comsc US Politics | AMERICAblog News: And we wonder why they hate us
Join Email List | About us | AMERICAblog Gay
Elections | Economic Crisis | Jobs | TSA | Limbaugh | Fun Stuff

And we wonder why they hate us

| Reddit | Tumblr | Digg | FARK

According to the extremists running the Republican party, the greatest threat to America today is posed by the newest member of Congress from Minnesota, Keith Ellison. Ellison is a pious American who believes in God and regularly prays. He also is Muslim.

Keith Ellison must be destroyed.

The religious right Republicans are apoplectic and the Republican hate-radio shock jocks are beside themselves. But because, even for them, attacking Ellison for simply being a Muslim-American would be a tad too hateful for post-Salem America, Republicans are attacking this American person of faith for something far more sinister.

You see, Ellison prays with a Koran.

Stone him.

And what's worse, he wants a Koran with him when he's sworn in to Congress next month.

Now, first off, to correct a small fact that everyone on the right has gotten wrong to date, no one in the House is sworn in with any religious book at all. It's not a part of the swearing in process, it's not in the Constitution, it's not in any rule or law or procedure anywhere. And it is most certainly not a Bible. There is NO REQUIREMENT WHATSOEVER THAT A BIBLE BE USED TO SWEAR IN MEMBERS OF THE US HOUSE. The only time a Bible, or any other religious book pops up, is when a prospective House member brings it with them - but it simply isn't a part of the swearing in ceremony, period.

Let us repeat this one. The entire controversy is based on one big fat lie. (Sounds like some wars I know.)

But don't let that stop Republican radio shock-jock Dennis Praeger. Praeger has been ranting of late, and started quite the firestorm among Republicans, that the Bible is always a part of the swearing in process for public officials in America.

Praeger is either a liar or an idiot (and I've listened to his show - I'd give him a bit of both - the jackass even compared to the Koran to Mein Kampf (which is ironic, considering the position he's arguing), he shouldn't even be on the radio after that remark). But either way, he's simply wrong. And the link above already proves that fact.

But let's get back to what's motivating Praeger and the religious right and all these Republicans who are so upset that a Muslim-American might want to pray on a Koran instead of a Bible.

First off, I'd like to ask all those holier-than-thou Christians one thing: What part of the Ten Commandments don't you understand:

Deut. 5.11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain....

Lev. 19.12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Tell me how a Muslim swearing to a Christian God, or at the very least to a Christian tome, isn't bearing false witness AND taking the name of the lord in vain? You want to force him to swear a false oath to your God. The very super-Christians (and super other-faith-practitioners who really want to be Christians) demanding that this guy swear on a Bible are co-conspirators in violating at least one, if not, two of the Ten Commandments.

But there's another issue here as well. If it were required to have our members of Congress swear an oath to God (and it's not), why would we want to let some members of Congress off the hook by letting them swear to someone who isn't their God - i.e., letting them do the religious equivalent of crossing their fingers behind their back? The Christian members of Congress who swear to the Bible are bound to their God to do what they swore to do, but the Muslim members would have sworn allegiance to a book and a God who isn't their Supreme Giver of Justice, so, in addition to bearing false witness, such Muslim members would owe our God no allegiance and would be bound to no supreme being, pretty much letting them off the hook.

It's a bit like you and me both getting married (to other people). You swear to be faithful to your wife, and then you want me to swear to be faithful as well. But rather than ask me to swear to be faithful to my new bride, you ask me to swear to be faithful to yours. Even though it sounds at face value like you're making the two of us face the same requirement, you're not.

So, the religious right, and intolerant Christian Republicans, want to, in essence, give Muslim members of Congress special rights. We Christians would have to swear to our God, but those Muslims wouldn't have to swear to their God. That's rather counterproductive, if you're going to argue that such an oath means anything at all. And if it doesn't, then why have this debate?

But let's get our heads out of the minutiae for a second and talk about the more glaring problem here.

In what possible world does any American think forcing a Muslim to swear an oath to a Christian God is in any way constitutional, American, or even human? What are you people, Pontius Pilate? Have you learned nothing from history, the history of the world let alone American history? We did not come to this country to have other religions jammed down our throats. Unlike Israel, many Arab and Muslim countries, and countries in Europe like Greece, America was not set up as a nation under a particular faith. Our elected officials do not need to be of any particular faith, and our head of state most certainly does not. We were established, intentionally, as a nation of many faiths, welcoming of many faiths, and even welcoming of those with no faith at all.

And this notion of America being established as a Christian country is simply bizarre. Yes, the Bible guided many of America's founders when deciding what to make of America. The Bible influenced their decision in how to craft America. But that's a far cry from claiming that the Framers intended the Bible to be the guiding document and ultimate law of America. They most certainly did not, otherwise they would not have written the Constitution, let alone that little clause about a separation of church and state. Seriously, why write about any separation of church and state is church is state? And in any case, why write a Constitution at all if the Bible is our constitution? Do any religious right Republicans out there really think the Framers wrote the Constitution in order to improve upon the Bible? Heresey much?

And then there's a second problem. If America was founded on the Bible, then fine - America was also founded on slavery and the right to keep women as chattel (that means property, like cows or Chevrolets). Let's stop playing this cute, ignorant game of lusting after the good old days when most have no concept of what the good old days actually were.

For the love of God, if we don't want to go down the road of Europe - finding ourselves with a growing minority that doesn't even feel a part of our country, doesn't feel ownership in the American dream (and some would say we already have such an underclass) - then wouldn't it be wiser to embrace America's Muslims (and blacks, and Latinos, and gays, and everyone else who isn't white and male) and weave them into the fabric of our country, make them belong and feel as if they belong, rather than alienate them and create the very animus so many fear?

I still can't get beyond the concept that there are Americans who honestly think we should force a Muslim to swear an oath on a Christian Bible - in America. Putting aside the fact that this kind of down-your-throat, in-your-face view of religion is the walking definition of radical Islam, talk about ironic, does anyone remember where we live and why our forefathers (and some of our current fathers) came here in the first place?

blog comments powered by Disqus