Tuesday, July 12, 2005

NC Quran In Court Dispute Being Referred To Legislature

In a posting last month, I focused on the dispute in North Carolina courts over whether witnesses may be sworn using a copy of the Quran instead of the Bible. Two judges in Guilford County had said "no". The issue was supposed to have been decided by a state Judicial Conference, or by the Administrative Office of the Courts. But now the Charlotte Observer reports that apparently the issue is being referred to the state legislature instead. Current state law calls for the oath to be taken on the "Holy Scriptures". The Guilford County judges say that this means the Christian Bible.

The language of the North Carolina General Statutes, Chap. 11, Art. 1 on the administration of oaths is interesting. Apparently the section at issue is Sec. 11-1, which reads: "Judges ... shall (except in the cases in this Chapter excepted) require the party to be sworn to lay his hand upon the Holy Scriptures, in token of his engagement to speak the truth and in further token that, if he should swerve from the truth, he may be justly deprived of all the blessings of that holy book and made liable to that vengeance which he has imprecated on his own head."