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Purpose of the Oath

Oath Purpose

An oath is an elaborate promise of sorts; a statement of fact that is made sacred through a witness of divine intervention. To take an oath is to swear to create a vow with God, which makes such a declaration of truth sacred. The essence of oaths is to force the individual to tell the truth, to dissuade him or her from practicing deceit by making him or her swear or promise to a higher power.

The oath is a tool necessary for justice. It necessitates the truth and administers all those placed under it to be conscientious. The oath goes beyond an honor system. It wouldn't be difficult for an individual to stand in front of a courtroom and spew lies until a favorable decision is reached.

The power of oaths thus comes in the form of regulation. If one is found guilty of lying under oath, he or she will be convicted of perjury and subsequently punished. The act of perjury is a form of a miscarriage of justice. It is the regulating penalty for which oaths are administered. Committing perjury, or lying under oath, is a very serious violation under the law and can carry a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in Federal prison.

Swearing in the witness was practiced at the time of our Constitution. It is a necessary resource used to uphold the rights of American citizens.

Although the oath has been commonly associated with religion and linked to God, the use of the Bible or phrase "I swear to God" is not mandatory. Courts provide leeway for those who are atheist or who follow different religions. This notion must be separated from the oath itself, which is indeed mandatory.

There have been numerous cases across the country where an individual refuses to take an oath and consequently ends up in jail for contempt.

There have been legal semantics of why these penalties are given, but most revolve "disrespecting the court", as well as contempt. An oath is bound by law and must be followed by both the defendant and prosecutor of a trial. If it is left ignored, the individuals risk a loss of the case or additional legal repercussions

NEXT: What You Should Know About Perjury

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