Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A complicated issue

This is bound to get the ACLU all upset. Sister Toldjah covers the new Dennis Prager column discussing the possibility of using the Koran to swear in freshman representative Keith Ellison (D-MN). Here's his column as posted on Sister Toldjah:

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.

So why are we allowing Keith Ellison to do what no other member of Congress has ever done — choose his own most revered book for his oath?

The answer is obvious — Ellison is a Muslim. And whoever decides these matters, not to mention virtually every editorial page in America, is not going to offend a Muslim. In fact, many of these people argue it will be a good thing because Muslims around the world will see what an open society America is and how much Americans honor Muslims and the Koran.

This argument appeals to all those who believe that one of the greatest goals of America is to be loved by the world, and especially by Muslims because then fewer Muslims will hate us (and therefore fewer will bomb us).

But these naive people do not appreciate that America will not change the attitude of a single American-hating Muslim by allowing Ellison to substitute the Koran for the Bible. In fact, the opposite is more likely:

Ellison’s doing so will embolden Islamic extremists and make new ones, as Islamists, rightly or wrongly, see the first sign of the realization of their greatest goal — the Islamicization of America.

This is a complicated issue, no? On the one hand, why would we feel more comfortable about any person--Muslim, Jew, Satanist or atheist--taking an oath with his/her hand on the Bible if this individual does not believe in the words that are held within it? They might as well take the oath with a hand on the garbage can.

On the other hand, I feel even less comfortable if a person takes the oath on a book whose contents I do not A) know B) agree with or C) fully understand. Mr. Prager posed the idea of a racist wanting to swear himself in on Mein Kampf. This is problematic because, though few of us have read it, most of us understand that this is not something we want our representatives swearing to uphold. A complicated issue indeed.

But have no fear, for I have a solution. If folks do not want to take their oath with a hand on the Bible, why not have use the Constitution? Just an idea...other thoughts?

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