Keith Ellison Wants to Take Oath on Koran, Not Bible
Dennis Prager is hopping mad that Keith Ellison wants to take his oath of office on the Koran rather than the Christian Bible.
Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran. He should not be allowed to do so — not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.
Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison’s favorite book is. 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. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.
I would point Mr. Prager to Article VI of the Constitution of the United States, specifically the third paragraph:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
Nothing in the Constitution requires the taking of the Oath on a Bible, or any other book. Indeed, doing so would obviously constitute a “religious test.”
There’s also the little matter of the 1st Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion . . . .
Furthermore, it’s not as if Ellison hid his Muslim faith from his constituents. Even though I paid almost no attention to his race, I was aware from Virginia’s DC suburbs that he was a Muslim. Requiring him to take the oath on a Bible, a book which means nothing to him, would be not only unconstitutional but absurd.
UPDATE: Jeff Harrell questions Prager’s intellect and muses about other alternative texts upon which one might offer affirmations of loyalty.