The 24 hour news channels, daytime talk shows, and the blogosphere have a way of feeding controversies and polarizing people. Every couple of weeks some issue becomes very hot and everyone is talking about exactly the same thing and it isn’t the national deficit, the budget crisis, our failing schools, our lack of national health insurance, social security, the environment, or race relations. Currently one of the hot topics is on the issue of whether Keith Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to the United States Congress, should be sworn in on the Quran or the Bible.
Ellison has said he wants to be sworn in on the Quran (a custom alien to the Muslim tradition but that is another issue) and this caused conservative talk-radio host (and in a previous life a very good writer and thinker) Dennis Prager to say if he didn’t want to be sworn in on the Bible then he should not serve in the Congress. Since that time the sentiment of Prager has gained a lot of steam amongst conservative talk-radio, Fox News types and the right-wing blogosphere; while it has drawn condemnation from Muslim organizations and the board of the US Holocaust Museum of which Prager is a member.
Why this is an issue I don’t know; America is a nation founded by men of faith that were also men of the enlightenment and many had a very progressive view towards organized religion and its ill-effect on European life.
Throughout the history ofAmerica this has been a Christian nation; but one would be a fool not to recognize that this is changing as tens of millions of Americans are post-Christian and many millions of other Americans are Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics or yes even Muslims. When they are elected to the US Congress they are not elected to uphold the Talmud, the teachings of Buddhism and Hinduism, or the temple of Barry Lynn, they are all elected, as Ellison has been, to uphold the constitution of the United States.
When the elected member takes the oath it is a public act signifying a personal commitment and honor bound duty to uphold the constitution and if the ceremony is real, and not just some fake ritual, then the incoming member should be sworn in on what book is real to them. Why should a Muslim or Jew have to swear in on the books of Paul? Prager should understand that, he is an authority on the Jewish faith, and he knows, that despite his commitment to the phony notion of a Judeo-Christian tradition, that the New Testament is a complete heresy in the eyes of traditional Jews and has no bearing on the value system of Jews. This is just Prager descending to the level of the likes of Glenn Beck and the rest who are gaining popularity and fame off of a radical demonization of Muslims.
Meanwhile In Israel
While Prager is busy making a fuss about a nonsense issue Israel has opened a mosque at ben-Gurion International Airport just outside of Tel Aviv. This is an airport I have flown in and out of several times and I will look forward to visit the mosque the next time I am in Israel insha’Allah. I am sure that the governments of Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt will reciprocate by opening synagogues in their airports… yea right.