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150 years ago...

This, from an 1860 Hansard:

Several Members came to the Table to be sworn, and Sir Francis Henry Goldsmid, Member for the Borough of Reading, having stated that being a person professing the Jewish Religion, he had a conscientious objection to take the Oath in the form required by the Act 22 Vict. c. 48:—The Clerk reported the circumstance to Mr. Speaker, and Sir Francis Henry Goldsmid was directed to withdraw; and he withdrew accordingly.

Resolved,— "That it appears to this House that Sir Francis Henry Goldsmid, a person professing the Jewish Religion, being otherwise entitled to sit and vote in this House, is prevented from so sitting and voting by his conscientious objection to take the Oath which by an Act passed in the twenty-second year of Her Majesty has been substituted for the Oaths of Allegiance, Supremacy, and Abjuration in the form therein required."

Resolved,— "That any person professing the Jewish Religion may henceforth, in taking the Oath prescribed in an Act passed in the twenty-second year of Her Majesty to entitle him to sit and vote in this House, omit the words 'and I make this declaration upon the true faith of a Christian.'"
Sir Francis Henry Goldsmid accordingly came to the Table, and was sworn on the Old Testament.

More on Goldsmid here.   Also, a list of historic and current Jewish MPs here, doubtless including ideological heroes / heroines for most respectable shades of opinion.

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Blogger Jackart said... 8:52 am

Another interesting guy was the first Atheist, Charles Bradlaugh (Northampton), who won the right to Affirm, rather than take a religious oath after being returned 4 times!  



Blogger Croydonian said... 10:14 am

Thanks for that. I suppose I would not have the good burghers of Northampton to be so 'progressive'. Odd that it did not come up beforehand with a Quaker, as I know they affirm rather than swear. An investigation is called for, I think.  



Blogger Croydonian said... 10:18 am

Apparently it was Joseph Pease in 1832, and he affirmed. Presumably Quakerism was deemed more 'respectable'.  



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