Last November, Keith Ellison became the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress. When he announced that he was going to take the oath of office with his hand on the Koran, right-wing talk show host Dennis Prager protested, arguing that Ellison would “embolden Islamic extremists“:
He [Ellison] should not be allowed to do so — not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization. […]
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. […]
Ellison’s (taking the oath on the Koran) will embolden Islamic extremists and make new ones, as Islamists, rightly or wrongly, see the first sign of the realization of their greatest goal — the Islamicization of America.
Prager’s outrage was based on nothing but his own need to create controversy. What’s most interesting is that today — when a Republican candidate, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, is under attack for his Mormon beliefs — Prager seems suddenly concerned about the role religion plays in the political choices of some Americans:
(T)he theological beliefs of a public figure should matter only when one is choosing a theological leader, never a political leader — unless those beliefs form the basis of social and moral values that one abhors. It is very important to know the theological beliefs of one’s clergyman or the head of one’s seminary, but as far as the head of one’s country is concerned, only his moral and social values matter. I would much sooner vote for an agnostic whose values I shared than for a believing Christian or Jew whose values I did not share.
Ah, Dennis, but what if Romney wants to swear-in on The Book of Mormon?
This post was submitted through our Blog Fellows program. Make your own contribution — and get paid for it — by clicking here.