Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oaths and Affirmations













Going back through American history to prepare for class provides a good opportunity to refresh the memeory, pick up new stuff, and weigh historical documents against today's wild misunderstandings of the "Founding Fathers" (mostly by right wingers too lazy to check for facts before they go off at the mouth).

Constitution of the United States, Article VI, Section 3:

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.

We may thank the Religious Society of Friends (aka Quakers) and Mennonites, among others -- plus Enlightenment ideals -- for this wise philosophy.  An oath has overt religious overtones; an affirmation does not, but rather values civil society in its own right.  The idea is to keep some separation between church and state, and to prevent the establishment of one officially sanctioned religion or sect.  In Colonial British America, individual colonies tended to have an official religion (Church of England/Anglican or Puritan if they had one).  The Church of England had been entirely a political creation via the dictates of King Henry VIII, thoroughly discredited in what became the USA during the American Revolution because of its direct connection to the Crown.  No titles of royalty, no official religion and no official language for US Americans!

Today's Rune: The Self.

6 comments:

Johnny Yen said...

It's funny to hear the founding fathers misrepresented. There's been a lot of slagging of "dead white men" in the last ten years, but this was a group of now-dead white men who were brilliant. The Constitution is a masterpiece.

the walking man said...

Simply because we don't use words like Duke, Lord and Sire does not mean that they do not take the words we do use Congressman, Senator, President, to mean the same thing while they are in office.

They affirm an oath to a nation but not necessarily the ideals of that nation unless those ideals conform with their own personal ideation of what the nation should be, which in most of the proudly vocal, religion is the first word out of their mouths.

The older I get the less I want from the government. I will take what I paid into and I will not foment revolt but do not ask me to not be disgusted by the process of the politics that have evolved over the past 250 years.

Luma Rosa said...

Therefore they are certain! What the religion and the official language can influence in the efficiency of the work? Because they are even particular that they are reserved.

Rethabile said...

Yet everybody seems to do the exact opposite of what their Constitution requires, usually while preaching the Constitution itself.

Anonymous said...

Slave owners are awesome.

D.F. Manno said...

@Johnny Yen: A "masterpiece"? Yeah, right. Those "brilliant" white men of privilege didn't count women, didn't count blacks, didn't trust direct elections, and all but permanently enshrined a tyranny of the minority with the so-called "Great Compromise," ensuring the over-representation of small states in the Senate and the Electoral College.