servants to swear their oath of office on?

        • Denis Navratil says:

          John, per usual, you are straying far from the topic. The question I pose is whether the best way to demonstrate fidelity to the constitution is to violate a core tenant therein.

          Now to address your tangent. You ask, regarding the vignette in the bible “Is this consistent with the values that you want public servants to swear their oath of office on?”

          It depends on which values you are referring to John. As progressives of late have been supporting mob actions in Ferguson, Baltimore and anywhere a hapless baker or pizza maker runs afoul of the gay mafia, I assume you identify with the values held by the Sodom townfolk. This would be a profound misreading of the bible John and the passage you cited should definitely not be viewed as a how-to manual.

          • John Casper says:

            Denis, Jim, whovever you are,

            Since you won’t respond to my question about Genesis, is the anti-Semitism in the New Testament consistent with the values that you want public servants to swear their oath of office on?

            From John 18,

            “38After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

            and John 19,

            “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing tthe crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore ehe who delivered me over to you fhas the greater sin.”
            12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

            • Denis Navratil says:

              John, your questions are not relevant to the issue being discussed. The issue is whether an individual retains the right to take an oath on the bible or other religious text, as, in my view, doing so would be an example of one freely exercising their religion, which is protected under the Constitution. One need not endorse every passage of every conceivable religious text to defend ones right to freely exercise their religion. But I don’t expect you to get it.

              • John Casper says:

                Denis, Jim, whoever you are,

                Why don’t you apply the same logic to the Koran and Mohammed?

                This is from you, “Other Side, I agree that events of 1400 years ago would, under most circumstances, be irrelevant today. However, we are talking about the leader of a huge present-day religion, who’s actions then are quite relevant to his followers. I think it is safe to say that much objectionable behavior can and is justified by pointing to the example of Muhammed.

                Regarding Jesus’ sexuality, I don’t know of any reputable sources that claim Jesus was gay, though I think a whole lot of folks wish he were. Regarding future historians and Jesus, it would be unfair to claim Jesus was gay if he wasn’t. Lastly, I am not a cultural relativist, wherein any behavior is acceptable, so long as it is a part of your culture. Some things are just wrong. Wrong then, wrong now. I would include pedophilia among those wrongs.”

                http://bloggingblue.com/2012/04/opposition-to-brookfield-wisconsin-mosque-clearly-not-about-traffic-concerns/

          • John Casper says:

            Denis, Jim, whoever you are,

            Since you brought up Baltimore, do you have any comment about “Baltimore to pay Freddie Gray’s family $6.4 million to settle civil claims?”

            http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/freddie-gray/bs-md-ci-boe-20150908-story.html?utm_content=buffere72b3&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

      • Waukesha Blue says:

        Point taken. I misinterpreted your statement. I believed that’s what you were implying. I was wrong. Personal choice is what it should be but imagine the backlash when a president doesn’t choose the bible. For the clowns that are running I could choose many different titles from the children’s section that would be more suitable than the Constitution or Bible. Green Eggs and Ham…

  3. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Pathetic Lefties, what difference does it make, you do not believe in either one.

  4. nonquixote says:

    Ed,

    @ 2-A above:

    When I explained to you recently the logical fallacy of a straw man argument, it was so you wouldn’t employ them in your comments.

    And explained it through an unending barrage of ad hominem attacks and an across the thread refusal to respond in any fashion to being called out about it and refused to respond to factual rebuttals about lefties being crazy and therefore should be prevented from owning guns and refused to respond about child slave labor. Fraud, hypocrite and liar, and troll behavior all around and still continuing here.

    @ 2-A-a above:

    It depends on which values you are referring to John. As progressives of late have been supporting mob actions in Ferguson, Baltimore and anywhere a hapless baker or pizza maker runs afoul of the gay mafia, I assume you identify with the values held by the Sodom townfolk. This would be a profound misreading of the bible John and the passage you cited should definitely not be viewed as a how-to manual.

    Ad Hominem attack, lies about Ferguson and blatant racist and homophobic bigotry again.

    Ed, the low importance and insignificance of this sort of topic simply invites trolls who again, love to chirp about religion and their self-perceived moral superiority and willingness to cast judgement about their religious beliefs on others. It is another welcome distraction from more substantial problems for them. It is like being an enabler to a drunk or a drug addict.

    Same thing with Bob Dohnal, an unending stream of abusive comments about “lefty,” problems, “they only hate walker, they are crazy, ad ifinitum. This is simply repeated abuse, the same as a perpetrator of domestic violence telling a spouse how worthless and what a failure he or she is. Should not be allowed any longer.

    If your point is to make it easy to discover the trollers, fishing with their bigotry and their hate and to then vote them off the lake, great. How about carrying through on the getting rid of them once and for all. Just a thought.

    • “…the low importance and insignificance of this sort of topic…”

      I’ll write what I want.

      • nonquixote says:

        And it’s just my opinion of the subject matter and the actual value of what it brings to the, “discussion.”

        The official swearing in is done in private and the public swearing in ceremonies are usually, but not always, after the fact and for public show, which is my understanding of the actual functioning of the oath of office procedures.

        Our new county board members, for example, are sworn in as a group after an election. Breaking the oath of office in various ways is much more important in my view than the “ceremony.”

        Would never dream of telling you what to write, but may again reflect on what is chosen to write about. Best regards.

  5. James Pease says:

    I know of no religious tenet that demands followers take an oath of office on any particular perceived holy book. The “free expression thereof” isn’t interpreted as an individuals’ peculiar application of misunderstanding and isn’t protected by the First Amendment. Swearing an oath is a tradition going back a very long time in Judaism and Roman law when religion was state sponsored, something the Constitution of the United States specifically prohibits. It’s true that the phrase “separation of church and state” came from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, but it is not at all true that this wasn’t the common understanding of the First Amendment and was corroborated by James Madison, the author of the Constitution. The meaning was clear: we won’t prosecute your religion but keep your religion out of our government.

    We all agree that the Constitution doesn’t call for the oath, or affirmation, of office to be taken on a bible. It was a tradition begun by George Washington but it’s a myth that he added to the oath the uncalled for “So help me god”. It appears that Lincoln was in fact the first to do so. This invokes divine displeasure if the oath taker fails in their sworn duties and implies they will perform their duty in fear of divine retribution. The Constitution acknowledges that it can be taken as an oath which references religion or an affirmation which is simply a promise and up until the 20th century, many presidents simply listened to the chief justice read the statement and responded “I do”. John Quincy Adams took the oath on legal documents and TR used nothing.

    Sneaking all of this god into the government has been an ongoing project. During the red scare days, the national motto was switched from E pluribus unum – a phrase that identified the true spirit of the US – to In God We Trust to placate the right wing religious whacks. Under God was slipped into the Pledge of Allegiance for the same reason. John Roberts was the first justice to, in butchering the pledge so badly it had to be repeated the next day, instruct Barack Obama to say “So help me god”. He did it on the do-over, too.

    In any case, requiring the president to swear on the Constitution would no more violate religious freedom than requiring Kim Davis to issue marriage certificates. There is nothing preventing Bernie Sanders being sworn in with his hand on the Constitution and replying “I do”, but the “Oath, or Affirmation, of Office” would have to be specifically changed to “Affirmation of Office” as “oath” is a sacred, not secular term.

    • James Pease says:

      CORRECTION: There is nothing preventing Bernie Sanders being sworn in with his hand on the Constitution and replying “I do”, but the “Oath, or Affirmation, of Office” would have to be specifically changed to “Affirmation of Office” to require it as “oath” is a sacred, not secular term.

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