Pundit Admits Forcing Congressman To Swear In With Bible ‘May Well Be’ Unconstitutional

Right-wing talk show host Dennis Prager has raised a firestorm charging that Rep.-elect Kieth Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, must swear in using a Bible. He said that if Ellison swears in with a Quran, it would undermine “American civilization” and be akin to swearing in with a copy of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”

In an interview with USA Today, Prager acknowledged that “trying to ban Ellison from choosing to use a Quran ‘may well be’ unconstitutional.” As various commentators have pointed out, Prager’s demand violates the Constitution’s provision that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

Also, as ThinkProgress noted yesterday, the entire controversy is moot, since the swearing-in ceremony for the House of Representatives never includes a religious book.

Nevertheless, Prager said today “that he’s going to keep pressing the issue,” and that he’ll “be writing and talking about this issue again.” In a show of support, the American Family Association has launched a campaign urging Congress “to pass a law making the Bible the book used in the swearing-in ceremony of representatives and senators.”