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Aug 29 2013

State Senator to Constituents: “My Oath of Office Means Jack To Me”

From Salon:

State Sen. Jason Rapert, the man behind Arkansas’ ban on abortion at twelve weeks, may have been elected to office to serve the 85,000 constituents in his district, but, he says, he only really serves God.

“It’s more important to do what is right by God,” Rapert told an audience at the Faith2Action banquet in Columbus, Ohio, “than it is to please those that would rather have me talk about pro-life but not really do much about pro-life.”

“There’s only one vote that matters and that’s when I stand before the Lord at the judgment seat,” he added, just in case it wasn’t clear.

Yeah. About that, Senator Rapert.

I looked up the Oath of Office for State Senators in the state of Arkansas. Wasn’t hard. Took about thirty seconds of Googling. You might want to try it when you have a sec. Here’s what it says:

“I, ________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Arkansas, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of ________, upon which I am now about to enter.”

Please note the lack of any reference to doing what is right by God.

And this is the oath you swore. This is the position you campaigned for. This is the job you were elected to do.

If you want to spend your life doing what is right by your idea of God… there are jobs where you can do that. You can be a preacher, a missionary, a Bible salesman, a teacher at a Bible school, a data entry clerk at a mail-order Christian supply company.

But you didn’t want that. You wanted to be a state senator. And when you became a state senator, you made a promise. You swore an oath. And you did not swear an oath to serve God. You swore an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, to support the Constitution of the State of Arkansas, and to faithfully discharge the duties of your office.

So what you’re saying now is: “I lied. Yes, I promised to support the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Arkansas, and to faithfully discharge the duties of my office. And when I promised that, I lied like a dog. I had another agenda, a different set of priorities. If I have to choose between serving the constituents who elected me, and serving my personal idea of what I think my deity wants, I’m going to choose the latter. And I totally, barefacedly lied about that. Fuck all y’all.”

What’s more: I’d bet dollars to donuts that you swore this oath. I’d bet dollars to donuts that you didn’t affirm it, which is the secular version of oath-swearing. I’d bet a hundred dollars that when you made this promise, you made it with the implication that you were making it with your god as your witness. You made your god into your witness, the god you supposedly want to serve above all else — and you baldly lied.

I’m just sayin’, is all.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    lizheywood

    Good for you, Greta, calling Rapert out on this! Politicians who drag religion into the mix want to have it both ways. So much for the worth of Rapert’s word.

  2. 2
    Gregory in Seattle

    Who wants to bet that “so help me God” was added to the official oath? That would make him not only guilty of criminal perjury, but the sin of blasphemy as well because he lied to his god.

    Yeah, he’s a Republican. We should expect something else from him?

  3. 3
    DLC

    If he wants to serve God, let him join the priesthood. He is there to serve the people.
    Not just the conservative christiantheocrats, but the whole of his constituency.
    The last I checked, God doesn’t actually get a vote, or live in the United States.

  4. 4
    Ace of Sevens

    That’s unfair. Dogs are scrupulously honest.

  5. 5
    bengriffith

    Unfortunately, abortion rights are not so clearly spelled out in either state constitutions or the national one as they ought to be — and, while there are some good legal precedents and constitutional interpretations (e.g. things like implied privacy rights) on the pro-choice side, there is also plenty of ambiguity and grey area in which socially-conservative theocrats feel they can all too “legitimately” pursue their agenda of unreasonably restricting abortion. Of course, I’m not happy with anyone imposing religion through public office in any way or for any reason at all regarding explicit dogmatic inspiration or justification for any stance or policy, but I’m not sure if an issue like abortion really relates to the establishment clause of the First Amendment (which anti-theistic secularists like me naturally think ought to me much more strictly enforced). Concurrently, as much as we atheists might not like pious politicians constantly talking about their faith, they are allowed free speech by the constitution they swear to uphold in most contexts — as long as they are not conducting official prayers, officially discriminating, etc.

  6. 6
    Greta Christina

    bengriffith @ #5: What, exactly, does abortion have to do with this?

    I didn’t say a single thing about abortion in this post. This post is entirely about the fact that this State Senator said, in actual words, that when it came to his job, he would prioritize serving God over serving his constituents… despite the fact that he took an oath of office not to do that. Why are you bringing abortion into it?

    And yes, of course, Rapert has the First Amendment right to be a lying scumbag. I also have the First Amendment right to point out that he’s a lying scumbag.

  7. 7
    hexidecima

    Anytime this is said by a TrueChristian ““It’s more important to do what is right by God,” it only means that getting their way is more important than anything else. They will lie to get their way, cheating their way into office by making false promises when taking oaths. And I’m guessing that this jackass insisted in saying “so help me God”. after saying the oath that Greta mentions.

    These TrueChristians do show that they have no actual belief in their religion, which says repeatedly that lying is absolutely off-limits, no matter what.

  1. 8

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