Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Prager is way off base


DESIREE COOPER: Critic of Quran use hasn't done homework
December 19, 2006


It figures that in this season of goodwill toward men, all hell would break loose before one newly elected congressman could say, "I do solemnly swear."

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is a Detroit expatriate whose platform of tolerance can still be found on http://www.keithellison.org/: "We are working for an America where everybody counts, where everybody matters, and where peace is our guiding principle," he pledged.

But that lovey-doveyness met with outrage as soon as Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, announced that he'll take his oath of office upon a Quran, not a Bible. The squawking is coming from one conservative commentator in particular, columnist and talk show host Dennis Prager, who argued that Ellison's use of the Quran "undermines American civilization."
Doesn't he know that the free exercise of religion is a pillar of our civilization, not a threat to it?
Bible not required Prager argued further that if Ellison is incapable of taking an oath on the Bible, he shouldn't serve in Congress. I wonder if he knows that members of Congress are sworn in en masse, with no religious tomes present anyway. (The pictures of them taking oaths with their hands on Bibles are shot later, as mementos.)

Perhaps worrying that flames will soon be licking at the edges of our way of life, Prager charged that Ellison's intention is an "act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism -- my culture trumps America's culture."

But bigger Americans than he -- or Ellison for that matter -- have flouted the Bible tradition. Like John Quincy Adams, who was so devout, he refused to thrust the Bible into the political crosshairs. Instead, he took his oath of office upon a book of laws and the Constitution.
What would Prager say to President Franklin Pierce, whose son was killed in a train accident soon after he was elected? Pierce felt the death was God's judgment against him and considered himself unworthy to swear upon the Bible.(MORE)

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