Friday, May 25, 2007

N.C. Judge OKs Witness Oaths Using Quran

Under North Carolina statutory law witnesses may be sworn by laying a hand over "the Holy Scriptures, via a religious oath “with upraised hand,” without the use of any religious text, and with a secular oath. The ACLU lawsuit brought suit, arguing that "Holy Scriptures" encompassed much more than the Bible. Judge Paul Ridgeway held both common law and state Supreme Court precedent allow witnesses and jurors to use the text "most sacred and obligatory upon their conscience."

This is an interesting case. I have my doubts that the drafters of the statute viewed "Holy Scriptures" as any thing but the Bible. While it might be a good policy to allow use of other religious books in the oath giving process, this does not appear to be what the statute requires. We'll see if an appeal follows.

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