Throughout all of U.S. history, elected Congressmen (and Congresswomen since World War I) have been sworn in on the Holy Bible. These Congressmen consisted of Jews, secularists, atheists, Christians, Catholics, Methodists, and Lutherans. Even with such a diverse amount of religious beliefs, all of these Congressmen swore in on the Bible.
Now it is 2006, and a Congressman by the name of Keith Ellison plans to swear into Congress using the Koran. Some say that the swearing in using the Koran will prove to the Muslim community as a whole that the U.S. isn’t so bad. I say hog wash. A Congressman swearing in using the Koran doesn’t exclude the U.S. from the “infidel” list.
Others have different opinions. The following quote comes from Mr. Prager from an article entitled, “America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on.”
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?
Mr. Prager makes a good point regarding the slippery slope that may occur by allowing one Congressman to use a book besides the Bible. The issue is not the Koran. The issue is the divergence from the book that the United States has been founded upon. If the Holy Bible is disregarded in Congressional oaths, it will set a precedent. Nothing will stop future Congressmen and women from picking a book of their choice when swearing into Congress. If one worships vegetables, what will stop a Congressman from swearing in on the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens?
To counter the quote, I would hope that the American people would be smart enough to not have elected a racist to public office. Using “Mein Kampf” (and even Better Homes and Gardens) is an extreme example that one wouldn’t immediately begin to imagine becoming a reality. The point here is the precedent that will be set when the Congressman is sworn in using the Koran. After the Koran is used, it will have destroyed the hundreds of years of tradition that the United States was built upon. The point wasn’t swearing in using the Bible — it was upholding the tradition of the founding fathers. Somebody should unearth the founding fathers’ graves and see if the spit is visible on their faces.
Another quote worth mentioning from Mr. Prager is the following:
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.
Mr. Prager makes a very good point regarding secular officials and Mormons. Mormons are very defensive of the Book of Mormon. Likewise, secularists are very defensive towards anything Christian in nature. However, both Mormons and secularists have made a “small” sacrifice to preserve years of precedent and tradition. Those Congressmen (and women) realized that their religion was not as important as the views of the American public as a whole. The American public as a whole is Christian and regards the Holy Bible with great favor. Only a small minority of Americans see the Koran with an intimate light. Others view the Koran as an unknown book that causes a great deal of turmoil and trouble when mentioned negatively.
So why is the Koran suddenly being cast upon us American people? Would Congressman Ellison have been elected if he had promised to his voters that he was going to be sworn in using the Koran? Furthermore, what book would Congressman Ellison swear on if he were in a court of law?
Congressman Ellison should swear in using the Bible, and uphold hundreds of years of tradition. Instead, Congressman Ellison will set a precedent that will allow the Holy Bible to slowly diminish its presence in U.S. Congress.
That’s my 500 Words.