Monday, December 04, 2006

Oath Of Office

I read this article rather late. It was posted early last week but I didn't get to it until this weekend.

"America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on" by Dennis Prager of

It make some good points which I tend to agree with. Briefly, "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."

Why should we care what book he takes his oath by? Some would point put forth the argument that "Because we have a free society, that entitles one to be free to do as one pleases." Including things like, burning the flag, placing Mary's image in a vat of urine (freedom of art). Even free to place classified documents for everyone to see in the newspaper (NY Times - 1st amendment freedom).

Some would use the "Intolerant" ("Don’t' you feel guilty?") argument. Nobody wants to be labeled intolerant. One might as well wear a cow bell around ones neck.

"Clang, Clang, intolerant person approaching! Clang, Clang, bigot, keep away"

About a week ago our parish had a guest speaker. An Inman from one of the local Mosques was invited to do a short presentation on Islam. Followed by a Q/A session.

Okay, I thought this a pretty good idea. After about an hour of the Inman explaining some of the structure of the Islam faith, it's prayer structure, it's values of peace and tolerance of those outside the faith, we proceeded on to the Q/A.

It was only inevitable that the questions would fall in line with what today's headlines read. The first question was asked, "If Islam is a peaceful religion, why do we see such violence in the name of Islam today?"

The Inman (who by the way was accompanied by a very large bodyguard) was quick to answer that "True Islam is a peaceful religion" question.

"Does Islam teach that Jesus is God or just a good prophet?" This was an elderly lady who posed the question.

The third question was asked by an elderly gentleman whose question was rather lengthy and not very concise, but it centered on "Why didn't more moderate Muslims voice there contempt for the violence of those Muslims who are mistakenly misinterpreting the Koran?"

Well, that was it. One of our priests in attendance quickly put an end to that line of questioning. It wasn't being tolerant. I guess the questions were not polite enough. That poor elderly man with the last question made a bee-line for the side door, having been reprimanded by the priest.

Cow bell time.

Anyway, now we are going to witness the first swearing in of a U.S. Congressman using a Koran instead of the Bible.

"When all elected officials take their oaths of office with their hands on the very same book, they all affirm that some unifying value system underlies American civilization. If Keith Ellison is allowed to change that, he will be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11. It is hard to believe that this is the legacy most Muslim Americans want to bequeath to America. But if it is, it is not only Europe that is in trouble."

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