One of my co-workers expressed disgust upon learning that the courts no longer require witnesses to swear their oaths on bibles. To my reply, that not everyone recognizes the same--or ANY--bible, she said in a dismissive tone, "But 86 percent of the population wants us to use the bible and the other 14 percent are the minority."
I tried to stay calm. I explained that the law is to protect that 14 percent. After all, I said, if the jury is composed entirely of members of that 86 percent and the only witness is a member of the 14 percent, and that witness refuses (as has ALWAYS been our right, although in some states that's been glossed over) to swear on the bible...do you think there's a chance an innocent defendant will be wrongly convicted?
"Why would anyone refuse to swear on the bible?" she asked. (Note that I am failing to capitalize the word bible because I consider it descriptive, not a title...) "Well, take me," I suggested. "I'm not Christian. Do you think I am somehow rendered honest because I swore an oath with my hand on the Christian bible?" "It's not going to hurt you to do it," she argued.
When one of my co-workers (a Jehovah's Witness, who is interestingly enough most often my ally in religious arguments) shook her head at me, I said, "I think we're just going to have to disagree on this," and I walked away (with the Jehovah's Witness who dislikes this other co-worker in the first place...)
And this particular co-worker is extremely liberal. Hates Bush. Hates Republicans. Hates the fact that we've sent American kids overseas to fight in defense of Big Business. Hell, she hates Wal-Mart. She had never heard of "The Rapture" before; she's THAT much not a fundamentalist. How can the rational among us hope to score any points with the conservatives in the Radical Right when the liberals in the moderate left retain this degree of blindness?
There, I've bitched and now I can feed the dog and leave for the office feeling refreshed. Not consoled. Just a little refreshed.