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By ATWadmin On December 1st, 2006

Can’t say that I am surprised to read that Keith Ellison, the first member of the US Congress to be a Muslim, has made it clear he will take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran. I agree with Dennis Prager that he should NOT be allowed to do so – because the very act Ellison contemplates undermines American civilization.

Consider this. 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. This is indeed multiculti triumphalism and America should not permit it. Jews and Securalists have taken their oaths on the Bible, showing their respect to the American tradition. Of course Islam holds NO such respect and Ellison is merely a trojan horse from which the ROP can demonstrate that its will can prevail – even at the home of the Great Satan.  By bowing the knee to the Muslim supremacy Ellison represents, the US builds up even greater troubles for itself. There is no reason to make an exception for Keith Ellison – unless we are so scared of what the Religion of Peace might do were its first Congressman confronted rather than accommodated!


  1. I think it’s silly to swear on the Bible if you don’t believe in God. Why the Bible? Why not a copy of Hello! Magazine or an Argos catalogue? Hell, why stop at a publication? Why not swear with one hand on a washing machine or a donkey?

    And why are Bible-bashers happy to see the Bible put to such silly uses?

    At least the form of Ellison’s oath is consistent with his faith.

  2. Surely the point is its not about him as an individual in this ceremony. This is a privilege given by America to him. It is up to America to therefore decide how this oath is taken.

  3. ‘This is a privilege given by America to him.’

    It is not a privilege: he is an elected public representative.

  4. What on earth is ‘American civilisation’ anyway?

  5. It’s the same as European, but alive, not dead.

  6. Surely there is supposed to be a strict separation of church and state in the US constitution. Politicians should not be required to swear an oath on any religous book unless they voluntarily choose to and it has some meaning for them.

    Of course a person who is not a Christian should not be required to swear an oath of loyalty on the bible. Hugh is absolutely right , it makes a mockery of the gravity of such an oath if they are.

  7. HG,

    "Hell, why stop at a publication? Why not swear with one hand on a washing machine or a donkey?"

    Are we to assume in your case, that you would have one hand on your backside, or perhaps your crotch? – it would certainly seem to be in keeping with most of your comments!

  8. Ernest,

    It is obviously a lot easier to imply that I like to fondle myself than to profer an explanation as to why on earth someone who does not believe in God should be obliged to swear on the Bible.

  9. Colm,

    There is no such phrase in the US Constitution stating that State and Church should be separate.It is an interpretation used to ‘suit an agenda’.

    The actual phrase is;

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

    The ‘separation of State and Church’ phrase comes from a letter by Thomas Jefferson.

    Of course the lawyers have messed about with it, hence the total misunderstanding of it’s purpose and intent.

  10. surely this validates his oath more than putting his hand on a religious text he doesnt subscribe too?

    to me, it sounds like he takes the content of his oath more seriously than others. if he’s willing to swear on his own religion as opposed to others, surely it has to count for something.

    tho personally id prefer if politicians swore oaths to no god or monarch. im the boss!!

  11. HG,

    Yes, I have to admit it was easier, but no less easy than your original quip about washing machines and donkeys…

    If you do not appreciate the symbolism, even if disagreeing with the concept of ‘swearing on the Bible’, then there would be little point in trying to explain it to you.

  12. Why have an oath at all? He’s an elected representative. I can’t think of a private official swears an oath -they sign a contract.

    Replace this bogus religiosity with a signed contract to serve the people of the constituency which elected you on the manifesto and any other commitments which you put forward at the election.

  13. A much better idea from Jaffa

    Swearing on the bible , whether in court or in a legislature is an insult to the true meaning of that procedure,bearing in mind most people who do so (especially in court) have no intention of honouring such a pledge.

  14. Ernest posted:

    "Are we to assume in your case, that you would have one hand on your backside, or perhaps your crotch"

    I suggest you look up the latin roots of the word "testify"!

  15. ‘If you do not appreciate the symbolism, even if disagreeing with the concept of ‘swearing on the Bible’, then there would be little point in trying to explain it to you.’

    On the contrary, I think I can understand the symbolic importance of maintaining certain traditions. However, these traditions should never become an obstacle to representative democracy.

  16. "what America holds as its holiest book;"

    America’s holiest book is the US constitution. That’s why they swear on the Bible to uphold the constitution, not on the constitution to uphold the Bible. I can see why the likes of David, Prager, and Ernest would have a problem with that, but there it is.

