[FoRK] Re: Swearing in

Corinna < corinna.schultz at gmail.com > on > Thu Dec 7 08:36:10 PST 2006

Tom Higgins wrote:
> http://thinkprogress.org/2006/12/05/prager-holocaust/
> "Right-wing talk show host Dennis Prager has raised a firestorm
> charging that Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim
> elected to Congress, must swear in using a Bible. He said that if
> Ellison swears in with a Quran, it would "undermin[e] American
> civilization" and be akin to swearing in with a copy of Hitler's "Mein
> Kampf."

So we want people to swear based on things they don't believe, in a 
situation that has nothing to do with their official ceremony... Do 
these people not understand the idea of honesty or integrity?? If 
Ellison is trying to send a message to the American people, let him say 
what that message is, don't put words in his mouth. Maybe he's trying to 
say that America is not just for Christians?


4) But what is more important, Congress does not swear on the Bible at 
all. Some Congressmen only pose with the Bible for a photo op after the 
official ceremony and the whole swearing-in ceremony is done in group.

Response: First, it was Keith Ellison who raised the entire issue of 
taking an oath on a Koran rather than a Bible. He did not make his 
announcement in the hopes that it would be ignored but to make a 
statement. I was responding to that statement. Critics who are unhappy 
with it becoming an issue should direct their ire at Mr. Ellison.

Second, the very fact that it is a ceremony makes my point far more 
forcefully. Obviously, Mr. Ellison will have already been officially 
sworn in. Therefore, the use of the Koran has absolutely nothing to do 
with taking an oath on the book he holds sacred. It is used entirely to 
send a message to the American people. So all the arguments that he must 
be able to swear on the book he holds sacred are moot. He will have 
already been sworn in.

Ceremonies matter a lot. As I told the Associated Press, ceremonies are 
essential to the continuity of a civilization. Therefore, the first time 
in American history that a congressman has decided to jettison the Bible 
for another text should not go unnoticed -- or elicit yawns, as it has 
from conservative and libertarian critics.

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