From: James Williams
To: Paul Murray Jan-25-94 08:26:44
Subject: Re: Laws and Religion
Re: Re: Laws and Religion
>jw> California Law on swearing oaths specifically identifies a
>jw> "Christian" oath as the State's "ordinary" oath [CCP 2094, c.f.
>jw> CCP 2096] and in 1990 a local Humanist, Frank Mortyn, endured
>jw> seven successive jailings on contempt before they finally quit.
>jw> The judge involved is a Bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of
>jw> Latter Day Saints (Mormons).
>FR> Where was the ACLU (not to mention constitutional law) when this man's
>FR> constitutional rights were being violated seven times? If they were
>FR> present or not, how does the man's legal advisor(s) plan to address
>FR> the violations of his rights due to religious zealotry?
The ACLU considered the case and decided that they could
intervene only if the incarceration reached a total of six months,
when Federal Law would cut in, the Civil Rights Act I think.
Mr Mortyn's constitutional rights were not being violated,
because he was violating California Law, which REQUIRES the oath.
And he understood that. Most judges have the common sense to
downplay this silly law. This one judge is a Mormon with the
imagination of a snail and chose to play tough.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State in
Washington considered the case, with the possibility of taking it
all the way to the Supreme Court, but predicted that in the
conservative state of the Reagan court it would likely lose and set
the cause back.
The best way to restrain such excesses of religious
bigotry at present are these:
1. Tell your local Mormon Church about this case and let
it be known that the bigotry of their Bishop Timothy W. Tower, Tenth
Ward, San Diego, is a disgrace to their Church. When word gets back
to Salt Lake City the mother church may try to straighten him out
when they know he embarrassess them.
2. Write to him directly. A postcard from afar may help
educate him to see that he has brought discredit on his Church.
Bishop Timothy W. Tower
Judge of the Municipal Court
4838 Jellett Street,
San Diego CA 92117 USA
3 Inquire in your own community who the Bishops of the
Latter Day Saints Church are, and find out whether they are in
inappropriate positions of responsibility such as judges, and inform
your citizens of the facts.
Mormon clergy are all-volunteer, unpaid, therefore
generally hold jobs. They should be in jobs compatible with their
religious commitment. And people should be aware of the Mormon
tradition of quietly infiltrating themselves into positions of
responsibility where they further the interests of their own people
and their church.
From: James Williams
To: David Wright Jan-27-94 08:18:04
Subject: Courtroom Oaths
Re: Re: Atheism
> because they didn't yet have an alternative oath from the "so help me
> God" one. The lawyers and the judge got all freaked out about my
> coming up to the bench. After I explained myself, they said, no
> problem, and promptly dropped it.
First, NEVER approach the bench unless you first ask for
permission. That ALWAYS freaks them. They fear assassination.
In California, the Code of Civil Procedure specifically implies
that the "Christian" oath is the "normal" oath. That's the bad news.
But few judges tack on the "so help me God" bit.
And for some years, CCP 2015.5 has provided that a declaration
under penalty of perjury can be accepted as the equivalent of sworn
testimony. This addition to the Code is so new that most judges are
unaware it's there.
From: James Williams
To: Fredric Rice Jan-27-94 08:18:04
Subject: Oath and Affirmation
Re: Laws and Religion
> The oath usually include a magical invocation to deities yet an
> affirmation usually does not. If you are saying that the California
> criminal code in thi clown's district specifically requires a set
> affirmation which also includes invocation to deities, then the
> State is dead wrong in doing so.
The quasi-religious nature of an oath is not dependent on the
use of the words "So help me God." In the USA Constitution those
words are NOT included in the form for the president's oath of
office; nor is the placing of a hand on the Bible---yet most
presidents, including Bill Clinton, add on those religious features.
America has become religion-infested in 200 years.
In California courts, the clerk authorized to "hear oaths" says
"raise your right hand please." Soon as you do that, you are
symbolically calling on the supernatural authorities on high. You
are sworn. Calling it an affirmation makes ZIP difference.
In 1877, *Clinton v the State of Ohio*, 33 Ohio 27 , the
Ohio Supreme Court Commission ruled that a witness must have a
belief in a supreme being in order to AFFIRM just as much as if to
swear an OATH. No different.
In California, CCP 2015.5 provides an honorable way to avoid
oaths and affirmations. Problem is, it's so new that most judges
graduated from law school before the law was passed, and don't know
it's there. What's needed now is for free individuals to speak up
and insist on using it.