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November 5, 2016 by William H. Scarle, Jr. 813-835-0129

I Do Solemnly Swear

Lying has become an issue in our current political season.  There have been absurd accusations, inflated truths, questionable denials, and very selective narratives that deliberately disguise reality.  It was Thomas Jefferson who said in a letter to Peter Carr in the year 1785:

“He who permits himself to tell a lie once finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him.  This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions.”

Lying becomes an issue when we are about to swear in a new President of these United States of America. In article II, Section One, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution one reads these words. “Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: – ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Traditionally this oath is taken with the left hand on the Bible so that the oath is taken not only before men, but consciously before God.  President Obama used two Bibles.  The oath is intended to affirm that the taker is honest, and always tells the truth.


Politicians have a hurdle to overcome when it comes to confidence.  People are suspicious of their motivations.  Christopher Columbus was shipwrecked in Jamaica in the year 1503 when he wrote a letter to the sovereigns of Spain, doubting that they would ever receive it.  In it he penned these words.  “Let those who have charity, justice and truth weep for me!  I did not come on this voyage for gain, honor or wealth, that is certain; for then the hope of all such things was dead. I came to Your Highnesses with honest purpose and sincere zeal; and I do not lie.”  Whether Ferdinand and Isabella believed him will remain an unknown.

This past week Donald Trump sent a prayer with some of his staff to be placed in the seams of the Western Wall in Jerusalem.  It read, “Lord, May you bless the United States, our armed forces and our allies.  May your guiding hand protect and strengthen our great nation.”

Jesus had no patience with lying.  He suggested a simple “yes” or “no” would suffice in most cases.  God speaks through the psalmist and declares, “No one who practices deceit shall dwell in y house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes (Ps. 101:7).”

If the Lord is to bless these United States there needs to be a resolve on the part of our leaders to tell the truth.  The evidence of such resolve is seriously lacking and needs to be reaffirmed and restored if the citizens of this nation are to have confidence in anyone who stands before the people and declares, “I do solemnly swear…”

(Bill Scarle can be contacted at END-whs