Good thoughts from Australia about their first federal cabinet minister to be sworn in using the Qur’an:
When Christianity has ruled in government, both Christianity and the government have been distorted. We win people to Christ not by government fiat but by prayerful persuasion to the truth.
Later on in the piece, Mr. Jensen teases out the implications of "swearing" for atheists or practical atheists:
However, others will only make an affirmation because, as atheists, they refuse to refer to a higher being than themselves. They are like Napoleon placing the crown on his own head for there was nobody greater to crown him. So they are not answerable to anybody or anything other than themselves.
With an affirmation we have to take the word of a politician seeking more power on the basis of their “say so”. Often this doesn’t matter in practice as most of the oath-taking politicians are practical atheists and most of the affirming politicians unconsciously practise Christian values. However, theoretically those who affirm are swearing by themselves for they have no greater source of moral reference to which they can point or to which we can call them to account but themselves. Of such arrogance comes tyranny.
The New Testament understands the problem of the atheist. In Hebrews we read of God swearing by himself:
“For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, … For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath.” (Heb 6:13 ff.)
But then again, he is God.