    Really this is just further evidence that the real problem some have with Islamic theocracy is only that they do not like the competition.

  17. What do Jewish members of US Congress swear on?

  18. >>>What do Jewish members of US Congress swear on?<<<

    heated outdoor swimming pools. great for the heart.

  19. Thanks DT …knew there was an answer out there somewhere..

  20. The man can swear on the Koran if he so wishes. You are being bigoted. If I was elected to office I wouldn’t swear on any holy book because I’m not a believer and to do so would make me a hypocrite. As long as this man serves his constituents to the best of his ability he could swear in on a copy of the Beano for all I care!

  21. The Constitution of the United States (Article II section 1) requires the incoming President to take an Oath or Affirmatiom. There is no mention of A Bible (or even the ending phrase "So help me God" that is almost always used.

    It is likely that the allowance for affirmation (as opposed to oath) was made for the benefit of the Quakers whose reigious beliefs frowned upon taking oaths. Surely we can be as tolerant as the founding fathers.

    I actually do not know what Jewish or atheist polticians swear upon, but if it is the Torah, the Bilbe, the Koran or the Sears catalogue the document they are swearing or affirming to uphold is the Constitution. The oath is intended to demonstrate the solemnity of the promise, so it would seem to me to be appropriate that A Muslim swear upon the book he considers most holy, namely the Koran.

    The separation of church and state is a fundamental pillar of the United States. I wish we lawyers could take credit for it as one of you suggested, but it was a closely held belief advanced by many of the founding fathers who came from all walks of life. It has led to some silly squabbles over the years (no Christmas tree at Town Hall for instance), but has stood us in good stead these few hundred years.

    Let him go ahead and swear on the Koran, and with any luck he’ll uphold the Constitution with far greater reverance than some who have gone before swearing upon the Bible.

  22. Well said, Mahons.

  23. Mahons,

    If only we could also keep the Lawyers out of Government as well!

    "The separation of church and state is a fundamental pillar of the United States."

    Even though it does not actually say that? but it does say;

    ""Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

    Which, as I wrote earlier, the interpretation depends on your agenda.

    The use of the Bible is purely symbolic, that the Oath being sworn is of the most serious and sincere, and is the highest guarantee that a person can give of their personal sincerity.

    The Bible is used because, as America is a Christian culture, it is recognised as the symbol of utmost sincerity.

    You do not have to be religious, or even of the same religion to appreciate the symbolic meaning of ‘Swearing on the Bible’.

  24. Article 6 of the US Constitution says:

    "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

    Get that, Ernest, the part where it says "no religious Test shall ever be required"?

  25. Ernest – Mark Twain was once asked to admit that America was a Christian country. He replied that so is Hell but we don’t boast about that.

    I submit that to you that your position follows neither American or Christian tradition. To be sure, didn’t Jesus himself tell Pilate "My reign is not of this present order" (John 18:36). While Jesus understood that it is sad that some many of his followers do not.

    I did not say the words separation of church and state are in the Constitution. It is a political philosophy, one advanced by the founding fathers (many of whom were quite religious, and lawyers by the way). We do not live in a theocracy.

    The Bible is used not because of its symbolic value (surely it is not a mere symbol to those of us who believe), but rather to demonstrate the seriousness of the oath. The issue is not whether a particular elected representative is Jewish, Muslim, Chritian or a Shape worshiper. The issue is whether they will uphold the Constitution.

  26. >>>The issue is whether they will uphold the Constitution.<<<

    thats how i take it too. wheres the paranoia coming from? surely this is a case in point about the utter irrationality of most "concern" over islam.

  27. Mahons arguments are excellent. I really can’t understand what the fuss is about (unless it’s just any excuse to have a go at someone who is a Muslim). Why would anyone actually want or expect a non-Christian to swear by the bible. It isn’t a symbolic practice that every American should do , like raising your arm across your chest on hearing the anthem , it is meant to be a demonstration of the importance of your faith as a guarantor of the meaning of the oath you take and as such should only be enacted by Christians.

    Those of other faiths or none should not swear by the bible but should choose the method that best honours their personal beliefs , with the shared aim that they are all Americans regardless of faith or not and all equal in their devotion to respecting and upholding the constitution.

