The politically correct movement has swept the nation. Even in places like Alabama, people are shying away from the mention of God and doing Affirmations instead of Oaths. The problem I have with this is that there are customs involving Oaths that make the Oath formal and solemn, and by doing away with these customs, in my opinion, you undermine the whole Oath experience.
A traditional Oath is done with the clause — so help you God at the end.
Nowadays you can pick your favorite diety in an Oath, or at least that is what many Notaries feel. The way I teach Oaths, you can only swear to God and nobody else. If you don’t like God or the mention of God, then try an Affirmation which has you affirm on your honor. The picking of divine entities bothers me because the Oath procedure becomes a free for all. It is like Gay marriage. Now a man can marry a man, woman, sheep, or even a lion in some states (just kidding.) Below are some examples of this convoluted change in Oath procedure.
NOTARY: I am going to administer an Oath to you. So, I will need you to pick a deity to swear to. For me to do the Oath verbiage correctly, please let me know your choice of deities in advance. For God press A, for Lord Krishna press B, for Muhammad C (although that would be forbidden in Islam to swear to anyone other than God), and for Shinto-Man press D.
SIGNER: I don’t really care.
NOTARY: Oh, I am just being sensitive. Do you have a preference?
SIGNER: I’ll pick Ganesh for $50.
NOTARY: I don’t think Ganesh is for sale, but here goes. Do you solemnly swear that the contents of this document are true and correct so help you Ganesh?
SIGNER: I do. I swear by his tusk. He’s an elephant so I assume he has a tusk, unless he was detuskified.
The ironies of these types of Oaths are that the Notaries put so much effort into avoiding offending the Affiant (a word most Notaries do not even know) that they fail to maintain the legality of the Oath by giving off-topic Oaths perhaps regarding whether or not you signed the document on your own free will, or if your name is really John Smith. The Oath must be to the truthfulness of the document as a primary focus. But Notary focus is on politically correct nonsense these days and not on the law. If there were a prison for Notaries who break the law, I would put them in a very politically prison where they are referred to as Notarial-Americans instead of Notaries.
Here is another example. The signer is being particular about his preferences.
SIGNER: I need an Oath.
NOTARY: Oh, would you like to have an Oath under God, or some other diety.
SIGNER: Is it possible to swear to Vishnu because I am a Vaishnav.
NOTARY: A what?
SIGNER: A Vaishnav is a type of Hindu that believes in Vishnu just like a Shivite prays to Shiva.
SIGNER: How can you administer an Oath to me for a God that you don’t even know the name of?
NOTARY: Okay… Do you solemnly Affirm under the supreme rule of Vaishoo…
SIGNER: Not only did you mispronounce the name of my God, but you don’t even know the names of the words in a real Oath. In an Oath you swear not affirm, and in an Affirmation you affirm, not swear. You can’t just mix-match the words any way you like. The minute the word swear is not there, it is no longer an Oath.
NOTARY: Yes, but they are legally the same.
SIGNER: Be that as it may, I have the right to choose the type of Notarization, and you re-chose a different act on your own initiative which is not legal. If you spent more time following the law and less time playing multiple choice with deities you might be a better Notary. You might even become a law abiding Notary!
NOTARY: You’re rude! But, we’ll do the Oath again. And the deity of the day is Jupiter. I want to do a Greek God today.
SIGNER: Doing Oaths is not like deciding what type of dressing to put on your mandarin salad. This is a legal process and there are rules. You might not know what the rules are, but there still are rules. I am reporting you to the Secretary of State. I am sick of this nonsense. You are commissioned to do notary work, yet you don’t even know how to do the simplest acts. Unbelievable. My Vishnu… Ooops, I used the lord’s name in vein.
NOTARY: Don’t worry, I won’t report you.
Unless you have read up on your state’s laws and know which Gods are admissible for an Oath, stick to God, the founder of the universe. And in an Affirmation have the Affiant affirm on their personal honor. That is how I teach it and it is simpler that way. You may not think anyone is checking up on your when you are doing Oaths — but, God is, so use his name if you do an Oath. And if someone doesn’t like mentioning God, do an Affirmation. And remember — if they are Unitarian, the last time God was mentioned was when the janitor hit is thumb with a hammer.
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