The Lie of “The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth”

Clerk of the Court: Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Witness for the plaintiff: No

CC: What?

Witness: No. I said “No.”

Judge: Sir, am I to understand that you are not willing to tell the truth in this matter?

W: My objection is to the oath. My faith tells me not to take oaths, but to say yes when I mean yes and no when I mean no.

Judge: Very well. If we eliminate the words “so help you God” will that satisfy you?

W: Well, it’s a start, but I still have an objection.

J: To what?

W: I object to the phrase “the whole truth.” It’s vague.

J: No one has ever had that objection before. Why do you, now?

W: I am sure that the prosecutor has coached his witnesses to tell the truth, but no more than is absolutely necessary to avoid revealing anything that might be exculpatory. I am sure the police and other investigators have been similar coaching.

J: Are you suggesting that there is anything improper in the prosecution’s presentation of his case?

W: I simply want to avail myself of the same opportunity, namely, to tell the truth, but no more of it as seems prudent.

J: You’ve heard many other witnesses in this case take the oath to which you reject. None of them have presented any objections, much less those to which you object. Doesn’t that … Read the rest