Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
A good 13 or so years ago, I got called for jury duty. I was never empaneled, but I got a taste for what a Quaker faces when the bailiff swore us in. "Uh-oh." I had to ask the bailiff to make an accommodation for me, since I will not take oaths. Apparently the courts are agreeable about asking jurors to swear OR affirm that they will tell the truth, and the bailiff was happy to make the language adjustment for me.
Not so with a hostile attorney during the voir dire. He grilled me on my membership in this thing called the Religious Society of Friends. What is that? What do you mean, you can't swear!? How can you perform your duties as a juror if you don't swear!!?
Rather intimidating, that kind of grilling. And I was simply a prospective juror. I felt I got a taste for what defendants and witnesses must endure, which I felt improved my empathy for all involved in the court case.
Now I have been called up again. My previous experience will help, but I find myself contemplating another practice for which I have found no Quaker protocol. Perhaps Friends can instruct me:
What is the point of raising our right hand? Is it, too, a symbol of a human double standard regarding telling the truth? Is this contrary to our understanding of what God calls us to?
I don't wish to get bogged down in minutiae--a silly poor gospel--so I am especially eager to hear from our Quaker scholars as to whether this has ever been an issue for Friends. If not, I will go about my business as a jurist with a light heart that I am following God.