Thursday, January 04, 2007

I Swear, Part II

Dennis Prager has better hair than you AND an Honorary Doctorate from Pepperdine U

This is Dennis Prager's rebuttal, paraphrased: I am not a racist; Keith Ellison is still wrong (thanks to the Autodidact, as usual).

I have so many issues with his comments, all I can do is take them one at a time:

DP: For the record, because I deem this a significant statement about most of the Left, I found virtually no left-wing blog that was not filled with obscenity-laced descriptions of me.
Me: I don't know about "laced" but I did call him an asshat, so he gets points there.

DP: Clearly, many Americans, including some conservatives and libertarians, have no problem with the idea that for the first time in American history, a person elected to Congress has rejected the Bible for another religious text when taking his oath of office.
Me: Depends on whether or not you consider a book of law a religious text. Although I would beg to differ, later in the column, Prager did mention that some religious Jews have chosen to swear on only the "Old Testament." Ok, I don't like the term "Old Testament" because we see it as the only testament, I'd prefer "Hebrew Bible," "Tanakh,"* or even "Pentateuch,"* depending on which book(s) were used.

DP: I agree with the tens of thousands of office holders in American history who have honored the American tradition -- I am well aware it is not a law, and I do not want it to be -- of bringing a Bible to their ceremonial or actual swearing-in. Keith Ellison is ending that powerful tradition, and it is he who has called the public's attention to his doing so.
Me: Ok, so it shouldn't be mandatory, but it should be upheld. I am confused here. Would Prager be satisfied if a Bible was present, yet Ellison didn't swear on it? Also, again, I'd like to point out that the reason to swear on a bible is that it is thought to be morally binding. If Ellison doesn't believe in the words, swearing on them is similarly meaningless. Like me saying "I swear by the Da Vinci Code." What does that even mean?

DP: Why wouldn't Ellison bring a Bible along with the Koran? That he chose not to is the narcissism of multiculturalism that I referred to: The individual's culture trumps the national culture.
Me: Answers my earlier question. But maybe Ellison doesn't own a bible. Or maybe he just thinks that Prager is being absurd. Why bring two books?

DP: The founders who were not believing Christians venerated the Bible as the source of America's values just as much as practicing Christians did.
Me: Um. Kind of. Jefferson cut up a bible and pasted it back together in a way that he felt was more reasonable. Also works by Locke and Rousseau were arguably as important to the creation of this country, if not more so, than the bible.

Prager goes on, but you get the point. My feeling is that we should throw out the idea of swearing on a religious document at all, and instead swear by the constitution. Wouldn't that make more sense?

*Tanakh is the five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, etc), prophets, and 'writings.' The name comes from the acronym of those words Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim.

*The Pentateuch is the five books of Moses. The name includes the prefix penta or five. Like Pentagon.


Anonymous said...

Annie, you get an unqualified "hell yeah" from at least one member of the peanut gallery, me.

-The Rooster

Anniegetyour said...

Thanks TR, although part of me worries when you agree with me.

harley said...

I think hell just froze over.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe in hell. :-)