Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.
He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.
First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism -- my culture trumps America's culture. What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.
When all elected officials take their oaths of office with their hands on the very same book, they all affirm that some unifying value system underlies American civilization. If Keith Ellison is allowed to change that, he will be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11.
Someone needs to take his medication. The idea that America will come crashing down around us if Ellison takes his oath of office on a religious text other than the Bible is, I think, ridiculous on its face, but it's Prager's attempt to place the ethical monotheism of Islam outside the bounds of "our civilization," as if there should be something inherently objectionable to the American mind about Islam or the Koran, that I find particularly stupid and offensive. (Sure, he's not "hostile" to the Koran, he just thinks swearing on it constitutes a threat to national security.) I can't speak for Ellison's other supporters, but what I'm saying is that Ellison's culture is American culture, is part of our civilization now. If Prager has a problem with that, well, as my gastroenterologist used to say, tough shit. Muslims are a growing minority in the United States, and our culture will adjust and accomodate them, just as it had to accomodate the Germans, the Irish, the Africans, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Slavs, and whatever previously vilified stock Prager comes from. It won't be a painless process, it never is, but it really doesn't matter if Dennis Prager throws himself across the tracks or goes into a closet to suck eggs, either way the train's not stopping.
On the other hand, what if this dyspeptic bigot is right? I mean, if we start letting our elected leaders take their oaths on different books, who really knows what could happen? They might lose all sense of ethics and propriety. They might start selling policy favors in exchange for campaign donations. They might start allowing lobbyists onto the floor of Congress to write legislation. They might start engaging on extramarital affairs. They might start getting divorced, remarried, divorced and remarried again. They might start partying with lobbyists and hookers in expensive hotel suites. If Keith Ellison is permitted to take his oath on the Koran, one can even imagine, years and years from now, of course, that the United States might begin to operate a series of secret prisons wherein persons are held without charge and subjected to torture. I know that sounds wild. But maybe swearing on the Bible is what has prevented such things from coming to pass?