View Full Version : U.S. lawmaker to take oath on Koran

12-03-2006, 09:09 AM

WASHINGTON <font color="blue">As he prepares to become the first Muslim in Congress, Rep.-elect Keith Ellison says the Constitution gives him the right to take the oath of office on the Koran, and that's what he intends to do Jan. 4.

The Minnesota Democrat's decision is stirring a debate among academicians and conservatives, with some saying it's appropriate to take an oath of office only on the Bible.

"Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath," radio talk-show host and author Dennis Prager wrote in a column this week. He said U.S. Jews routinely had taken their oaths on the Bible, even though they didn't believe in the New Testament, and that if Ellison refused to do so, "don't serve in Congress."

Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at UCLA, said the Constitution authorized people not to swear oaths at all, protecting atheists and agnostics.

"Why would Muslims and others not be equally protected?" he wrote in National Review Online.

Ellison was attending meetings in Washington on Thursday and could not be reached for comment, according to Dave Colling, his spokesman.

But Ellison defended his plan to use the Koran, Islam's holy book, in an interview with Abdi Aynte, a reporter from Minneapolis who writes for the Minnesota Monitor.

"The Constitution guarantees for everyone to take the oath of office on whichever book they prefer," Ellison was quoted as saying.

"And that's what the freedom of religion is all about."Colling confirmed the quote.

Ellison's decision drew support from one prominent conservative firebrand, Colorado Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, who champions a fence along the border with Mexico and thinks that unfettered immigration endangers U.S. culture.

"He wants to take his oath on the Koran, that's fine," Tancredo said. "I think whatever you believe is necessary for you to uphold your obligations to the Constitution, that is fine with me."

In his weekly column, Prager said Ellison's decision is "an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism."

"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," Prager wrote. "If Keith Ellison is allowed to change that, he will be doing more damage to the unity of Americans and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11."

In the National Review, Volokh noted that two former presidents Franklin Pierce and Herbert Hoover didn't swear their oaths but chose to affirm them.

He said the Supreme Court long had held that Americans had the right to be treated equally, regardless of their religion, and that forcing Ellison to use the Bible would violate his rights. </font color>

Personally, I'd feel a whole lot better if they all took the oath with their hand on the U.S. Constitution. Hopefully, they would then feel a greater compulsion to uphold it.

12-03-2006, 11:32 AM
Since when did taking the oath include a bible?

The Constitution specifies in Article VI, clause 3:

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."


Gayle in MD
12-07-2006, 08:43 AM
Hey Moblsv...Hi there! Where've you been lately friend. What are you reading these days? Have you read Fiasco yet?

Gayle in Md.

12-07-2006, 09:10 AM
Hi Gayle, hope things are going well for you

I have not read Fiasco yet but it is on my book shelf waiting in line. Right now I am reading Backing Hitler, it's an interesting analysis of what the German population knew, and when.


I've been reading a lot of History lately. I guess I'm trying to figure out how these bad leaders (Hitler, Bush, et al.) keep coming to power, and what mechanisms are used to lead so much of the population to support them.

Gayle in MD
12-07-2006, 09:18 AM
Well, if that is your fancy, I hope you've read John Dean's book, Without Conscience ...it's been so long since you're last posts, I can't remember if you said you had read it or not, but it certainly gives an in-depth analysis of the lure, (to certain kinds of people) of authoritarian type figures, like Bush, and Hitler, and those who are drawn to such types. It is actually spellbinding. Have you read it?


12-07-2006, 09:23 AM
thanks, yes, I have read that one.