Excerpt from “Secular Religious Ideology Gone Mad,” by Gary DeMar.
Oaths and affirmations were deemed important to many of the founders since they bound a person’s word to a higher authority beyond the sanctions of mere mortals who have no jurisdiction over the soul. For example, in his Essay on Toleration (1685), John Locke exempted atheists from the civil protection of toleration when it came to holding political office by arguing that an atheist who denies that God exists could not be expected to tolerate what he believes to be a myth:
Lastly, those are not all to be tolerated who deny the being of God. Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all; besides also, those that by their atheism undermine and destroy all religion, can have no pretence of religion whereupon to challenge the privilege of toleration.[John Locke, Two Treatises of Civil Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration, ed. Ian Shapiro (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003), 246.]