Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) will not be sworn in on the Koran when he takes the oath next January.
When he is sworn in as a member of the 110th U.S. Congress on Jan. 4, 2007, Congressman-elect Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) will not take the oath of office with his hand on a copy of the Koran – or any other book, according to a spokesman for Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to the House of Representatives.
Ellison will not use any book during the ceremony, Dave Colling, who served as the Minnesota Democrat’s campaign manager, told Cybercast News Service. “Neither will any other member of the House,” Colling added, since “no one has ever taken the oath of office in Congress with a Bible, a Koran, a Torah or anything else.”
Instead, the members of the chamber are sworn into office as a group, Colling noted. “They all raise their right hands and repeat the oath that’s prescribed in the Constitution.”
The remarks come after controversy was generated when on Nov. 11, ABC News reported that Ellison “will be sworn into the House of Representatives with his hand on a Koran.”
On Nov. 28th, Dennis Prager wrote a commentary that decried the act as one of defiance that must not be tolerated.
“He should not be allowed to do so – not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.”
“If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress,” he wrote.
The dispute has generated “tons and tons of email” to Ellison’s office, “none of it in a good way,” said Colling.
After the House swearing-in ritual is completed, brief sessions are held so individual members of the chamber can be photographed with the speaker. Most participants at this point reportedly choose to adopt the traditional pose of placing their hand on a Bible.
Was Ellison just joking? Was he trying to make a big splash as an incoming Congressman? Or was he simply trying to be loyal to his religion?
No matter which way you slice it, his act was very much ill-timed and any reasons for his idea were not conveyed clearly. It’s not funny to joke about bombs on airplanes in a post 9/11 world and it’s not amusing to see an elected American desire to place the religion of Islam above the Constitution. Certainly there are peaceful Muslims but in a fast-developing post-9/11 world, we have seen the reliability of these peaceful Muslims to stand up against the radicals to be nill. That leaves us with the understanding that most Muslims want to kill us. And when an elected Congressman wants to put the religion of those that want us all dead, it’s too difficult for Americans to see the fine line to allow his swearing preferences.