State/Church FAQ

State/Church FAQ

I want to become a U.S. citizen, but am not religious and don’t want to take a religious oath. What are my rights?

The Freedom From Religion Foundation doesn’t want you to be forced to take a religious oath, either! In fact, our country is in need of more people like you, who understand better than many native-born citizens how vital it is to separate religion from government. The U.S. Constitution is entirely godless, so it is dismaying that a religious oath would be imposed on new citizens.

I've been called for jury duty. Or, I need to testify at a trial. Am I going to have to take a religious oath or place my hand on a bible?

Unfortunately, most state statutes routinely provide for religious oaths to swear in jurors or testifiers. Fortunately, most also permit alternative affirmations. Affirmation is for anyone who has conscientious scruples against swearing an oath to a deity. (This can include not only unbelievers but some form of Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.)

When we went to apply for our marriage license, the county clerk told us we had to state an oath to "God." What can we do?

Although most state statutes routinely provide for religious oaths, they also usually provide for alternative affirmations. Usually, statutes pertaining to applications for marriage licenses, certificates and solemnizations designate a religious oath. However, elsewhere in your state statutes, there is probably a provision for affirmations (which, by definition, means you are not swearing to a deity, but affirm you are telling the truth). An affirmation is for anyone who has conscientious scruples against swearing an oath to a deity. (This can include some form of Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses as well as nonbelievers.)

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