Saturday, December 09, 2006

Much ado about nothing.

"but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

--Constitution of the United States, Article VI.

Keith Ellison, Democrat, MN announced earlier that he intends to take his oath of office on a Koran.

Since Mr. Ellison is a Muslim, one would tend to think that this would have been expected.

I should have known better.

*sigh*

As long as the candidate swears to uphold the Constitution, it really shouldn't matter what book he swears upon, or which deity he swears by. Not only that, but I'm of the belief that things betwixt a man and his deity are not anyone else's business.

I hear many people -- most of whom should know better -- claiming that since the United States was founded as a Judeo-Christian nation, candidates are supposed to swear their oath of office upon a Bible.

The state of education in this country brings me to tears. It really does.

I present to you the Constitution of the United States. It is the first word, it is the last word, and it is the only word on the powers, duties and requirements of the Federal Government of the United States. Period.

Show me where the Constitution requires the use of the Christian Bible during the taking of the oath of office.

There are plenty of things to be outraged about. This isn't one of them.

LawDog

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since Mr. Ellison is a Muslim, one would tend to think that this would have been expected.

...

I'm of the belief that things betwixt a man and his deity are not anyone else's business.

...

There are plenty of things to be outraged about. This isn't one of them.


Precisely! I don't care if someone takes an oath on the phone book, the owner's manual to their car, or Green Eggs and Ham. The book isn't going to come back and enforce his oath -- it's just a ceremonial process.

If Mr. Ellison wishes to take an oath upon a Koran, I welcome him to do so.

Brief Googling for "Keith+Ellison+Koran" shows much of the commentary, for those who are interested in reading it.

Rick O'Shea said...

As I understand it (and a quick jog around the internet should verify), many of our Founding Fathers were not strictly Christians, but rather Deists.

Deists, among other things, refute any form of written decree as the mechanism for human enlightenment.
They instead believe that a Reasonable Person, in viewing the world of Nature around them, must reasonably conclude that a Deity exists. (Remember the philisophical background of this portion of the 18th century, and that people like Thomas Paine, a key voice in the Age of Reason, were among the architects of this Great Experiment).

Hence the references in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence to "our Creator", and to "Nature and Nature's God".

The Ten Commandments? - Nope. The Bible?? - Mmm, No. Jesus?! - Not too sure about Him, either.

The reason for this long-winded exposition? This is a pet peeve of mine; as a southerner, I am all too often subjected to news stories about the likes of Judge Moore who insist that it is Constitutionally appropriate to have the Ten Commandments and other Christian symbols in the courthouse.

There was even specific mention of the phrase "Nature and Nature's God" that was carved into the Ten Commandments monument (that was being hauled out of the courthouse under massive protest).

I felt very alone in appreciating the irony of that.

Ulises from California said...

Mr. Ellison follows Islam. He will have to explain himself to Allah when he comes before his God. If taking the oath on his holy Koran helps remind him of his duty to uphold the Constitution, then I'll be glad to hold it for him when he takes his oath.

Having read the book (Koran) in three different translations, I find the Christian Bible to be far more coherent & a better message. But, whatever floats his boat.Under the Constitution, I don't care if he worships Allah, Thor,the Bhudda, or Whomever, as long as:1.,He doesn't seek,by word or deed,to impose an establishment of religion upon the Nation; & 2., He keeps his aformentioned oath as best he can.

Under the Constitution,can (ought) anyone ask for more than that?

Outside of the Constitution & constitutional offices, I'd like to proclaim to him the Gospel of the Christ, Jesus, in the hopes that he would accept it & be baptized. With good works to back up his newfound faith, he would enter heaven as a son of God in the Christ, Jesus.

Perhaps we should all pray for the Nation & all our representatives.

I suppose that we can thank Mr. Washington himself for the use of the family Bible for the oath-taking.

WR Olsen said...

It's all a tempest in a teapot since members of congress don't take the oath individually...they are sworn in en masse at the first session of the new congress. No Bible, no Koran, just their oath to uphold and defend thwe Constitution.

