By Jon Watts
It has been proposed by various groups and individuals that an organization known as "Oath Keepers" is racist, seditious, hateful, and pernicious.
I'm here to tell you the real story.
I have been a member of Oath Keepers since August 2009. My member number is under 500. There are currently over 10,000 dues-paying members, and tens of thousands on their Facebook site. I have seen the inner workings since the early days as the acting Alaska State Chapter President -- truly a view from the inside.
Let's set aside the controversy for a moment and examine the term "Oath Keeper." What does it really mean?
Webster's dictionary defines an "oath" as "a solemn, usually formal calling upon God or a god to witness to the truth of what one says or to witness that one sincerely intends to do what one says." We might therefore infer that an oath "keeper" sincerely intends to keep his word from the moment of an initial oath forward.
For example, each newly elected member of Congress recites this oath:
I do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.