By Coach Dave Daubenmire
February 18, 2010
Oath--“A solemn, formal declaration or promise to fulfill a pledge, often calling on God, a god, or a sacred object as witness.”
Perjury—“The breach of an oath or promise.”
I don’t know if you ever had a chance to see the movie “Oh God” starring George Burns and John Denver, but Burns, playing God, uttered a statement when giving testimony in court that seems especially relevant to day.
“I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me me.”
Although clever and humorous, the statement by Burns was based on the Biblical reference of Hebrews 6:13-16.
For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.
As Burns comically demonstrated, an oath to God is the highest form of accountability. In fact, God Himself values being a Man of One’s Word.
“I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” Psalm 138:2
Almighty God puts His Word above His Name. If His Word is no good then His Name is no good. If you can’t trust what He says, then you can’t trust who He is.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Think on that one a second. That is a pretty powerful concept. The minute that God breaks His Word He can no longer be trusted. His Word is His bond.
But man is different. Because we are fallible, sinful beings and subject to reneging on our word, it was determined a long time ago that the only way to keep elected officials honest was to make them take an oath.
" I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God. U.S. Federal and Military Oath of Office
Now the oath did not keep them honest, but hopefully, it kept them accountable. As most of us have heard from one of our children when they find themselves on the verge of trouble “I swear on a stack of Bibles” The insinuation being that the child is more concerned about being held accountable by God than he is of anyone else. “I swear to God I didn’t do it!”
Swearing to God used to be pretty serious stuff. It was so serious that we required our leaders to do it before we entrusted them with the office.
But we no longer fear God so the oath has become ceremonial. Some even swear on a Koran. We might as well use the local phone book, or a stack of magazines, or perhaps some peer-reviewed global warming documents. So help me...me.
And why not? Nobody seems to care any more. We have a cabal of unelected judges who re-write the Constitution, a gaggle of elected officials who have never read it, and a government education system that ignores it.
To take an oath and violate it is to commit perjury. Perjury is a crime. Any official who makes a vow to “support and defend” the Constitution and then not do is guilty of treason.
Interestingly, urban legend contends that male Romans had to squeeze their testicles while vowing to tell the truth, which is why the Latin word for witness is testis. The point being, that violation of the oath impacted our posterity and had eternal consequences. “So help me God” does not mean one is asking for God’s help, but that one who breaks an oath falls under the eternal judgment of God.
God is the third witness in this agreement between the people and the testator. Those who violate the oath will be held accountable by God. But they must also be held accountable by the people.
Treason used to be dealt with in a swift and calamitous way. According to Blackstone: The offender shall be drawn to the gallows, and not be carried or walk, though usually (by connivance at length ripened by humanity into law), a sledge or hurdle is allowed to preserve the offender from the extreme torment of being dragged on the ground or pavement. He shall be hanged by the neck, and then cut down alive; his entrails shall be taken out and burned while he is yet alive; his head shall be cut off and his body divided into four parts. His head and quarters shall be at the disposal of the king.”
In America today violation of one’s oath to “protect and defend the Constitution” results not in punishment, but in re-election…and wealth.
Violation of one’s oath is serious business. Jesus warned us not to do it.
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” Matt:5:33-37
During the impeachment of Bill Clinton we heard a great deal about the phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” Although we were led to believe that a “high” crime was based on the seriousness of the charge, “high” actually referred to position. A “high crime” is a crime committed by a person in public office, as in “higher authority” and had nothing to do with the severity of the violation. Violating an oath is a “high crime” because it was committed by a person in authority over the people. (“Spiritual wickedness in high places.”)
Lying to your wife about illicit sex is a violation of the marriage vows. Lying about it under oath while president of the United States is a “high crime” because of the position the President holds. Hillary could have requested divorce. We should have demanded removal from office.
“Throw the bums out” is a refrain that echoes throughout the Tea-Party Movement. Only by demanding fidelity to their oath, can we expect our elected officials to once again serve the best interests of those they have sworn to represent.
Our government is full of men and women who have violated their oath and they have done it with impunity. They have shackled our posterity with debt, forced Christians to violate their religious liberty through government edicts, permitted the Judicial Branch to legislate from the bench, and made a shambles of the Constitution they have sworn to “protect and defend.”
They have removed the authority of God so that they could play God. They don’t think they answer to the people and they don’t think they will answer to God.
“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Judges 17:6
Their vows are empty. Their word is no good. Because their word is no good then their name is no good.
Our leadership is a reflection of the people. We get the leaders we deserve…or put up with.
“I solemnly swear….so help me me.”
PS: Thanks for all of the encouragement after last week’s commentary. I am running for Congress. I need your help.
More next week.
Coach Dave Daubenmire, founder and President of Pass The Salt Ministries www.ptsalt.com and Minutemen United www.minutemenunited.org, is host of the high octane Pass The Salt radio show heard in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1999 Coach Daubenmire was sued by the ACLU for praying with his teams while coaching high school in Ohio. He now spends his energy fighting for Christian principles in the public domain.