Home > Uncategorized > The Bible, the Qu’ran and the fools that make this an issue

The Bible, the Qu’ran and the fools that make this an issue

[This entry was originally posted on my MySpace blog. It was transferred to WordPress on 1/20/2013.]

On November 7, the good people of Minnesota moved America a small step forward by electing the first ever Muslim representative to the United States Congress. I am not an advocate of voting for a candidate based on only one issue – especially not for one’s religious affiliation. Hopefully, Keith Ellison was the more qualified candidate. However, I am pleased to see that the people of Minneapolis did not reject this man based on his religious affiliation. Kudos to Minnesota and kudos to America. It is nice to see one more minority group represented in our system of government, no matter how flawed it may currently be. Not everyone is happy about this, however. There are a number of people out there in America who are, due in part to the tireless efforts of the Bush administration, severely Islamophobic.

Since our first elected officials took office centuries ago, it has long been tradition in this country for said officials to take the oath of office, placing their hands on a Bible. Herein lies the issue that should not be. Congressman-elect Ellison plans, naturally, to be sworn in while placing his hand on the Qu’ran. It’s a no-brainer, right?

Wrong.

Some conservatives have somehow had it beaten into their brains that the American government is a Christian government and that all Muslims are terrorists. I work at the front desk at the Best Western Ramkota in Aberdeen, and usually the television in the lobby is tuned to FOX News. I have heard a number of blue-eyed, blonde-haired WASPs turning their faces red with the frustration that Ellison would have the nerve to reject this time-honored American tradition. “You take an oath of office in this country, you put your hand on the Bible – that’s all there is to it. You try to do anything else, and you give America the middle finger. That’s a disgrace.” The above is not a direct quote, of course. It is simply a summary of what is being said.

The idea behind swearing on the Bible is that it is apparently the strongest kind of oath you can take. You can swear on your mother’s grave, you can swear on the Bible. You get the idea. But what about the person that has no regard for the Bible? What is the point? You may as well have that person swear on the JC Penny catalog. It holds the same meaning. If you are going to have a person swear on any holy book, it should be their own. Obviously. Really though, I am not certain that taking an oath on ANY holy book is a good idea. Does it really cause a politician to take the job and their actions more seriously? Due to the corrupt nature of many (maybe most) politicians, I would venture to say that it demeans the faith more than it strengthens the office. But I am a believer in the separation of church and state. I do not want my religious freedoms infringed upon nor do I want yours trampled upon. So along with that separation of religion and government, should we really be swearing in our public officials on holy books? Does that not encourage the debate of moral issues over state issues?

Holy books aside, I am appalled at the things being said about and to this man. After the election, Ellison appeared on CNN on the Glenn Beck show. Beck showed his ignorance by putting forth this tasteless excuse for journalism hackery:

OK. No offense, and I know Muslims. I like Muslims. I`ve been to mosques. I really don`t believe that Islam is a religion of evil. I — you know, I think it`s being hijacked, quite frankly.

With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, “Let`s cut and run.” And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, “Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.”

And I know you`re not. I`m not accusing you of being an enemy, but that`s the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way.

 

I don’t know who is honestly wondering if this man is “working with our enemies.” How unbelievably insulting. I applaud Mr. Ellison for not losing his cool. I might have freaked out in an attempt to set Beck straight, were I in his position. The idea that a mere religious affiliation can get a person accused of treason is appalling – especially in a country that claims religious freedom any chance it gets. I guess what “religious freedom” truly means is the freedom for Christians to act like assholes.

Regarding Ellison’s swearing-in on the Qu’ran, why is there any question? Why must religious freedom be limited to the religions that the federal government deems worthy? I am reminded of the Wiccan soldiers killed in Iraq whose requests for a pagan symbol on their military headstone was denied. We see a diverse range of symbols in those cemeteries, but this religion was denied. Why are other government officials afraid of this American man from Minnesota? Virgil Goode, a Republican representative from Virginia, recently wrote a letter to constituents in which he said,

I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.

This man speaks as if Muslims are a lesser people – a horror to have in the United States. He insinuates that it is an undesirable thing to have diversity in our government. Furthermore, Keith Ellison is a legitimately elected official whose family has been American since the late 1700s. He is not an immigrant.

In school, we were all taught that America is the “melting pot” of the world. I have preferred to look at it differently. I like to think that America is the “salad” of the world. In a salad, all kinds of things are mixed together into one entity, but each part retains its own identity. You have tomatoes coexisting and complimenting cucumbers, croutons and lettuce. There are many totally different ingredients that lend their goodness to a greater good. In a melting pot, all the metals mix together into a searing hot slop that changes each part into one diluted and slightly less precious alloy.

With this ridiculous debate that is rumbling about Keith Ellison and his religious identity, it seems that the current government is really looking for a melting pot after all. Come to this country and you must become exactly like us. Fundamentalist Christian, uptight and unhappy.

Shame on Glenn Beck. Shame on Virgil Goode. Best of luck, Keith Ellison.

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