Phoenix Ravenflame said...

I'm not sure how much bearing the rest of Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli still has on things today, but the beginning clearly says, "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion". I think the problem isn't that people don't pay attention to history... it's that most don't do further study and just accept whatever they were first taught. It's easy to think we're supposed to be a "Christian nation" when all you hear about in school are the Puritans and how people wanted to escape the Church of England's religious persecution. That's all the schools taught me, anyway.

Just as it annoys me to hear people chant about our "Christian nation", I don't see why it needs to be announced that Mr. Ellison is going to swear on a Koran. As you said, he's Muslim... it's expected. I really don't care if you swears on the Target circular from the Sunday paper, as long as he does his job.

Kristopher said...

Actually ... Tom Paine was an out and out atheist. Which was actually illegal under crown law.

Calling yourself a "deist" was a way around the English legal proscription against atheism.

The quote on the Jefferson Memorial was the closest thing the memorial's builders could find to an 'endorsement" of religion ... but if you look at the page it was taken out of context from, it was a rather extreme rant against organized religion of any form by Jefferson.

Heh.

Dex said...

Phoenix Ravenflame said...
[snip]
... It's easy to think we're supposed to be a "Christian nation" when all you hear about in school are the Puritans and how people wanted to escape the Church of England's religious persecution. That's all the schools taught me, anyway.

That's a result of history texts having gone Yankee-centric after the War between the States. The Pilgrims and Puritans (two different bunches) were a bunch of johnny-come-latelies who landed in Northern Virginia, aka Plymouth in 1620. That was 13 years after the Virginia Company started up in Jamestown, May 1607. The first English colony to survive was Anglican, and from 1610-1615 was under the Lawes Divine, Morall, and Martiall. Religious freedom be damned, they were there to (a) make a pile of loot, and (b) go back to spend it in riotous living, in the stews of London. Of course, the fact that most of 'em died right quick-like, put a crimp in those plans.

Anonymous said...

amen...

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if Mr Ellison is going to vote the will of his constituency or his ideas on what allah and the koran call for.

Anonymous said...

Y'know, if someone is in public office, I want them to swear upon all that they hold holy that they will preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.

I don't want them to swear by what I hold holy. I want them to swear by what they hold holy.

How else could their promise bind them?

-- aside to hammer: that's an old and recurrent concern, echoed by various anti-religious folks every time someone of any specific religion has been elected to any office more prominant than dogcatcher.

Billll said...

Pursuant to the Koran, a Muslims first duty is to promote Islam by whatever means are expedient. The Koran specifically permits a Muslim to lie to a Kufir (that would be us) if doing so will further the cause of Islam.
Mr Ellison has immediately jumped to the defense of the 'Flying Imams', who, by rights should be conversing with investigators in Gitmo at this moment. Not to mention his other less-than-savory associations, documented at http://powerlineblog.com/ .
All this aside, he certainly wouldn't be the first congressanimal to be elected with an agenda at odds to the well-being of the country, just the most blatent about it.

bjbarron said...

Pursuant to the Koran, a Muslims first duty is to promote Islam by whatever means are expedient. The Koran specifically permits a Muslim to lie to a Kufir (that would be us) if doing so will further the cause of Islam.

I'm with Billl. Mr. Ellison's background gives me little confidence that honoring the constitution is high on his personal agenda. Time will tell.

BryanP said...

Ah. He'll take his marching orders from Imams. Of course.

And catholics elected to high office will only do what the Pope tells them to do.

And hey, all those asians will take orders from Japan. We'd better round them up and confiscate all their property for the duration of the war. Round up the Germans and the Italians? Are you nuts? Why would we do that?

Riiiiiiight.

Kristopher said...

Yes, we should not lock up or otherwise screw with folks because of their beliefs ...

