[FoRK] Re: Swearing in
corinna.schultz at gmail.com
> on >
Thu Dec 7 08:36:10 PST 2006
Tom Higgins wrote:
> "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
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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