People in public office at the local, state, and federal levels are required to take an oath of office that requires them to swear, or affirm, to support the United States Constitution. This is based on Article 6, Clause 3 of that Constitution (the “Oaths Clause”):
The Senators and Representatives [in Congress] before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution…
As David Shestokas noted:
This constitutional requirement is binding upon every government official in the United States from state governors and judges to members of city councils, police officers, firefighters or board members of mosquito abatement districts and library boards.
David Shestokas, The US Constitution and Local Government, January 7, 2014, http://www.shestokas.com/constitution-educational-series/the-us-constitution-and-local-government/
The Framers of the Constitution considered the “Oaths Clause” a way of integrating the original thirteen states into a federal union. It was also a way of binding those taking that oath “to abstain from all acts inconsistent with it,” and “to observe the limits” it placed on their authority.
Edwin Meese III, Matthew Spalding, and David Forte, The Heritage Guide to the Constitution (Washington DC: Regnery Publishing, 2005), p. 295
So taking an oath to support the Constitution is a way of providing common cause among different people with each acknowledging that the same Constitution will uniformly guide and limit their actions. Taking such an oath also sends that same unifying message to those watching.
The wording of this oath for federal public officials is specified in federal law. Title 5, Section 3331 of the United States Code provides that wording:
I, AB, 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.
Title 4, Section 101 of the United States Code provides the framework for the wording of this oath for public officials at the state level:
Every member of a State legislature, and every executive and judicial officer of a State, shall, before he proceeds to execute the duties of his office, take an oath in the following form, to wit: “I, A B, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States.”
At the local level, the wording of the oath of office varies but includes a commitment to support the Constitution.
But Islamic Doctrinal teachings about making an oath raise serious questions about how Muslim public officials, and candidates for public office, might actually view the oath of office they are taking. It might not necessarily be viewed as a way of showing common cause and acknowledging that the same Constitution will uniformly guide and limit their actions.
Learn about this from the brochures below. Read them, print them out, and hand them out.
Educate yourself and others!
What Islam Teaches about taking an Oath: “So help me God”
What Islam Teaches about taking an Oath: Using the Koran
What Islam Teaches about taking an Oath: Ways to Break that Oath
What Islam Teaches about taking an Oath: What does the Oath Mean?
The Muslim Oath Project