However;

Islam has earned our suspicion ... and become a description of the perp, as opposed to a profile. Mr. Ellison should be made aware that we are keeping an eye on him ... just as we would a Nazi Identity Church member, or a member of a church group that publishes hit lists of abortion clinic doctors.

BryanP said...

Kristopher,

Yes, but telling an individual Muslim who has no personal record of violent activities that you are "watching him" simply because other Muslims have acted violently would be like telling a individual random Christian you are "watching him" because of the actions of other Christians.

Kristopher said...

Peaceful "non-radical" Islamics are simply ones not zealous enough to shoot us personally. If you ask one about the WTC attack, you will get either Ward Churchillian excuses, or WTC conspiracy theory crap.

Non-violent Moslem action includes deliberately scaring the snot out of airline passengers, and then trying to play victim when they get their sorry asses kicked off the plane.


There are only a few Muslim sects that actively condemn violence. All of the other ones, including the two biggest, command their followers to spread their faith by any means necessary, including violence, stopping only when it is tactically advisable to do so. They always have a different song and dance for public consumption by us infidels ... look up "hudna" sometime.

Islam is still in the middle ages ... they still execute heretics, and still think spreading faith by the sword is a good idea.

Yes ... they need to be watched ... until they get their minds at least into the 18th century ( the last Christian witch burning was by Calvinists in Scotland in 1790 ).

Matt G said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Matt G said...

Kristopher, in case you haven't noticed, LawDog and I and most other non-Muslims don't "actively condemn violence." Sometimes, violence has its place.

And just out of curiosity, can you tell me the difference betwen Shi'ia and Sunni? Which is Hezbollah affiliated with?

Do you actually know what you're talking about?

7:02 PM

Kristopher said...

Sorry ... I should have been more specific ... I'll get libertarian on you ... I do not condemn violence generally ... I condemn the initiation of violence.

And yes, I do know the difference between the sunni and shi'a sects, and how they came about.

As for Hamas ... they are nominally sunni ... but are working hand in hand with Hezbolla, the Iranian backed tango group ... and are being more and more influenced towards shia every day.

And I might actually know what I am talking about.

I would suggest reading some of Robert Spencer's stuff concerning Islam before you proceed with arguing with me about Islam ... unless you don't mind looking fatuous.

Strings said...

Kristopher: funny that what you've claimed doesn't jibe with what I got out of reading the Koran, nor out of conversations with my sis-in-law (Muslim, from Indonesia. You know: the world's largest Muslim population)...

MarkHB said...

How about the easy out? In the interests of separation of church and state, remove all religion books, artefacts, symbols and connotations from the mechanism of government.

That one works for me. Government should be about policy, conscience and doing the most good with as little damage - one's religious agenda has plenty of time to play outside working hours.

Grunt said...

Well I disagree. If he can't use the bible he shouldn't do the photo op.

LawDog said...

I would suggest reading some of Robert Spencer's stuff concerning Islam before you proceed with arguing with me about Islam ... unless you don't mind looking fatuous.

Be sure that you take a dramamine before reading Spencer -- the spin can be awe-inspiring.

I'd read some books by Carl Ernst for balance, if I were you.

http://www.unc.edu/~cernst/

Civis Proeliator said...

Sounded like a dhimmicrat publicity stunt to me so I just ignored it.

Matt G said...

Argh. I wish I had more time, but I have to write an essay to prep for my final in my graduate class on Terrorism.

Hamas is NOT a religious group-- it is a politically-oriented terrorist group. Witness the 5% or so who are Christians.

One of the most active Palestinian terrorist groups, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was founded by Christians (like George Habash).

It's not black and white. Gotta run.

Kristopher said...

I'd read some books by Carl Ernst for balance, if I were you.

http://www.unc.edu/~cernst/


Yes ... the Sufis are one of the two non-violent Islamic sects ... and most of the rest of islam considers them to be heretics, as they are not on board with the conversion by the sword ethic.

Kristopher said...

Hamas tolerates christians ... as long as they are proper dhimmis.

Prosylitize and Hamas turns werewolf immediately.

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