  28. Colm – you hit the nail on the head, it is an excuse to go after a Muslim (and throw in a few contemporary far right slogans).

    When Al Smith ran for U.S. President as the first Catholic nominated by a major party in 1928, a charge lodged against him was that the Pope would move into the White House. When Smith (noted for his sense of humor) lost the election, he is said to have sent the Pope a one word telegram that read "Unpack".

    Reasonable tolerance is a continuing struggle, and we need to insure that we promote it. Indeed, it is one of the things that our enemies fear most.

  29. A.McD,

    "no religious Test shall ever be required"

    Thank you , I did get that, but then I never said otherwise…


    "Reasonable tolerance is a continuing struggle, and we need to insure that we promote it. "

    I agree, such a pity that you fail to practice that which you preach…


    I also, cannot see what the fuss is all about, after all, the point I was suggesting was that it was only a symbolic gesture. It seems that it was the Congressman who was making all the fuss…

  30. Ernest – I don’t undertand your comment. What do you mean?

  31. The arguments are interesting but the bits about the constitution make it even less clear now. If no test is required why do you swear on the bible or on anything religious thing for that matter and why has this never been an issue before for jews in office or whoever. why havent they made a fuss? I would only add that i dont think it is unreasonable to state a point of view on what he is doing and i certainly dont think its about ‘having a go at a muslim’. He is the first person to choose to do this, and in so doing he is making a big point. Since Islam is a relevant current topic and America got kicked in the balls by it (indeed the perpetrators resounding words were a prayer to allah as they killed all those people – fresh in everyones minds this year when it was immortalised in United 93) then in making his emphatic point people are entitled to feel uneasy and therefore to criticize. He himself is doing little to foster tolerance and understanding by grand standing on Islam. Just as some here are saying what is all the fuss about – the same question could be directed at him.

  32. Alison: good questions but I suspect that if this was a story about swearing on the Torah the criticism here would be muted (and possibly even in favor). Because it is a Muslim I think the reaction is overblown. I don’t know if this wasn’t an issue for Jews or any other denominations before. I know that jurors/witnesses in the States can affirm without swearing on the Bible and there has never been any outcry as to that.

    If we limit it to the Bible then the question becomes whose Bible? King James? New Catholic Addition? etc.

    As Rudy Guliani said on 9/11 the Muslim-American community is not to be blamed for the attack. The terrorists indeed all were Muslim, but all Muslims are not terrorists.

    I suppose I’ll have to learn a bit more about the politician in question and his "grandstanding" on Islam. Maybe he does, but that hardly disqualifies him from using his own religious book of choice. In addition, if he is grandstanding on religion, he’ll be among some experts in Congress.

  33. Alison – Prager didn’t do his homework. Four Presidents did not swear on a Bible and there are many instances of Jewish politicians using the Torah.

  34. Mahons,

    Easy enough to understand – if you stand back a pace or two and read your owm comments occasionally. In all honesty you have not been the most tolerant of others, or of their opinions, yourself!

    Hence the ‘practice what you preach’ bit…

    The jump to the conclusion that someone was ‘having a go’ at a muslim for instance, and the bit about’far right’ slogans. I certainly never said or suggested anything like that. You and Colm colluded on that one.

    Perhaps you were trying to widen the debate into a racist issue? Or should I accuse you of ‘lefty’ slogans and assumptions?

    Nice little ‘straw men’, as was the Mark Twain bit, but then – you are a lawyer…

  35. The Mans an Ass and if his oath is taken on anything other than the Bible it is not binding.. Not that a politician has ever felt bound by his oath…

    Reprented post on my blog

  36. Alison, If memory serves George Washington at his first pres inauguration called for a Bible and ended the oath with "so help me God." The custom, even though not mandated by law, has been followed ever since.

    Mahons, My grandfather and father met Al Smith during the 1928 campaign. Grandfather was the conductor on the Long Island Railroad and saw to Smith’s private car. Dad was 11 at the time, and Smith told the porter, "Get the boy a drink, but make it a soft one!"

  37. Ernest: If you mean I do not suffer fools gladly than perhaps your comment has some merit. And if by blowing your arguments to smithereens you find that I am intolerant, I suppose that is the way it might feel to you. I just feel triumphant. After all, if I was right AND humble it would all just be too much.

    As for intolerance as a subject, you may recall your comment above referencing someone holding their crotch. Hardly starting off on the high road?

