‘Oaths and Religion’ (1999)

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Rev. Byron Snapp retired from writing for Chalcedon shortly before I came on board, so I never had the opportunity to work with him.

His 1999 magazine article, Oaths and Religion, reminds us that in this respect, at least, “religion and politics do mix.”


Bear in mind that this was written back when the Clinton impeachment trial in the Senate provided us with “a real opportunity for our society to see how it defines truth.” And what we wound up with was, “It depends on what is is.”

Now we have “your truth and my truth,” with men insisting that they’re women and all the rest of our current war against reality–a war, we might say, against truth itself.

Our posterity will laugh at us for that.


4 comments on “‘Oaths and Religion’ (1999)

  1. On more than one occasion, I’ve thought of current trends as just that, a war on reality itself. As I see it, this goes back to the original issue in The Garden, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Bad. Do we, as humans, have the right to define our reality? Is there a “your truth” and a “my truth”? If so, all meaning can be lost very quickly. What if my reality doesn’t honor your private ownership of something, but allows me to take it at will? What if your reality allows you to execute me for doing that. It doesn’t take long before ALL order is lost when reality becomes subject to individual definition.

    But ours is a God of order, not disorder, and there are all sorts of absolute realities all around us. Jump from a great height and you will suffer harm. It doesn’t matter what your reality has to say on the matter. The fundamental forces, such as gravity and the charge of an electron are finely tuned. Even slight changes in the values of these forces would make life as we know it, impossible. Now that is God’s reality and the fact that life exists testifies to how good God’s reality is. Our world is one of predictability, but it has to be. If we lived in a more chaotic world, chances are our lives would be much shorter and tragic, if indeed life was possible at all.

    Now, subject of oaths. When a person takes on a position within the US Government, they are required to recite an oath. The basic idea is that the person will protect and defend the constitution of the United States. The oath is taken free of any mental reservation. The oath promises to be free of evasion and to faithfully fulfill ones duties.

    From what I’ve seen over the last 15 years or so, there are some people that seem to have not lived up to their oath. People that have defied instructions or have decided that they were not bound by rule of law. This is wrong, no matter who does it. But if the oath is taken by someone with no belief in God, then I guess it has little meaning to them. They can redefine reality as they go and their word becomes meaningless.

    Our problem is not simply one party or one political faction. Our problem is that the US is not as God-fearing as it once was.

  2. In early America, those who refused to acknowledge God when called to be a witness at a trial, their testimony did not carry as much weight. Today, so much perjury takes place and nothing is done about it (accountability) that justice has been diluted, to say the least. In Biblical Law, if it was proven you gave false testimony to help a criminal, then you would receive the same sentence as the criminal – now, do you think that might cut down on all the perjury taking place in our land?

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