JANE’S FALLS: I carefully maintain the use of affirmation rather than oath, when the occasion arises, especially on legal forms. I avoid participation in games of chance, including those presented by charitable causes, and joyfully throw out all “sweepstakes” and other junk mail unopened.
My employment does require me to prepare the New England lottery numbers for newspaper publication each Saturday night, an act that I perform with a sense of uneasiness. Yet that has been eye-opening, in seeing the response of so many of the composing room personnel to the lottery numbers, in discovering how widely the news services disseminate the information, and in receiving a number of phone calls each week from people wanting to discover if they’ve won. (Several times, I’ve received phone calls from a women in Florida who “need” to know that night’s number – imagine the extra expense in that long-distance call!) This job duty has convinced me of the cancerous nature of this get-rich-quick mentality, regardless of the revenue it supposedly raises for the support of New Hampshire schools.
I am more bothered by the giveaways on many of the so-called “Christian” radio stations in this country. I need to be faithful to protest, when opportunity presents.
REHOBOTH MILLS: I have used the occasions to uphold our testimony of using the affirmation rather than an oath, when such have come up on legal documents this past year. It always strengthens my spirit when I do so. And yet we must also recognize that the affirmation is becoming in practice another way of saying, in effect, that we just might have a double standard of truth. As such, it becomes an easy escape when we ought perhaps to be refusing to answer at all. I do want to share with Friends the one occasion when I was tendered the oath in a courtroom; this was in the divorce, something that was completely against everything I believed in and yet something that could not be turned back, something that had support in Matthew (and I have been so grateful that Dean opened my eyes to that passage, though he probably does not remember doing so); when I said, “I cannot swear but I will take the affirmation,” the judge gave me an annoyed look, Patt realized that great growth had been occurring in my religious life, and I tasted once again that victory the Lord holds out to His people. Sometimes this happens in the most unlikely places!
With gambling, it is a great strength to be able to smile and simply say, “It’s against my religion.”