    Ernest are you being earnest? You appear to suggest that the author of the cited piece (Mr. Prager) is not advancing a right wing agenda. He is a noted if unexceptional right wing talk show host. The slogan American is a Christian country to me is a right wing slogan. And as for having a go at a Muslim, I think I was referring to Prager in particular, though I don’t doubt that among those who agree with him are those who are doing so out of intolerance for Muslims.

    As for a debate on racism, I am against it. Do you wish to take up the contrary position?

    Lastly, it is Friday, and in recalling past oath takers who I admire, I think of President Lincoln, a favorite Republican of mine and fellow lawyer, who cautioned us to have malice towards none. In that regard, I assure you I have no malice towards you (that I recall) and will continue to tolerate your right to make any argument or offer any opinion without necessarily tolerating the arguments or opinions themselves.


  38. Charles: Great story. The Happy Warrior was ahead of his time.

  39. I don’t really know what the problem is with him swearing on his Holy Book.

    I think, but correct me if I’m wrong, that in court you have the option to swear on the Koran.

    I hope I will never have to give evidence in court and if I did I would not swear on the bible as I am required to lie.

    I have no problem with telling the truth or nothing but the truth. It’s the bit in the middle. I cannot tell the whole truth as, firstly, I don’t know the whole truth and secondly, I would not be able to tell it all. Where would I start – "In the beginning was the word…"

  40. Aileen: Don’t worry, by whole truth they only mean what you know yourself.

  41. mahons

    But that’s not what you would swear.

    But even with what you know, you can’t possibly say it all. What I had for breakfast that day would be part of the whole truth, not part of the relevant truth, but the oath makes no mention of relevancy.

    Even within what is relevant you have to restrixt yourslef to answering the questions that you are asked don’t you?

  42. Aileen: The "whole truth" is not a semantic game. You have to answer the questions posed truthfully, nothing more, nothing less. Don’t get hung up on the language.

  43. WHATS MORE INTERESTING THAN ANY OF THIS IS THAT IN THE PAST THIS MAN WAS AN ADDAMENT SUPPORTER AND FOLLOWER of Louie Farrakhan an anti-white, anti-semite this issue was glossed over in the campaign and is still glossed over not once has any "reporter" questioned him on whether or not he still ascribes to those beliefs, but with his history especialy on these issues his stance of loyalty to the Koran is expected

  44. mahons

    sorry but it is because it is not a game that they should give you an oath that you can swear to with some expectation of upholding. I seriously find it distateful to swear to something that I cannot do.

    Why don’t they change the oath to swear to answer the questions fully and truthfully?

    It’s tied up with the stuff I got into on the Two Heros thread about churchill and Turning. My kind don’t tend to like to make false statements.

  45. Aileen: You have the tenacity of my six year old nephew who has made the act of asking "why?" to every sentence an artform.

  46. Mahons

    The funny thing is I was talking about this this afternoon. I had had a meeting at Portculus House at Westminster a couple of weks ago, (to talk about ND matters) and when there was a bit of a queue at reception I rang the office on my nobile to let them know I had arrived. For some reason you are not meant to use mobiles in the vicinity of the reception, but I didn’t see the notice. I became aware of people muttering around me and the phrase "you can’t use mobiles in here". I remember thinking, that’s obviously not true because I could and I was". I was telling someone about this, this afternoon and the issue of interpreting language literally and we got onto the issue of being on oath and the dfiifculties that some of us would have with it.

    I forgot to say we tend to be tenacious too. ;o)

  47. Sometimes you can lose your head over an oath. Think of St. Thomas Moore.

  48. Less is More. Sorry for typo, make that St. Thomas More.

  49. Mahons

    I can’t see him agreeing to swear an oath on the Koran, or the St James’s bible, supposing it was about then.

  50. I think ernest is the one who has been a bit too touchy here. He gets very touchy at anyone disagreeing with his comments, and lets face it finding an issue with a Muslim desiding not to swear an oath on the bible is really scraping the barrel of faultfinding. I mean the poor man couldn’t win. I bet if he had sworn on the bible the same critics would have accused him of mocking a book he doesn’t believe in.

  51. Colm: Correct and not obnoxious (like me). I’ll have to take lessons from you.

  52. Mahons

    I don’t think the King of the six word story needs to take lessons from anyone !

