United States Court of Appeals,
Argued and Submitted Aug. 5, 1985.
Decided Dec. 19, 1985.
You do affirm upon pain and penalty of perjury that the testimony you will give in this deposition will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
“I understand that I must accurately state the facts” in place of “I understand that I must tell the truth.” That would also suffice, so long as Gordon acknowledges that he understands he is testifying under penalty of perjury
Now the scripture says ‘Let God be true though every man be a liar.’ I’m simply saying that since we’ve all lied in the past and we’ve lied once or twice today and we’re going to lie in the future, why kid ourselves by saying we tell the truth when in fact we do not. It’s my position I would be guilty of perjury the moment I said ‘Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God’ and I say ‘I do’ I’m committing a lie.”
Fed.R.Evid. 603 states that every witness “shall be required to declare that he will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation administered in a form calculated to awaken his conscience and impress his mind with his duty to do so.” The advisory committee notes to Rule 603 illustrate that an affirmation need take no particular form: “The rule is designed to afford the flexibility required in dealing with religious adults, atheists, conscientious objectors, mental defectives, and children. Affirmation is simply a solemn undertaking to tell the truth; no special verbal formula is required.” Fed.R.Evid. 603 advisory committee note.
This reasoning should also apply to affirmations at depositions under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. We therefore conclude that any statement indicating that the deponent is impressed with the duty to tell the truth and understands that he or she can be prosecuted for perjury for failure to do so satisfies the requirement for an oath or affirmation under Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(c) and 43(d). Deponents, furthermore, need not raise their hand when they state the words necessary to satisfy Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(c) and 43(d) if to do so impinges on sincerely-held religious beliefs. This flexible approach is consistent with the constitutional obligation to protect the free exercise of religious beliefs by using the least restrictive means to further compelling state interests that impinge on such free exercise. See Callahan, 736 F.2d at 1273.