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Thomas More

Thanks to a friend, and golfer, who forwarded this to me.

mac man

great article. glad you found this to share with everyone. we can't let our foundation be chipped away at or we'll have nothing left when all is said and done by the chippers.

thanks.

Philomena

Yet another example of "It's not about you".

Thomas Less

Koran? If you want to make a statement about your devotion to Islam, Mr. Congressman, strap on a backpack with some dynamite and excuse yourself from the ceremony. America needs some new immigration rules. If you come here, you need to take a shower, loose the dress, read the Bible, speak English and eat beef. That would cut down on a lot of the rif-raf that we put up with today.

Didymus

Mr. Less,
I don't find your comment funny or helpful in any way.
It is impossible to be "un-Swedish" or "un-French" and the reason is these countries unlike ours were not founded on ideals. They are geographic and/or ethnic entities. Your comments make it sound like we need to look a certain way, dress a certain way,and read a certain book to be America. I disagree. You have reduced America to an ethnic and georgraphic "place." It is not, America is an idea, a set of values. Mr. Ellison certainly misses this point when he insists on swearing on the Koran, but there is a way to eat beef, take a shower and swear on the Bible and be un-American - and you found it here.
Didymus

Thomas Less

Didymus,
I'm sorry you did not find the humor in my comment. That was, after all, my only purpose. You sound very sharp; did you really expect something brilliant from a guy named "Thomas Less"? It's true I'm no genius, but I did not miss your saying that it is in fact I that am unamerican. Good luck in your crusade to rid America of those who don't take everything so seriously.

Didymus

Thomas Less,

Well thanks, I am kinda sharp at times - but apparently not here. I didn't catch the play on Thomas More's name, I'm sorry.

Assuming you were being serious I thought your points deserved a strong rebuke.

Forgive me for missing that point.

Didymus

Thomas Less

Forgiven. It's a charitable ending to the makings of a cat fight. I commend your faith in action.

Tim

I'm not sure I agree with the original article. Ellison doesn't represent America - he represents his district, and should be sworn in according to their wishes. If the people of his district wanted their representative to be sworn in on a bible, then they shouldn't have elected a Muslim. (Unless people suddenly discovered he was a Muslim after being elected, but that would be a whole different story.)

How does this extend to the other groups mentioned in the article? Primarily that most elected officials know that if they choose not to be sworn in on a bible, they will be offending a large portion of their constituency. More problematic, for Mormons and Scientoligists, this would also lead to a greater examination of their beliefs and the realization that they are not Christian or not a religion (respectively). The Nazi would (hopefully) not be elected in the first place.

But perhaps we would be better off if the secular officials would swear on something else (my vote would be a copy of the constitution). What does it mean for someone to swear on a bible they don't believe in? Should we Christians be encouraging this or offended at such a blithe use of the bible? Could this even be considered blasphemy?

Thomas More

Tim,

Great questions. I had your take on this too, originally. But I think Prager's right on the national-unity theme, and I disagree on the constituency v. nation distinction you make. A Congressman serves the entire nation, while elected from his district. I believe the oath is to uphold the Constitution, not the interests of their district. On the issues relevant to the oath/swearing in that are here debated, I don't think the district is relevant. The question becomes, what does that nation require from its electeds. At least an acknowledgement of the country's norms and traditions seems reasonable--even desirable. If we do it person by person, or district by district, we no longer have "E Pluribus Unum."

Dimensio

I am curious as to how those here interprete the meaning of Article VI, Section III of the United States constitution, or if any are under the same mistaken impression as Dennis Prager that all Representatives other than Ellison have been sworn in or will be sworn in on a Christian Bible, when in fact no books are used at all during the formal mass swearing-in ceremony.

Thomas More

Dimensio,

Do you mean the "bound by Oath" or "no religious test" portion of Section 3?

If bound by an oath, I'd say that that is what we are talking about: what type of oath--personal or national importance--how the oath is done, what the symbols underlying that oath are, etc.

If you mean "no religious test" the swearing on the Bible is not a religious test as mentioned in the Constitution. There, the Founders were concerned about making a member swear allegiance, or prove membership in, a particular denomination.

In the "separation of church and state" wars, we have lost sight of the fact that during the founding era, states had, and England had, an established state-approved church. Membership in that church could have implications on your public standing. The Founders sought to avoid that at the federal level--but did not do so at the state level, which is why Massachusetts still had an official state (commonwealth really) church into the 1800's.

The mere fact that a Muslim has been elected, and will be sworn in (hence the discussion) is proof that there is no "religious test." Therefore, I do not think the "religious test" portion of the Constitution is a concern in this debate.

I do think the "bound by Oath" portion is, and it makes for an interesting discussion. I would stand with Prager on the value of having national norms and an acknowledgement of authority beyond man--though as Representatives, they are not required to enact laws they feel are contrary to the interests of the nation simply because they feel--or someone says--divine authority requires it. But that is another subject, for another day--my point being, an oath on the Bible does not make a theocracy or a requirement that anyone making the oath believes everything/anything that is in the Bible.

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