  53. ‘his stance of loyalty to the Koran is expected’ well yes with that background…& how did he get elected in the first place if thats his pov..shocking. his decision to ‘announce’ this is grandstanding. He sounds like a right charming little sh1t stirrer.

  54. No Alison, it’s the intolerant mob who insist wrongly that everyone must only use the bible who are doing the stirring.

  55. Like I said during the election his ties to Farrakhan were taboo The main stream press wouldn’t ask and everytime anyone outside the press brought it up they were labelled a racist… as for getting elected once endorsed by the democrat party the sheep in that party will elect anyone thats on the ticket thats been proven time and time again with known criminals that hold office in the democrat party ie: Alcee Hastings, William Jefferson, The Mayor of Wash DC can’t think of his name but was caught smoking crack on tape all got re-elected the list is much much longer than I could even post here…

    Minor things like corruption, drug use, rape, etc etc are not only NOT disqualifers on the democrat side it is forbidon to even raise the topic if you do you are practicing the politics of hate

  56. Colm

    Like it or not the majority of Americans are christians, the country was founded on christian principals and the majority believe that if you can’t swear on a bible that makes you an odd minority NOT the majority odd for expecting you to do it….

  57. Troll

    It doesn’t matter if 99.9% of Americans are Christians, the other 0.1% should not be compelled or pressured one iota to participate in a Christian ritual. That is the essence of your nation’s tolerance and freedom that you should be proud of.

  58. Why would a Christian want a non Christian to swear on the bible

  59. Troll – Do RCs think the oath is invalidated if it’s taken on a Prod Bible and do Prods think the oath would be invalidated if taken on an RC Bible ?

  60. Troll,

    I’m with you.

  61. I’m with the Woolwich David 😉

    But to be serious David – would you take an oath on a Roman catholic Bible, or regard it as binding ? To be honest, even the prod pnes, I have my doubts about a lot of the modern translations. It’s the KJB for me.

  62. David & Troll prove themselves closer to the Islamofascists that they care to imagine.

  63. Colm

    wait until they start fatwas

  64. As long as David keeps off the beans we’ll be OK 🙂

  65. Groan… that was awful Mad 🙁

  66. Best I could do at such short notice Colm !

  67. Are there Roman Catholic Bibles now?

    What ever happened to the Bible?

  68. "What ever happened to the Bible?"

    I think Mel Gibson bought the rights.

  69. "What ever happened to the Bible?"


  70. Garfield – the Bibles used by Roman Catholics are different from the ones used by protestants. Hence the questions for Troll and David – and anybody else who wishes to give their thoughts.

    Quakers are sensible.

    They don’t take Oaths – two reasons

    1) Jesus forbid oaths ( Matthew 5 ""But I say to you, do not take oaths at all…")
    2) Christians are already supposed to ONLY tell the truth. There isn’t a truth for everyday use and then a proper truth that swearing on the bible ensures.

    Matthew 5, KJB
    [33] Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
    [34] But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
    [35] Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
    [36] Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
    [37] But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

  71. You’re right, MR, "Quakers are sensible."


    "Quaker groups and members have come under government surveillance and infiltration at various times in history, from the McCarthy era to Vietnam. The pacifist church was in the forefront of protest in the run-up to the Iraq war and since then has worked to counter military recruitment efforts in high schools."

  72. Quakers are fine people Alan.
    How do you get round Matthew 5 ?

  73. Just heard on the Radio Ellison is now saying he will not only swear on the Bible but says he never said he wouldn’t …LOL

  74. Christians want people to swear on the Bible because they believe everyone believes in god no matter what you call him and you are taking an oath befor god …

    No one except aetheists really believe that aetheists don’t know deep down inside that there just may be a god…

  75. Colm
    It is not a Christian ritual to make people swear before God to tell the truth…

    It is a HUMAN ritual the ancient greeks and romans had to swear befor their gods

    Its the fear of punishment from something/someone that you can’t escape from that are its roots

    Your anti-christianity is your narrow view…LOL

  76. Remember to one and to all if you are a follower of Christ no matter what sect you are All you really are is a reformed Jew all christian texts take there roots from the Torah….

  77. "How do you get round Matthew 5 ?"

    I have no idea what this question means. Any suggestions?

    And, Troll, why would we atheists care what others think we know deep down inside?

