Third: To honour his holy Name - Page 2
There are different forms of oath-taking for different religions. The Christian version is, “I swear (promise) by Almighty God that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth”. Alternatively, witnesses can make a non-religious affirmation, “I do solemnly sincerely and truly declare and affirm that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth”. (1) Regardless of which procedure is followed, perjury is committed if a person gives false information, such as telling lies or hiding part of the truth and so telling half-lies.
We should only take an oath in very special and serious circumstances, such as in a Court of Law. We should not swear by God in other circumstances. So Jesus has told us, “Do not swear at all…Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’ …” (NRSV, Matthew 5:34, 37). Or as St James puts it, “…do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘Yes’ be yes and your ‘No’ be no (NRSV, 5:12). In other words, all we have to do is to speak the truth in a straightforward way. And quite apart from its being wrong to use an oath, if what we say is true, no amount of oaths is going to make it any more true.