Pluralism, Texts, and Oaths

Noel Salmond nsalmond at CCS.CARLETON.CA
Thu Mar 9 16:36:30 UTC 2000

Dear Colleagues

I recently got a call from an official of the government of Canada asking
for information with regard to choosing sacred texts for use in swearing-in
ceremonies for new Canadians. In Canada you have the choice to either be
sworn on a holy book or not. For those who do so wish they provide Bibles
but have been concerned in the last decade or so to be a bit more inclusive
-- hence the Gita is available for Hindus, the Qur'an for Muslims and so
on. They also invite anyone to bring their own holy book, if they want one.
The official wanted help concerning what other books they should provide.
For instance, they want to know what to provide for Buddhists. I'm aware of
how complex this can be: what kind of Buddhist? Buddhism isn't a "religion
of the book" in the way that the biblical traditions are etc.

Could someone put me on to any literature that may be out there on the use
of sacred texts for legal and oath taking purposes.
With all the work being done on comparative notions of scripture and on
pluralism I would imagine that this topic has been addressed.

Could someone tell me what the drill is in the U.S., in the U.K., in India.
I gather that in secular India one swears on a copy of the constitution.

With thanks

Noel Salmond
Carleton University
Ottawa, Canada                               [apologies to those who saw
this cross-posted to RISA-L]

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