LONDON — A plan to stop the swearing of oaths on the Bible in courts in England and Wales has been rejected by magistrates.
The Magistrate’s Association recently debated a motion to stop witnesses and defendants from swearing on the Bible, but voted against it.
The plan was proposed by Ian Abrahams, a Bristol magistrate. Abrahams would have replaced “I swear by Almighty God [to tell] the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” with a promise to “very sincerely tell the truth.”
During the debate, Abrahams argued, “This is about one thing only getting better evidence to enable us to dispense better justice.” He added that witnesses and defendants were confused by the current system.
Andrea Williams, head of Christian Concern for Our Nation (CCFON), a Christian think tank, told Christian News Network that she was happy with the outcome of the decision.
“Christianity is woven into the fabric of our nation,” she said. “This appeared to be an attempt to secularise yet another sphere of our society, but thankfully, the magistrates recognised the importance of preserving the oath.”
The decision is also likely to please those who had previously spoken out about the vote. The conservative MP John Glen said that the proposal was an instance of “political correctness gone mad.”
The history of oath taking by witnesses and defendants can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon and Roman era.
Currently, in the UK, witnesses and defendants can take a secular oath or swear on other religious books depending on their faith or lack of it.
The news comes after the Scout Association in the UK introduced a pledge to “uphold our scout values” for those who do not believe in God to stand alongside the traditional vow “to do my duty to God.”
The motion to change the oath in courts was defeated by a show of hands.