What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
Dennis Pranger has an article on Townhall.com titled “America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on”. The article is about Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to congress, wanting to be sworn in using the Koran instead of the Bible.
First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism — my culture trumps America’s culture. What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.
Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison’s favorite book is. 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. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.
Pranger raises an interesting point here. The swearing in of elected officials is a time-honored ceremony based on time-honored elements (this one being the use of the Bible). The tradition of using the Bible dates back to George Washington’s own inauguration, but nowhere in law is such a practice mandated. As this page points out, there have been a few officials (enough to count on your hand) who have used other books.
My main concern is that if Ellison wants to use the Koran, then who is next with which book? Pranger discusses this issue:
Devotees of multiculturalism and political correctness who do not see how damaging to the fabric of American civilization it is to allow Ellison to choose his own book need only imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” the Nazis’ bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison’s right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?
Of course, Ellison’s defenders argue that Ellison is merely being honest; since he believes in the Koran and not in the Bible, he should be allowed, even encouraged, to put his hand on the book he believes in. But for all of American history, Jews elected to public office have taken their oath on the Bible, even though they do not believe in the New Testament, and the many secular elected officials have not believed in the Old Testament either. Yet those secular officials did not demand to take their oaths of office on, say, the collected works of Voltaire or on a volume of New York Times editorials, writings far more significant to some liberal members of Congress than the Bible. Nor has one Mormon official demanded to put his hand on the Book of Mormon. And it is hard to imagine a scientologist being allowed to take his oath of office on a copy of “Dianetics” by L. Ron Hubbard.
Critics of Pranger’s stance (and there are many) have repeatedly cited Article VI of the Constitution, which states in part that elected officials
“…shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
The only problem with using this statement as a defense for allowing the Koran to be used in lieu of the Bible is that neither is a qualification for office. Nobody is saying that Ellison must use the Bible, only that he should. It’s not about forcing him to do it, it’s about him doing it of his own accord. The fact that he wants to use another book is the issue. Being sworn into office by using the Bible is not a religious test. Nobody is requiring Ellison to believe in the Bible or adhere to its teachings. What Ellision is required to do is summed up in his 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.
Pranger’s article goes on to explain why some are bending to Ellison’s request, simply because he is a Muslim, and we wouldn’t want to offend any Muslims! Let’s bend and twist and cater to their every desire to prevent any attacks of terrorism! Please. Equating radical extremists with the main religion and society they claim to be a member of is naive. Ellison should receive no special favors because of his Muslim status, just as Mitt Romney shouldn’t be elected (or prevented from being elected) as President because of his Mormon faith.
The main issue at hand is how far America will go in catering to the desires and whims of its minorities. Whether it be using the Koran in a Congressional oath, giving homosexuals legal status as husband and husband (or wife and wife), tolerating polygamy (and worse) from Warren Jeff’s clan, or exterminating whites (that dude is crazy!), America must take a stand and honor its time-tested and trial-proved values and principles. The other option is to open up America’s policies and laws to be changed by its myriad of minorities, leading us to a Fahrenheit 451-esque state of a dumbed-down everything.
When all elected officials take their oaths of office with their hands on the very same book, they all affirm that some unifying value system underlies American civilization. If Keith Ellison is allowed to change that, he will be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11.
Amen. What we need in our country is more unity, not more diversity. We need more things in common, and less in difference. We need more understanding and less grousing. We need more altruism and less hedonism. Can such a diverse people be unified? You’d better hope so.