Swearing InPosted: December 4, 2006
David Kuo has an interesting article up on The Huffington Post – Here’s a preview:
So, a Muslim is coming to the United States House of Representatives and he wants to be sworn into office with his hand on a Koran and not on a Holy Bible. Some conservatives have decided this may well be the end of American civilization. One columnist writes, “He should not be allowed to do so — not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.” Some people’s election loss grief counseling isn’t going well.
The quote turns out to be from Dennis Prager, who is Jewish, and as far as I know, strongly identifies as such. So I found it surprising that he would make an argument that basically embraces the notion that America is a Christian nation. Would he want to swear on a copy of the New Testament? You can’t get out of this by saying he could use only the Old Testament – when he says that “the Bible” is “America’s holiest book”, then by any rational assessment, he means the Christian Bible. From a Christian perspective, swearing on half the Bible and discarding the other half is as offensive, if not more so, than swearing in on the Koran (just ask any Jew living in Medieval Europe).
Kuo concludes by reminding us that the Constitution (remember that?) says “…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Well, that’s a relief.
So now here’s a bigger question – why swear in on any religious document? If, hypothetically, a Scientologist was elected, and insisted on swearing in on a copy of Dianetics, what would that mean? Most Americans aren’t Scientologists, and don’t know (or care) whether Scientology even has oaths. So what’s the point? It’s like saying “I don’t believe in your religion, but you seem to take it seriously, so make an oath based on it”. How’s this – if anyone behaves in a way contrary to the ideas expressed in the oath, throw their @$$ in jail, or at least out of office. That’s more than enough for me.