I’ve never known what to make of Matthew 5:33-37, in which Jesus forbids the taking of oaths. Frankly, I’ve never made any attempt to follow it literally, nor am I willing to give up my US citizenship to do so (mea cupla?). Given the generally hyperbolic nature of the Sermon on the Mount, I’ve been content to take it as a warning rather than a command.
That said, I do understand the danger of rash oaths and the importance of standing by your word. Because of this, I’m faced with a quandary. My state’s constitution was recently changed so that voting in the Presidential primary requires you to sign an oath to either the Democratic or Republican party. According to the ballot, your vote is invalid unless you mark either “I declare that I consider myself to be a DEMOCRAT and I will not participate in the nomination process of any other political party for the 2008 Presidential election” or “I declare that I am a member of the Republican Party and have not participated and will not participate in the 2008 precinct caucus or convention system of any other party.”
Now I don’t consider myself a Democrat or a Republican, nor am I absolutely certain that I will vote the same way in the general election as I would now–it all depends on who become the nominees! I do, however, know who I want to vote for in the primary (sorry, I wont say who), so do I swollow my pride (and independence, and perhaps honesty) and check the party to which they belong, or am I barred from voting? Am I crazy, or have they really made it illegal for an Independent to vote honestly?
I realize this is not the end of the world–at least we have free elections at all, right?–but it really bothers me. Has anyone else struggled with this?