Why Keith El­li­son should take his oath on the Bi­ble K

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - DEN­NIS PRAGER

eith El­li­son, Min­nesota Demo­crat, the first Mus­lim elected to the United States Congress, has an­nounced that he will not take his oath of of­fice on the Bi­ble, but on the bi­ble of Is­lam, the Ko­ran.

He should not be al­lowed to do so — not be­cause of any Amer­i­can hos­til­ity to the Ko­ran, but be­cause the act un­der­mines Amer­i­can civ­i­liza­tion.

First, it is an act of hubris that per­fectly ex­em­pli­fies mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ist ac­tivism — my cul­ture trumps Amer­ica’s cul­ture. What Mr. El­li­son and his Mus­lim and left­ist sup­port­ers are say­ing is that it is of no con­se­quence what Amer­ica holds as its holi­est book; all that mat­ters is what any in­di­vid­ual holds to be his holi­est book.

For­give me, but Amer­ica should not give a hoot what Keith El­li­son’s fa­vorite book is. 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 Con- gress. In your per­sonal life, we will fight for your right to pre­fer any other book. We will even fight for your right to pub­lish car­toons mock­ing our Bi­ble. But, Mr. El­li­son, Amer­ica, not you, de­cides on what book its pub­lic ser­vants take their oath.

Devo­tees of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness who do not see how dam­ag­ing to the fab­ric of Amer­i­can civ­i­liza­tion it is to al­low Mr. El­li­son to choose his own book need only imag­ine a racist elected to Congress. Would they al­low him to choose Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” the Nazis’ bi­ble, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those de­fend­ing Mr. El­li­son’s right to choose his fa­vorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to pub­lic of­fice?

Of course, Mr. El­li­son’s de­fend­ers ar­gue that Mr. El­li­son is merely be­ing hon­est; since he be­lieves in the Ko­ran and not in the Bi­ble, he should be al­lowed, even en­cour­aged, to put his hand on the book he be­lieves in. But for all of Amer­i­can his­tory, Jews elected to pub­lic of­fice have taken their oath on the Bi­ble, even though they do not be­lieve in the New Tes­ta­ment, and the many sec­u­lar elected of­fi­cials have not be­lieved in the Old Tes­ta­ment ei­ther. Yet those secu- lar of­fi­cials did not de­mand to take their oaths of of­fice on, say, the col­lected works of Voltaire or on a vol­ume of New York Times edi­to­ri­als, writ­ings far more sig­nif­i­cant to some lib­eral mem­bers of Congress than the Bi­ble. Nor has one Mor­mon of­fi­cial de­manded to put his hand on the Book of Mor­mon. And it is hard to imag­ine a scien­tol­o­gist be­ing al­lowed to take his oath of of­fice on a copy of “Dianet- ics” by L. Ron Hub­bard.

So why are we al­low­ing Mr. El­li­son to do what no other mem­ber of Congress has ever done — choose his own most revered book for his oath?

The an­swer is ob­vi­ous — Mr. El­li­son is a Mus­lim. And whoever de­cides th­ese mat­ters, not to men­tion vir­tu­ally ev­ery edi­to­rial page in Amer­ica, is not go­ing to of­fend a Mus­lim. In fact, many of th­ese peo- ple ar­gue it will be a good thing be­cause Mus­lims around the world will see what an open so­ci­ety Amer­ica is and how much Amer­i­cans honor Mus­lims and the Ko­ran.

This ar­gu­ment ap­peals to all those who be­lieve that one of the great­est goals of Amer­ica is to be loved by the world, and es­pe­cially by Mus­lims be­cause then fewer Mus­lims will hate us (and there­fore fewer will bomb us).

But th­ese naive peo­ple do not ap­pre­ci­ate that Amer­ica will not change the at­ti­tude of a sin­gle Amer­i­can-hat­ing Mus­lim by al­low­ing El­li­son to sub­sti­tute the Ko­ran for the Bi­ble. In fact, the op­po­site is more likely: Mr. El­li­son’s do­ing so 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.

When all elected of­fi­cials take their oaths of of­fice with their hands on the very same book, they all af­firm that some uni­fy­ing value sys­tem un­der­lies Amer­i­can civ­i­liza­tion. If Keith Mr. is al­lowed to change that, he will be do­ing more dam­age to the unity of Amer­ica and to the value sys­tem that has formed this coun­try than the ter­ror­ists of 9-11. It is hard to be­lieve that this is the legacy most Mus­lim Amer­i­cans want to be­queath to Amer­ica. But if it is, it is not only Europe that is in trou­ble.

Den­nis Prager is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist.

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