When Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (in photo), D-Minn., has his ceremonial swearing-in, he wants to use the book that represents his faith, which is Islam’s Quran rather than Christianity’s Bible. Seems like common sense, especially in a country whose founding tenets include religious freedom. Yet Ellison’s election as the first Muslim member of Congress has some Americans out of sorts, a mood worsened by the Quran flap.
“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,” wrote Dennis Prager, a conservative radio talker whose membership on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum board is now being criticized.
But as columnist Susan Paynter noted: “Never mind that no member is actually sworn in with a hand on the Bible or any other book anyway. Or that, if they want to, the dearly elected can carry anything they want to the ceremony including a vintage copy of Mad Magazine. Or that a senator from Oregon carried the Book of Mormon to his swearing-in. And at least two presidents didn’t swear oaths at all but merely ‘affirmed.’”
Posted by Rhonda Holman
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