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You Swore on the Bible: An Open Letter to the Members of Congress

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This is the culmination --at least thus far-- of my work on the idea that I've presented here earlier as a work-in-progress.

You Swore on the Bible: An Open Letter to the Members of Congress
Andrew Bard Schmookler

Dear Members of Congress:

Each one of you who serve in Congress took an oath:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."

A Promise to God

You promised us -you promised God-to defend the Constitution.

An oath is supposed to mean something. In our civilization, an oath is understood to be

"a special appeal, an expression of sincerity backed up by the threat of divine retribution should the uttering prove false-hence the term 'oath-breaker'. An oathbreaker was assumed to have committed a crime against God or of some divine entity, which would lead to damnation or another form of severe penalty."

Did you take your oath seriously? Or were these just meaningless words you spoke so that you could step into your position of power?

From some of you, we sometimes hear the expression "God-fearing," but can anyone who can swear on the Bible "So help me God," without meaning what he says, be God-fearing?

The Constitution Now Needs Defending

Most of the time, that oath of office does not require the Members of Congress to do much. That's because the Constitution doesn't generally need defending.

But has there ever been a moment in American history when the Constitution has needed defending more than now?

Has not a disturbing pattern emerged? From what we reliably know, and from what the administration itself has disclosed, is there not already discernable a pattern of disregard for the law and of presidential power-grabbing?

We see this in the warrantless searches; in the apparent practice of torture; in "signing statements" numbering over 700; in the deception of Congress on vital national issues, including matters of war and peace; and in the succession of bogus arguments advanced by this administration to justify its usurpation of power and its assault on our system of checks and balances.

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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