There have been several stories in the news the past few months about the place of Islam in America. One of the stories had to do with newly elected U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress. Mr . Ellison decided he wanted to use the Koran instead of the Bible when he took his oath of office. My friend Gary DeMar wrote about this:
“It had to happen. What if a Muslim won election in America? On what standard would he bind himself and the declaration of his oath to uphold the Constitution?Well, it has happened. Keith Ellison, a Democrat from the Minnesota House of Representatives who recently became a U.S. Congressman, is a Muslim. Can he hold to Islamic principles and take an oath to support the Constitution? First, the Koran calls for jihad against the infidels, so it’s hardly a book that fits in with constitutional principles. Second, the Constitution itself establishes who our true Lord is when it states that the document’s drafting took place in the year of our Lord’ 1787. This is a reference to Jesus Christ. For a Muslim, Jesus is not Lord, so his oath would contradict what the Constitution actually states.
“As you know, George Washington took his presidential oath with his hand on an open Bible and said, I swear, so help me God.’ No one flinched or protested that it was a violation of the Constitution. The inauguration was followed by divine services’ that were held in St. Paul Chapel, performed by the Chaplain of the Congress.’ While the Constitution does not require a religious test oath, an oath is required to uphold the Constitution, and if it’s not the God of the Bible, then it’s some other god or the state.”
Commentator Dennis Prager, a Jew, said this:
“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?
“Of course, Ellison’s defenders argue that Ellison is merely being honest; since he believes in the Koran and not in the Bible, he should be allowed, even encouraged, to put his hand on the book he believes in. But for all of American history, Jews elected to public office have taken their oath on the Bible, even though they do not believe in the New Testament, and the many secular elected officials have not believed in the Old Testament either. Yet those secular officials did not demand to take their oaths of office on, say, the collected works of Voltaire or on a volume of New York Times editorials, writings far more significant to some liberal members of Congress than the Bible. Nor has one Mormon official demanded to put his hand on the Book of Mormon. And it is hard to imagine a scientologist being allowed to take his oath of office on a copy of Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard.”
I happen to agree with DeMar and Prager. When a reporter called about this situation I said this: “If calling the Bible superior to the Koran in American tradition and culture is intolerant then I’m guilty.”
There, I stated the obvious. But that statement took the reporter aback. He was shocked I would be so blunt, and more stunning to him was that I would say the Bible was superior. By that, I mean the Bible has been revered through our history more than any other book, and its influence has been profound. But today, people are afraid to say this because it is judgmental.
I do not believe in any law that would forbid a person from holding public office based on what religion he or she follows. That is a religious test that would violate the Constitution. Having the Bible as the only book of oath does not constitute a “religious test” in my view.
Finally, the Bible and the Koran are two different books of religion and they promote two different worldviews. They are not morally equal. Islam has proven itself over and over again to be the enemy of freedom, democracy and tolerance. These are Western values whose roots are in the Christian value system and the Christian value system comes from the Bible, not the Koran. Look around the world at Muslim countries and see what you find. Take time to study what happens when Islam takes over a society. This is something to be concerned about if you care about the very Western values mentioned above.
Tim Wildmon lives in Saltillo. His column is published every other week. His e-mail address is email@example.com.