Columnist and radio talk-show host Dennis Prager is openly critical of Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) because Ellison, a Muslim, plans to bring a Quran to his House swearing-in ceremony in January. Prager’s contention, expressed here in an interview with the Jewish Journal, is that Ellison’s use of a Quran would “break a 200-year tradition.”
The Journal article also quotes Prager as making the incredibly bold and unbelievably presumptuous statement: “If you are incapable of taking an oath on [the Bible], don’t serve in Congress.”
Since Prager, a regular contributor to the conservative forum, Townhall.com, published his article at TownHall titled America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on, on November 28th, he has been under attack by both the Left and the Right; in my opinion, a fully justified attack.
Following is a snippet from Prager’s 11/28 TownHall column:
“What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book. 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.”
That is Dennis Prager at his self-righteous best!
From that quote one would assume that Dennis Prager was a Christian Conservative, he’s not! Prager is certainly a no-holds-barred Conservative but he is a Jewish Conservative with a very high regard for America and all it stands for — or at least what he feels it stands for. His dedication to what he feels is right is admirable in some respects but, at least in this case, far off the mark.
“America” does not hold any religious text as its holiest book; the U.S. Government does not have a religion — it is a government “of the people” and is, Constitutionally, a secular government.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, …” — from Amendment 1 to the U.S. Constitution
Yes there are traditions but who is Dennis Prager to say that there is no room for change. And, yes, the majority of Americans are Christian and hold their Bible to the high standard of being the only “true” word but being the majority does not make them the ultimate arbiters of right and wrong nor does it automatically turn our secular government into a Christian government.
The main point, however, beyond Dennis Prager’s hysteria, is that Keith Ellison is not a Christian and his oath of office with his hand on a Christian bible would be meaningless — steeped in 200 years of tradition perhaps, but totally meaningless. Ellison should take his oath on a Quran because doing that will mean something to him personally and it will signify that he means what he says when he swears to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic.”
Washington Post: Group Asks Removal of Koran Swearing-In Critic
Prager’s Response at World Net Daily: A response to my critics — and a solution
From the blogosphere:
Progressive Muslima News: Prager: Keith Ellison Must Use Bible for Oath of Office
Piece of Mind: On Ellison and the Qu’ran
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