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Friday, December 01, 2006

Theocrats Go After Keith Ellison

A few weeks ago, I mentioned Keith Ellison's tacky move, when he decided to skip the President's reception for new members in favor of an AFL-CIO event. Now Ellison is in the news again. This is because Ellison has decided to take his oath of office on the Qur'an. The Strib's title is: Oath on Qur'an: Provocation or act of faith?

Earlier this week the Minnesota Monitor wrote a story about the topic that got cited in the Strib. On Tuesday, Robin Marty from Minnesota Monitor responded to theocrat Dennis Prager's bigoted Townhall column on this topic. I have a beef with the Headline they chose: Ellison's Oath On Koran Roils Conservatives. A better headline would be "Ellison's Oath On Koran Roils Conservatives". Limited government conservatives are not interested in these sorts of controversies. The Leviticus crowd types - such as Dennis Prager, are.

The Strib's coverage on this clearly show this divide among the theocratic conservatives and the libertarian conservatives:

"Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath," radio talk show host and author Dennis Prager wrote in his online column this week. He said that American Jews routinely have taken their oath on the Bible, even though they don't believe in the New Testament, and that if Ellison refuses to do so, "don't serve in Congress."

But Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the Constitution authorizes people not to swear their oath at all, protecting atheists and agnostics.

"Why would Muslims and others not be equally protected?" he wrote for National Review Online.

The National Review is hardly a liberal mag.

Ellison's decision drew support from one prominent conservative firebrand, Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, who champions a fence along the border with Mexico and who says that unfettered immigration endangers American culture.

"He wants to take his oath on the Qur'an, that's fine," Tancredo said. "I think whatever you believe is necessary for you to uphold your obligations to the Constitution, that is fine with me."

In his weekly column, Prager said Ellison's act is "an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism." He warned that allowing Ellison to use the Qur'an could pave the way for a racist to use "his favorite book" to take the oath of office.

"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," Prager wrote. "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. It is hard to believe that this is the legacy most Muslim-Americans want to bequeath to America."

It's too bad the Star Tribune didn't call Michele Bachmann for comment.