Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More flapadoodles over trivial crap--Islamophobia edition

Via Glenn Greenwald, we find that the wingnutocracy is still unnerved over the election of a Muslim (!) to Congress. The Muslim in question is a Minnesotan with the very un-Arabic name of Keith Ellison, who converted to Islam in college. First we had Glenn Beck, saying, "Prove to me that you are not working with our enemies." Now Dennis Prager, is angry because Congressman-elect Ellison will be taking his oath of office on the Koran. It is, after all, the holy book he believes in. Being a busybody with no understanding of how the Constitution works, Prager doesn't like this:

He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

Gee, really? Will American civilization suddenly, inexplicably collapse because Ellison places his hand on a Koran? Is this some weird part of God's plan we don't know about? Could Prager explain how this is possible?

First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism -- my culture trumps America's culture.

Erm, Mr. Prager? Mr. Ellison is a politician elected to American government. He is a natural-born American citizen, raised right here in America. His culture is American 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.

I would be curious as to where Mr. Ellison has actually said or implied this. Somehow, if he had, it would be all over the wingnutosphere by now. No, it's clear that Prager is just making shit up.

Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison's favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible.

Who's this "America"? Does Dennis Prager have a friend named "America" whom he's using as a sounding board? Or should we trot out the usual "America is a melting pot/multicultural/religiously diverse nation" shtick that we have to use whenever Prager and his ilk try to rewrite American history?

Ellison is not trying to compel anyone else to take an oath of office on the Koran. It's his decision. And why should Prager give a hoot what holy book Ellison chooses to follow? When did this become Prager's business?

If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.

I'm wondering what law compels public officials to take an oath of office on the Bible and not some other holy book. Again, I suspect that Prager's making shit up. There's no law against it and any such law would violate the Constitution. I suspect Prager and his ilk know this. Meanwhile, I eagerly await the day when America starts electing Hindus, Buddhists, and maybe even a neopagan or two to office. Things are going to be fun, and heads are going to explode.

Of course, being a fan of the whole religion/state separation concept, I don't think any religious texts at all should be used when a politician takes the oath of office. Of course, that could come from years of listening to the Christian right babble away. Or maybe I'm just contrary. Or maybe I think separation of religion and state is good for religion in the long run. Or maybe I'm just being a contrarian.