Oaths

oath.jpg I’ve still not been thinking about much, lately. So I’m pulling out a topic I’ve had in storage for a while. I had Ethiopian food this weekend, Kitfo is spiced raw beef that looks like viscera and Ethiopian bread is like zombie flesh. And it was all tasty But I’m not writing on that.

I don’t think oaths are taken nearly as seriously as they used to be. I distinguish an Oath from a Promise by the fact that an Oath is taken before witnesses and is slightly more official than Promising not to tell mom about the broken lamp.

1. The Pledge of Allegiance [Note: I chose this site in particular because you can hear John Wayne recite the pledge. How droll.] I’ve been saying the pledge since I was old enough to enunciate clearly in grade school. I never really understood what it meant and I feel that it is a meaningless recitation to say something you don’t understand, at an age too young to understand it, near infinite times. It cheapens the oath. I think the Pledge should be said once, upon adulthood as a prerequisite for voting. This would make it at least not so cheaply come by and then perhaps the person saying it would have some idea what it meant, even if they don’t believe it [which gets addressed at the end here].

2. The Nicene Creed is also known as the Profession of Faith in Roman Catholicism. I’ve been saying this just as long as I’ve been saying the pledge and it was just as meaningless to me until I took the time a few years ago to figure out what exactly it all meant. If I’m saying these things, I thought, then I had better damn well know what I’m saying I believe in. Rote memorization and recitation [like with the pledge] don’t add understanding or belief.

3. Marriage Vows [Now Easily Fillable!] This should be rather obvious I suppose. I think if you pledge your life to someone then you’d better damn well do it. This isn’t to be taken as a gibe at divorced folks and it is probably easy for me to say this, not having ever been married. Still, when I reach that point, I plan on doing so with the full knowledge that its permanent and that the girl unlucky enough to agree to marry me knows the same thing.

4. Presidential Oath of Office This Oath is simple and also very complex, but all too often I think Presidents just toss this out as if it was some sort of troglodytic vestigia from days when honor and integrity had non-trite meanings. I’ve not seen much ‘faithful’ execution of the office or much defense of the Constitution for that matter.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that people don’t seem to have a sense of ‘honor and integrity’ any longer. All this might sound very conservative but if I learned anything in anthropology it is that relativism [cultural] is just as dangerous as centrism [ethno]. It seems quite easy for people to toss off a vow at this or that and think nothing of it, because I suppose, they’ve never learned just how serious such a thing should be. This becomes easier and easier to do over time because after a while there is no one around who feels that an Oath is important and to call someone out on breaking one. Except crazy fundies, I suppose. This could be fleshed out more I suppose but I’m too lazy at the moment.

5 thoughts on “Oaths

  1. Re: Marriage vows. Patrick and I wrote our own so they would fit us and mean more than just the standard for better or worse in sickness and in health.

  2. I agree 100%. Along the same lines, a promise isn’t really a promise these days either. Even I’ve been guilty of that.

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