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Right-Wing Radio Host Fabricates Controversy To Attack First Muslim Congressman

By ThinkProgress  

"Right-Wing Radio Host Fabricates Controversy To Attack First Muslim Congressman"

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Right-wing radio host Dennis Prager wrote a column earlier this week claiming that Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, had “announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.” Prager claimed this “act undermines American civilization,” and compared it to being sworn in with a copy of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”

Bloggers on the left and right — including Taylor Marsh, Steven Benen, Eugene Volokh, Stephen Bainbridge — have torn apart Prager’s argument on constitutional grounds.

But Prager’s column is based on one other glaring error: the swearing-in ceremony for the House of Representatives never includes a religious book. The Office of the House Clerk confirmed to ThinkProgress that the swearing-in ceremony consists only of the Members raising their right hands and swearing to uphold the Constitution. The Clerk spokesperson said neither the Christian Bible, nor any other religious text, had ever been used in an official capacity during the ceremony. (Occassionally, Members pose for symbolic photo-ops with their hand on a Bible.)

Below, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) is sworn in last year by Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) with his hand on the rostrum:

‹ Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

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