Keith Ellison (D-MN) is the United States’ first Muslim congressman. When his not-so-distinguished fellow congressman from Virginia, Virgil H. Goode Jr., learned Rep. Ellison would place his hand on a Quran during his ceremonious photo opportunity, Rep. Goode sent an email to his constituents blasting this unamerican activity. Mr. Goode is an intolerant bigot!
If you’re not familiar with the story get up to speed by reading Rob Boston’s blog post at Americans United.
…nothing in the U.S. Constitution requires members of Congress to take the oath of office on a holy book of any sort and noted that Article VI specifically forbids religious tests for public office. In the official swearing-in for all members of Congress, no religious texts of any sort are used.
The stupidity of some right-wing pundits is discouraging yet not surprising. They would rather Mr. Ellison swear on the Bible–a book not sacred to him–than on a book that means something to him. What is the point of that? Do they think Muslims shouldn’t be allowed in public office? Or that they shouldn’t be allowed in America? Perhaps they’re concerned about the young people today. What if children were exposed to Mr. Ellison committing this dastardly evil deed? Oh my!
America is NOT a Christian nation. It may (or may not) have been built by people who espoused Christian values but that doesn’t mean the founding fathers intended it to be Christian. If Christian fundamentalists delusioned by the propaganda of their right-wing pundits would consider the real history of the early republic they would certainly see this. Many of the early settlers fled the religious oppression they had experienced in Great Britain. The founding fathers explicitly stated in the first amendment of the Constitution that church and state should be separate.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
Good for you, Mr. Ellison. Exercise your religion any way you want. Thank you for standing up to hateful Christian bigots. Your refusal to have your photo taken with a hand on the Holy Bible may be the greatest contribution you make while in office. You are a patriot!