The Dennis Prager/Keith Ellison War

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Daily news and commentary by: Whymrhymer at the Blogger News Network and at The American Chronicle Family of Journals

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.”

Links:

The Jewish Journal: Dennis Prager won’t apologize for attack on Quran’s use in Congressional swearing-in ceremony

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

If you blog about news and want many more people to read what you have to say, The Blogger News Network has an offer you may not want to refuse. Go check it out!

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5 thoughts on “The Dennis Prager/Keith Ellison War

  1. Beyond9

    I would have to question Whymrhymer’s self-proclaimed statement of having “fresh perspectives on today’s news” as being somewhat incredulous. Based on your comments, I would have to conclude that your perspective is very shallow to the point of being predictable—not to mention myopic in scope.

    You have stated, “The majority of Americans are Christian and hold their Bible to the high standard of being the only ‘true’ word.” Basically, Mr. Whymrhymer, your views have put yourself in the minority. As the minority, do you believe that you are the arbiter of right and wrong, since you believe the majority has no such right? The decision to use the Bible during the swearing-in ceremony has less to do with the question of “right or wrong,” but based on, “the body that moves into the direction determined by the majority of the forces.”—Locke. It is by this force of the majority that creates the traditions and ceremonies that are important to our American culture and way of life.

    We are a secular government based on Judeo-Christian ideals. The Constitution would not exist, at least in its current verbiage, if it weren’t for the existence of the Bible. It is the Bible that has introduced the principle of respect for individual rights. The Quran flies in the face of individual rights because of it intolerance to religious freedom. If one does not convert to Islam, than one is labeled an infidel condemned to servitude or death. Also, I don’t believe “NOW” is a big fan of the Quran when it comes to women’s rights. Are these the principles that Mr. Whymrhymer believes Ellison is pledging his allegiance to by taking his oath on the Quran.

    We are not asking Mr. Ellison to convert to Christianity, but what we are asking is for him to be respectful of the ideals that represent American culture which are steeped in the teachings of the Bible. This is America not Saudi Arabia; it is by these ideals that differentiate us by another other nation on planet earth. It is in this Judea-Christian culture in which Mr. Ellison has chosen to live and abide by.

    The bottom-line to this argument comes down to those who accept the Bible and those who reject the Bible. Those who reject the Bible are disingenuous in not recognizing the significance the Bible has had on our American culture, and more importantly the way in which we rule our government.

    My last comment to Mr. Whymrhymer is, “Do you believe Mr. Prager as an American citizen is afforded the First Amendment right of free speech?” The tone of your blog doesn’t seem to support Mr. Prager’s right to free speech. And so, let us use this forum to address the issues, and not for personal attacks and name calling.

  2. Your opinion of my perspective is of little interest to me so let’s do away with that. My opinions are my own and they can be read or ignored, accepted or dismissed by anyone without hurting my feelings. I must say, however, that your attempts to belittle me say much more about you than they do about me.

    I have NOT attempted to deny Mr. Prager’s right to free speech or to his opinion (nor do I have the power to do so) I have simply stated my opinion of his opinion and I have opened up the comments so that others can state their opinions of my opinion. You have done that and more.

    Yes I am admittedly and proudly in the minority in many areas, I have no “flock” to follow and have found none worthy of following (and yes I’m using the sheep metaphor intentionally). No, that does not make me the “arbiter of right and wrong” any more than being in the Christian majority makes you the arbiter of right and wrong; you may believe that it does but in that I differ with you. I believe that I am right and you and Prager are wrong on this issue just as you believe the inverse.

    Further, you accuse me of making personal attacks and of name calling. I challenge you to cite one paragraph or one sentence where I made a personal attack on Dennis Prager or called him a name. I attack his idea that the Bible is held by “America” as its “holiest book” — that in my opinion is pure nonsense. Christians may hold the bible in such esteem but not “all of America” as he implies. I did, in a sense at least, call him self-righteous but that is not necessarily an insult, it’s just the way he chooses to present himself.

    You imply that I deny the value of what you call Judeo-Christian principles and you are wrong there too; I never stated that in this post; but I have stated the following in past writings:

    “The moral values at the core of Christianity are indeed a powerful part of our culture and Christianity is indeed the majority religion in America but it is important to note that the moral values at the basis of Christianity are not, as Christians would have you believe, exclusively Christian values; the majority of the worlds major religions share nearly identical moral values.” I’m not as much of an expert on Islam as you are so I defer to your condemnation of Keith Ellison’s religion — i do believe, however, that you are judging an entire religion by the actions of the most radical, uncivilized members of that religion.

    Back to the Keith Ellison situation: The fallacy of your argument (and Prager’s) in this situation is well represented in this one telling sentence from your comment to this post:

    “It is in this Judea-Christian culture in which Mr. Ellison has chosen to live and abide by.”

    NO! NO1 NO! In your ecstasy over being the majority religion you assume far too much. Mr Ellison, as an American, has chosen to live and abide by the laws of this country and in his oath he will swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic.” The Christian Bible is not an “element” in this oath it is an “ornament” there simply by tradition; nor will the Qur’an be an element in Mr. Ellison’s oath. Neither the Bible or the Qur’an or any other religious text is even appropriate in this ceremony — if the creators of this ritual had gotton it right, every Federal office holder would have taken the oath with his or her right hand on a copy of the Constitution, not on a religious text.

    You are always welcome to return here to this “secular” corner of the blogosphere even if you choose not to address the issues or dispense with the personal attacks. As Dennis Prager loves to say (and I do listen to him almost daily) “clarity is much more important than agreement.”

  3. I particularly enjoy the hypocrisy of Beyond9’s comments. At the end of his statement he writes, “And so, let us use this forum to address the issues, and not for personal attacks and name calling.”. At the beginning of the statement he writes, “Based on your comments, I would have to conclude that your perspective is very shallow to the point of being predictable—not to mention myopic in scope.” Perhaps Cloud9 doesn’t view that as a “personal attack”, but it was certainly more personal than anything whymrhymer had written about Dennis Prager.

    I also noticed Cloud9’s use of the word “we” in the following sentence: “We are not asking Mr. Ellison to convert to Christianity, but what we are asking is for him to be respectful of the ideals that represent American culture which are steeped in the teachings of the Bible.” Beyond9, are you the mouthpiece for the entire Christian faith? You certainly don’t speak for me! Or perhaps you were speaking of yourself and Dennis Prager, and the informal use of the word “we” implies that you know him personally and therefore must defend him. Or perhaps you were speaking of yourself and other Christians who oppose Ellison’s use of the Quran, in which case you are no longer in the majority. So please read your quote on Locke again and keep in mind that it applies to you as well.

    As to freedom of religion, which was also mentioned. Isn’t it ironic that Beyond9 has mentioned the intolerance of the Quran in regards to religious freedom, yet has no tolerance of his own for Ellison’s religious freedom?

    whymrhymer, your post is excellent. However, I do have one item to contest. As a Constitutional Conservative, I must object to your interpretation of the 1st Amendment regarding religion. I read it just as it states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” I contend this statement means that Congress shall establish no state religion, as was the case in England and why many of the first colonists originally crossed the ocean. I also conclude from this statement that it is a freedom of religion…not necessarily a freedom from religion. As such, I contend that a holy book of the inductees choosing should be used, as is the tradition passed down from those same men who wrote the Bill of Rights.

  4. Prager’s argument is primarily a moral one, not a religious one. He is not demanding that Ellison renounce Islam. He is asking–and he is asking, not demanding–that Ellison recognize the moral fabric of the country is fundamentally Judeo-Christian. What is moral on the Islamic view is not acceptable in America.

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