Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dennis Prager & Muslims

Andrew Sullivan pointed to an amazing article by Dennis Prager on how dangerous to America it will be if Keith Ellison (newly elected Democratic Congressman from Minnesota, who is the first Muslim elected to Congress). Apparently Ellison has said that he will take his oath of office on the Qur'an, not on the Bible, which seems reasonable, since he is not a Christian or a Jew. Prager says: "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." Prager then says, "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." Amazing! A man swearing the oath of office on a Qur'an is worse than the Al-Qaida terrorists who killed 3,000 people on September 11!

I had been under the impression that the Constitution forbids religious tests for office, which is what Prager is suggesting. Article VI of the Constitution reads: "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." Notice that it says nothing about whether the person has to take the oath of office while holding or resting his hand on a book.

UPDATE: The Anti-Defamation League has issued a forthright denunciation of Prager - good for them.