The Oath of Office


Let’s start this way with the origin of the oath. In the United States Constitution under Article IV it states: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution…” (U. S. Constitution 1787)

The Republic State of Michigan also covers language requiring an oath of office before entering upon the duties of political office. Article XI, sec.1 in the Constitution of the State of Michigan (Appendix B), states; “All officers, legislative, executive and judicial, before entering upon the duties of their respective officers, shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of ______ according to the best of my ability…” (Constitution of the State of Michigan 1835)

It is clear that both the U. S. Constitution and the republic of Michigan Constitution hold politicians (all) accountable for their actions. If the oath is such an important word and referred to in both Constitutions, it is obvious that Politicians and Elected Official must know and understand what this word means.

Throughout this great republic All Politicians in this country must take a sworn oath before they are authorized to perform their elected duties of office. Is this oath just lip sinked and superficial? Is this statement made by our Politicians without any understanding of what they are swearing to? Do the Politicians really know what the oath requires of them? It is my humble opinion that most Judges, Prosecutors, Sheriffs and Politicians are just repeating the words without any solemn or cognizable understanding. The oath of Elected Office holds certain major responsibilities and obligations that we the people who are not elected to office do not have such a burden to carry.

Now let’s look at the word itself and what Politicians should know before taking an oath of office. The American Dictionary of the English Language, define an oath as:
“A solemn affirmation or declaration, made with an appeal to God for truth of
what is affirmed. The appeal to God in an oath, implies that the person
imprecates his vengeance and renounces his favor if the declaration is false,
or if the declaration is a promise, the person invokes the vengeance of God if
he should fail to fulfill it. A false oath is called perjury.” (Webster Dictionary 1828)

It is normal and customary for officials to raise their right hand and “solemnly swear” to up hold the constitution. Now look at the words; Solemnly and Corporal defined. Black’s Law Dictionary defines solemnly as:
“Corporal oath is one taken by the form of laying the hand on or kissing a copy of the gospels. The terms corporal oath and solemn oath are synonymous, and an oath taken with the uplifted hand is properly described by either term in an indictment for perjury.” (Black’s Law Dictionary 1891).

I would say most politicians trivialize the swearing-in ceremony as the start of a pay check and not as an elected servant of the people. Those who administer the oath should stress the importance of the Oath of Office and that elected official must understand when ‘swearing’ to something especially our constitution, and to defend Liberty they are offering themselves, all that they are, as collateral.

History shows that our forefathers did just that, they died to protect and serve our country and its people.
Lets hold our elected official to that standard of history and not to public policy.
Tom Dunn



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