  78. Troll

    I am not anti-Christian at all. Just a believer in and respecter of genuine freedom.

  79. <Q>I have no idea what this question means. </Q>

    I’m pointing out that taking oaths on the bible is unchristian.

    Troll – How is it Christian to take an oath on the Bible when Christ specifically said NOT to take Oaths, on the bible or otherwise ?

    And I wasn’t trying to trap you and David when I asked that about which version of the Bible. Protestants and Catholics use different Bibles.

  80. >> 1) Jesus forbid oaths ( Matthew 5 ""But I say to you, do not take oaths at all…")<<

    That’s the clinching argument.

    You will, MR, no doubt also be in favour of abolishing the mandatory oath to the Queen for members entering the UK parliament

    BTW, do the Unionists here think that a (British) republican entering your parliament should swallowhis principles and take the oath or should he/she do a Gerry on it?

    Does anybody know what the wording of that oath is, or where it can be found on the Net?

  81. OK, just found it, and it is of course an oath To the Queen, not ON the Queen (mahons?).

    I plead early Saturday morning.

    It’s interesting: a member (of both Commons or Lords) can take the oath or, if he/she doesn’t wish to do so, make a "solemn affirmation".

    The oath can also be taken on the Bible, the Old Testament (for Jews) or the Koran (for Muslim members).

    The text of the Solemn Affirmation is:

    "I, Noel P. Cunningham, do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors according to law".

    In any case, my first question still stands:

    Should a (British) republican entering Parliament swallow his principles and take the oath or should he/she do a Gerry on it?

  82. >>>All you really are is a reformed Jew <<<

    and Jews are just reformed Zoroastrians. Get over it.

  83. Whataboutery Cunningham ?

    I’m genuinely interested in David and Troll’s take on the points I raised about the validity of the different bibles and the whole question of oath taking.

    I have no problem with Westminster MPs affirming 🙂

  84. <Q>should he/she do a Gerry on it?</Q>

    As in La Mon "doing a Gerry" ?

    Or as in his claim that he was in Jail when Jean McConville was abducted and Murdered ?

    Or his "word" that the IRA were not linked to the killing of Gerry McCabe?

    Or the claim that none of the Colombia 3 were linked to SF/MI5?

    His word is as worthless as his movement.

  85. >>His word is as worthless as his movement.<<

    I didn’t mean his word, but his very lack of it, i.e. his refusal to take the oath.

    What’s the general opinion, should British republicans switch off their principles for a moment and swear or should then refuse to take the oath to HM (and be sworn at!)?

  86. Swearing an oath is a piece of supersticious nonsense and essentially a gimmick of personal spin. The individual who honestly aims to uphold all the correct virtues in office doesn’t need to take an oath , and the politician who will lie cheat and steal his way to the top will happily take whatever oath is put in front of him.

  87. If it is true as Troll says that this man claims he will swear on the bible and never intended otherwise then this whole thing has been a fuss about nothing

  88. No Alison, it’s the intolerant mob who insist wrongly that everyone must only use the bible who are doing the stirring.

    No Colm Keith Ellison is being intolerant and insisting on making a point.

  89. which you answered yourself in a comment above at 2.21pm btw!

  90. I enjoyed this thread so much, I thought I would keep it going. From Sunday’s Detroit Free Press:


    "In a telephone interview, [Kari] Moe [Keith Ellison’s incoming chief of staff] said the tradition is for all members of Congress to be sworn in together on the House floor. It’s in the photo-op ceremony that a Bible is used — or in Ellison’s case, the Quran."

    So, the bible/koran/torah is not even part of the swearing in ceremony. All this over a Photo Opportunity!

  91. oh my god. this is so sad. so he *is* using this like i thought.

  92. So they are ALL sad and use this for pious phot op purposes.

  93. New comments on this issue (Jewish groups slam Prager for Koran remarks) from Jewish Telegraphic Agency – Dec 3, 2006


    "Prager’s column was “intolerant, misinformed and downright un-American,” the Anti-Defamation League said, adding that Prager’s recent appointment to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council holds him to a higher standard."

  94. who made the annoucement about the private koran bit. did prager go snooping or did ellis announce his intention publicly?

