Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Some are attempting to force out Jewish commentator Dennis Prager for his comment about recently elected Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison who announced his intention of being sworn in to office using a Koran rather than a Bible:
"Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible," he wrote in a column titled, "America, Not Keith Ellison, Decides What Book a Congressman Takes His Oath On."

"If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress," Prager wrote, adding that using the Koran "undermines American civilization."

I agree with Prager that Ellison's election does 'undermine American civilization', but insisting he swear on a Bible will not alter who or what Ellison is. Even swearing in on a Bible is a tradition rather than a requirement, as there can be no religious test for American elected officials. No test, of course, other than the consent of the voters. Of course, American voters have elected all sorts of scoundrels who have sworn on the Bible, but turned out to be scoundrels despite it what they swore on.

I know nothing of Ellison save that he is a Muslim. He may very well be a devout man and a stand-up fellow. Once elected I think it would be strange to expect him to use anything other than a Koran to swear on, just as if the Jewish Prager was elected would I think it strange if he chose a New Testament for his swearing in.

The real issue is the very fact that voters did elect a Muslim in the first place. It does show a shift in the American mindset, and one that ultimately points to a loss of confidence in Western civilization itself. That is the root issue, and one that the flap over a swearing in ceremony masks.

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