HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
December 11, 2006, Herald Journal

Religion vs the Constitution

By KRISTEN MILLER

Republica-elect Keith Ellison (D-Minneapolis), who is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, is causing some debate regarding his swearing in Jan. 4.

Being a Muslim, Ellison wants to swear in with the Muslim holy book, the Quran. Some Americans are finding this hard to swallow saying Ellison should swear in using the Bible.

If a person doesn’t believe in the Bible, does it really mean anything to swear by it? It’s basically meaningless to that person.

By Congress not allowing for Ellison to use the Quran, they are defying the basic principles of this great nation which is exactly what they are to uphold.

I, being a Christian, respect other religions. I, being an American, believe in free speech and free religion.

I would rather have a Congressman swearing to uphold the laws and Constitution of the country with something he believes in instead of something he doesn’t believe in. Otherwise, what would keep him from lying? If we elect a Muslim to Congress, we have to honor his religious rights, not what America thinks his religion should be.

Ellison was elected in a democracy. That means let the cards lay where they were dealt.

Some may argue and say that America was founded on the Bible. This is true, but different times calls for different measures.

Democrats say Ellison has the constitutional right to use the Muslim holy book for his swearing in while others like radio talk show host and author Dennis Prager thinks a bit differently, according to the Star Tribune.

Prager commented that America gets to decide on what book its public servants take their oath on, not Ellison. He also stated how American Jews have sworn in on the Bible not believing in the New Testament. Prager is basically saying, if you don’t like it “our” way then get out.

If no one has brought the subject up before, then there has been no need to test it.

According to the Star Tribune, the constitution even protects atheists and agnostics authorizing them not to have to swear an oath at all.

I guess the founding fathers had more of an open mind than people of the 21st century.