by Laura Harris
As Executor of my father’s estate, I recently submitted forms to the administrative offices of our County Probate Court to remedy outstanding financial issues. I anticipated leaving the documents with the receptionist and quickly be on my way. Unexpectedly, the woman requested that I swear under oath to the truthfulness of the information I submitted. I politely interrupted her recitation and asked if I could affirm instead of swear. With a befuddled look she asked, “What does affirm mean?” My stomach tightened, my face flushed and my mind raced: How do I explain an affirmation? Could I adequately articulate my religious beliefs? What if she declined my request? What if..?
I nervously gave a response. The woman shuffled through some papers on her desk in an attempt to find “official” information on affirmations. After consulting a co-worker, she agreed to substitute the word “swear” with “affirm.” It had been years since I studied and reviewed the biblical reasons as to why true Christians do not swear. Under pressure, I had difficulty recollecting my bible study on the topic. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” As a Christian I must always be ready to defend my actions. In order to uphold my beliefs, it requires constant study and reflection on the things I “already know.”