Recently I found myself in a teleconference being legally sworn to testify information to a government agency.
“Are you prepared to be sworn in?” came the voice from the speaker on the desk.
“Yes,” I said.
The voice began reading from a familiar script: “Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”
We all know how this time-honored script starts and finishes so I found myself pausing – waiting for the rest of the statement to come.
But all I heard was silence.
Although only a second or two passed, it seemed unnaturally long. In my head I was waiting to the voice to finish the sentence with “so help you God”.
Instead, all I heard was dead air coming from the telephone speaker.
Suddenly I realized the voice on the other end was waiting for my reply.
God was not invited to this legal proceeding.
I’m not sure when someone decided to edit God from this particular piece of historical language, but I honestly felt insulted.
I appreciate our world is a Gumbo stew of people, beliefs, and histories. But to most people, we still hold God in high esteem. Granted many in the world have different points of view on who represent their version of God, but one common factor in most religions around the world recognize a larger entity.
According the Gallup, the world’s foremost institution for polling data in the world, more than 9 out of 10 Americans continue to believe in God (6/2011).
So why would we remove such a compelling piece of language when everyone admita to believing in such an entity? Now as humans, we can always find ways to disagree on what God looks like or how He (She) presents themselves to us – but the fact is nearly all of us believe in a spirit to whom we wish to follow and look to for guidance.
But to toss God out of the simple proceedings I found myself in seems a bit too much.
I know from the teachings of my particular religion it is unwise to disown the knowledge or the existence of God or his representatives. By doing so, we are turning ourselves into ‘fair weather’ followers. Faith and beliefs – regardless of the religion – are not something to be acknowledged only when convenient or advantageous to us.
So as I sat there during the proceedings I felt guilty for not speaking up and adding “so help me God” to the end of my swearing in process with the government that particular day.
So next time I find myself in a similar situation I will not make the same mistake again. I will repeat the sentence as spoken – and then add four simple words that mean the world to me.
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