The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth
Romans had to squeeze their testicles while vowing to tell the truth, which is why the Latin word for witness is testis.
Whereas there’s much controversy and disagreement among scholars, about these humorous allegations, it is not much enough to stop you and I from discussing why this theatric ceremony of taking oaths, reigns in our courts.
You’ll get to know, in the paragraphs ahead, why I call it a theatric ceremony. Ha-ha!
At one moment in our infancy, we all had to swear to our friends, using something we treasured, or at least one we were told to always treasure. “I swear by the living God”, “I swear in my mother’s name”, we would fearfully shout to defend our actions or inactions.
This often guilt-laden, fear-inspired propulsion to defend ourselves is what constitution makers carefully crafted into court oath proceedings.
What is the meaning of all this swearing? Does it have any physical or spiritual impact, in the first place?
What happens when a child swears in its dead mother’s name and goes ahead to tell a lie to a fellow eight-year-old child? Will the mother’s spirit haunt the child, just for telling a lie to an eight-year-old? Come on!
How about in court? What if you don’t raise your hand and swear while pocketing? Will the lies or truth you go ahead to say, cease to be so, just because you pocketed?
What if you take your oath using a Bible app on an e-reader or phone, as has already happened, in this era of technology? Will it count?
A one non-conformist, publisher Wallace Ward, insisted that the USA court in Las Vegas, replace the word “truth” with the phrase “fully integrated honesty”, before he could go ahead to take his oath.
Critics of this ceremony have cited bible verses like James 5:12, that are against any form of swearing. Atheists have expressed discomfort in using a bible or even mention God, as they take oaths.
These conflicting moral inclinations have led to amendments such as the introduction of a sister process called affirming as opposed to swearing.
All the above moral dilemmas potentially prod us to believe that taking an oath has been reduced to a mere ceremonial theatric that has to precede fairy tales.
Why do I call them fairy tales?
Because, fairy tales used to begin with, “Once upon a time…”. Nowadays, they begin with either, “When you vote for me…” or “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.
When you hear these latter statements, in our current society, you know, chances are high that you are about to be taken for a tour on the deception treadmill.