'[A]n act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism'... (updated)
I'm with Dennis Prager, who crazily suggests that America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on:
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.Prager is on the money again. Read more from him here.
He should not be allowed to do so - not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.
First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism - my culture trumps America's culture. 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. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.
Devotees of multiculturalism and political correctness who do not see how damaging to the fabric of American civilization it is to allow Ellison to choose his own book need only imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler's "Mein Kampf," the Nazis' bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison's right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?
Update: A commentor made a good point about Lindle that is further illuminated by Eugene Volokh in his recent effort called Oh Say, Can You Swear on a Koran?:
... This argument [Pragers] both mistakes the purpose of the oath, and misunderstands the Constitution. In fact, it calls for the violation of some of the Constitution’s multiculturalist provisions.Update #2: Video from HotAir.
To begin with, the oath is a religious ritual, both in its origins and its use by the devout today. The oath invokes God as a witness to one’s promise, as a means of making the promise more weighty on the oathtaker’s conscience. ...
Update #3: From FoxNews...
Bonus: "Prager talks to a young college student who re-considered her heterosexuality after being influenced by various media and cultural pressures". Homosexualization and political correctness are ruining our country. By the time we pick our collective heads out of the feed trough and realize that this isn't what we want for ourselves, it may be too late.
Update #4: Prager follows up with "A response to my many critics - and a solution":
(FYI...he's expected on Hannity & Colmes tonight to discuss)
To understate the case, my last column, "America, Not Keith Ellison, Decides What Book a Congressman Takes His Oath on," seems to have touched a national nerve.Read it all.
It has caused a national discussion - actually, more hate-filled attacks on me than civil discussion - and has been covered by just about all major American news media. To their credit, CNN and Fox News both gave me ample time (in television terms anyway) to express my views on two of each network's major shows: "Paula Zahn Now" and Headline News on CNN, and "Hannity & Colmes" and "Your World with Neil Cavuto" on Fox News. And many American newspapers have covered it.
In addition, there was widespread coverage on left-wing blogs, which, with no exception I could find, distorted what I said, charging my column and me with, for example, racism (see below), when race plays no role at all in this issue or in my column. For the record, because I deem this a significant statement about most of the Left, I found virtually no left-wing blog that was not filled with obscenity-laced descriptions of me. Aside from the immaturity and loathing of higher civilization that such public use of curse words reveal, the fury and hate render the leftist charge that it is the Right that is hate-filled one of the most obvious expressions of psychological projection I have seen in my lifetime.
Clearly, many Americans, including some conservatives and libertarians, have no problem with the idea that for the first time in American history, a person elected to Congress has rejected the Bible for another religious text when taking his oath of office (whether ceremonial or actual - more on this below). This includes some thoughtful colleagues in conservative talk radio (intellectual life on conservative radio is far more diverse than intellectual life at most American universities). ...
[conclusion]... I am for no law to be passed to prevent Keith Ellison or anyone else from bringing any book he wants to his swearing-in, whether actual or ceremonial. But neither I nor tens of millions of other Americans will watch in silence as the Bible is replaced with another religious text for the first time since George Washington brought a Bible to his swearing-in. It is not I, but Keith Ellison, who has engaged in disuniting the country. He can still help reunite it by simply bringing both books to his ceremonial swearing-in. Had he originally announced that he would do that, I would have written a different column - filled with praise of him. And there would be a lot less cursing and anger in America.
And how about this from one of the commentors:
Let's say this same type of swearing-in ceremony were occurring elsewhere and not in the U.S.Well-said. Thoughts?
Regardless of what the actual swearing-in ceremonies are like (I have no idea), let's say these ceremonies occur using a Quran in a Muslim country such as Kuwait, or with an Orthodox Bible in a country like Russia, or with a Tanakh in Israel (take your pick). Again, these are not religious ceremonies, these are civil, swearing-in ceremonies wherein the otherwise "sacred text" has long and traditionally been used during swearing-in ceremonies, where the text is used representationally, not to denote theological content, but to reflect deeply rooted moral/ethical and cultural content which had long been formative for the nation/state in question.
Now imagine a white, anglo-saxon Protestant or Catholic has, for whatever reason, gained acclaim and renown in the country in question (Russia, Israel or Kuwait) and that this person in fact has, either via election or via appointment by the ruling elite, gained a high office in this country. Let's also say this news is being reported on back in the U.S. And again, this is a WASP (or WASC) we're using as an example.
Now let's imagine this WASP (who is also a male), knowing the swearing-in ceremony is imminent (and who is also aware the text is not being used for its religious significance but rather for what it represents morally/ethically and culturally), announces that he refuses to use the Orthodox Bible or the Tanakh or the Quran and instead insists on using the King James Version, the very version G-d gave to Moses (or was it King Arthur?) on Sinai.
Imagine what the news reports would be headlining back in the U.S. A WASP, a male WASP, was being so impudent, ungracious and presumptuous as to insist upon using the KJV instead of the Quran or the Orthodox Bible or the Tanakh (depending)! "Ungracious" would be among the kinder terms used; he'd be described as being boorishly insensitive, an ingrate, insensitive boor, etc., desrespectful of another peoples' culture and traditions. Harrumph!
Initially I only very tentatively agreed with Dennis, but Dennis Prager has it right. What Prager most poignantly has right is that this reflects the insinuating and corrosive Multiculturalism, writ large, which allows this particular tradition to be stepped on even though no religious or theological meaning per se inheres to this swearing-in ceremony, that instead the meaning is cultural and moral/ethical, much as it would be in an analogous situation in Israel, in Russia, in Kuwait, etc.
The office in question is not a religious office, it's a civil office, reflecting an organ of government, the state, not a church or theological office. Likewise the swearing-in ceremony has no religious significance per se, rather the "favorite book" used carries moral/ethical and cultural content and representational value. Only in the U.S. and other parts of the West has the Left taught us, in Pavlovian style, to so denigrate or be embarrassed by our very own culture and traditions that it takes someone with sufficient moral and social courage such as Dennis to point out the blindingly obvious: the degree to which the Left has us cowed to the point where we're self-blinded.