Thursday, December 21, 2006

And I Swear

Or not.

Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to Congress has refused to swear on a bible, and instead swore on the Qu'ran. This really ticked off Dennis Prager, who posted on that "the act [of swearing on a Qu'ran] undermines American civilization." Why might this be, Mr. Prager? "Because America is only interested in only one book, the bible." Really? So those 6 million Muslims in America, they don't count as Americans. Huh. He then continues to say that" 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."

For all of American history. That would include now, right? Well when [Orthodox Jew] Jason Bedrick R-Windham was "sworn" in, he didn't use a bible. Nor did he actually swear. According to this article he subsituted "I affirm" for "I swear." Also, just FYI, Jehovah's witnesses, who do not believe in taking oaths, also don't swear on the bible. Nor do Atheists.

Millard Filmore's Bathtub addresses the falacies in Prager's arguement one by one, and has some really interesting information besides. The only thing that I'd like to point out is that the reason to swear on a bible is as follows: when the custom was initiated, people were mostly religious, so to swear on a bible was to affirm your word knowing that if you lied, G-d would punish you. The fear of G-d was the motivator, not the content of the book. By that reasoning, a person should swear/affirm by whatever text they believe in, as it carries the most weight.

Media Matters has an interview with Prager from Hannity and Comes. It only highlights the fact that Prager is misinformed, and also kind of a, how shall I say, asshat.


BZ said...

Three US presidents (Tyler, Pierce, Hoover) also chose to affirm rather than swear the Oath of Office.

Aunt L. said...

Naturally, I can't remember where I read it, but John Adams took the oath on a law book! Makes a lot more sense to me.