Friday, December 01, 2006

Bonhomie mist

Okay, no more fighting, boys and girls. Oh, who is Spot kidding? He is just sorry that he is late to the fight. Who started it?

It was Dennis Prager, who wrote a column about Keith Ellison's intention to take the oath of office on the Koran:

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.

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.

This is the most fatuous piece of gasbaggery that Spot has seen all year and it is December now.

Prager has drawn fire from many quarters, including from Robin Marty at Power Liberal and from Joe Bodell at Minnesota Monitor; pay special attention to the comments to Bodell's post.

Of course, the keeper of the sacred scrimshaw Captain Fishsticks has to disagree with the criticism:

When I read Minnesota Monitor's account of the Dennis Prager column criticizing Keith Ellison for taking the oath of office on the Qur'an rather than the Bible, I was inclined to toss them a nod and agree. Then I read Prager's column. Yes, he goes a little over the top, but the point of his column is well-taken.

[Sticks is quoting Prager here] 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. It is hard to believe that this is the legacy most Muslim Americans want to bequeath to America. But if it is, it is not only Europe that is in trouble. [Europe's problems are beyond the scope of this post, boys and girls]

A little over the top, Sticks?

Sticks continues:

America is a country founded on unifying value system, not blood lines. That system is reflected in Judeo-Christian values, but not necessarily a result of them. [this is high-order pussy-footing, for reasons that should become apparent in a moment]

. . .

If Ellison wants to take the oath on the Qur'an, so be it. I do think, however, he misses an opportunity. I think he might have made a more symbolically unifying statement by taking the oath on the Bible, highlighting the integration of his Islamic faith with the values and traditions of Congress.

. . .

Ellison has his reasons for taking the oath on the Qur'an and without knowing his mind, I accept that they are sincere. Nonetheless, I think he missed the opportunity to reach out and bring people together.

Judeo-Christian values, Sticks? Like the ones of the Pilgrims who massacred the Pequot Indians a decade after the first Thanksgiving, a neighborhood picnic that was held in part to observe the role of the Indians in getting the Pilgrims though the first year?

Both Prager and Sticks are purveyors of absolute a-historical Christian Reconstructionist tripe. The Enlightenment Founders of this country were deliberate in creating a republic that was a-theistic. You read that right: a-theistic. We've been through this all before, boys and girls. Here's what Article 6, Clause 3 of the Constitution says:

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.

Other than the First Amendment, this is the only time that religion is mentioned in the Constitution: no references to God, even in the preamble, no references to religion of any flavor. The United States was not founded as a Christian nation, no matter how hard Dennis Prager and Captain Fishsticks wish otherwise. Many of the founders were deists.

Boys and girls, Keith Ellison could take the oath of office on a Betty Crocker cookbook, and it wouldn't make any difference. The fidelity in the oath or affirmation is to the Constitution, not the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Analects, or the Veda.

Sticks says in his post—in language not quoted by Spot above—that tradition is important to Conservatives [his capitalization] and shouldn't be treated "lightly." But "Conservatives" are prone to remember and regard anything as traditional just so long as it suits their world view.

No Sticks, the bonhomie missed was not on Ellison's part; it was on yours.

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