  95. Alison,

    I don’t know the answer to your question, but here’s another interesting comment, this time from the letters to the editor in Ch in Texas’ Dallas Morning News:


    A local rabbi writes:

    "In 19th-century Britain, Lionel Rothschild fought a 25-year campaign against Jews having to take a Christian oath to be seated in the House of Commons. He was elected and forced to resign three times before Parliament conceded his right to take his seat. He was finally sworn in on an Old Testament.

    "I’m sure Mr. Rothschild’s enemies saw themselves as the defenders of British civilization. Is Mr. Prager saying Mr. Rothschild simply should have sworn upon the true faith of a Christian?"

  96. It’s hard to believe that a twat like Prager, who can’t even get his facts right, was recently appointed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council !

  97. Cunningham,

    Is it easier to believe if I tell you he was appointed by the current US president?

  98. Oh, I see. That explains it.

  99. At least he kept him out of FEMA.

  100. As in, "Ya doin’ a great job, Pragie!"

  101. Bingo.

  102. Its hard to believe an extreme twat like Ellis was elected let alone can happily grandstand on a religion that massacred his countrymen and noone thinks any the worse of him. Oh but nasty nasty Prager yessss…what a prat.. for …daring to suggest…not even that actually!

  103. Alison,

    The argument central to this thread ("it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book") is based on Prager’s false assertions and David Vance’s endorsement of them. You live in a country that has a state religion; we Americans do not, and we are all the better for it.

  104. did he or didnt he grandstand on Islam? In my book excuse the pun Ellis is just as bad. So it matters little to me whether or not Pragers facts are right – the point conveyed that i took up was his indigantion at Ellis’ own indignation. If the book matter little why did Ellis feel the need to make such a point? They are therefore just as bad as each other.

  105. Alsion: In fairness the issue wasn’t the Congressman himself, whose views are of course subject to criticism, but the reported desire he wanted to use the Koran to be sworn into office.

    We do not hold the entire religion of Islam responsible for September 11th. In fact, our ability to tolerate many religious beliefs is what drives the terrorists crazy and ultimately will allow us to triumph.

  106. ellis possibly worse for creating a non issue in the first place (on which prager then commented). but i am actually none the wiser as to whether prager probed or ellis pontificated.

  107. I think it beyond insensitive of ellis to make an unnecessary issue of islam. the way i see it – he made the issue and prager commented as he is free to do also..in addition to ellis being free to swear on what he likes in private. however if as i suspect ellis played on this, created the non issue and therefore played on peoples just fears then he is as bad at shit stirring as prager.

  108. Alison: I am not a fan of the Congressman-elect, and his embrace, even for a temporary period, of the Nation of Islam, calls into question his judgment. However, allowing him to use the Koran doesn’t take away from our culture, it advances it.

  109. Alison,

    Check out this comment at TownHall:


    "I’m sympathetic to the idea that we should be careful that our multiculturalism and tolerance does not lead us to excuse the inexcuseable. I agree that we shouldn’t make special exceptions for Muslims behaving badly in our society just because Muslims are both the most sensitive minority group of late and the coolest group to be sensitive on behalf of. But Ellison’s using a Koran in his swearing-in does not fit into either of those categories."

    P.S. I still don’t have an answer to your question (did prager go snooping or did ellis announce his intention publicly?), but as you may have guessed, I don’t care.

  110. Yes i suppose i did. But i think you should. Particularly if he has sashayed with the Nation of Islam. It is the ‘not caring’ that led the UK to adopt the MCB and MPAC as the moderate voice pieces for muslims in this country, to tolerate their setting themselves apart, their demans and eventually to people like the young caretaker in the gym where the July 7 bombers preached saying he was aware that something was ‘wrong’ but didnt want to say anything because he though he would be decried ‘a racist’, a trouble maker, a critic of someones viewpoints. A disaster. Highlighting people making emphatic points about religion especially Islam, at this stage in history and doing so early on is important for America.

  111. mahons – it isnt him using the book for his personal oath. its the point he made announcing it when it is a private matter. thats what counts. he sounds like a trouble maker to me. but good luck with that guys if you think otherwise. we turned a blind eye to the rushdie affair because it was their right culturally to be upset by these views and air them in the name of free speech, the great british tradition. we thought it added to our liberal tolerant culture too. acorns and all that.

  112. Alison, you have accused Ellison of shit-stirring, creating fear and grandstanding, yet you do not even know what he said, where and to whom he said it!

    Yet you do know that it was Prager who brought this whole issue into the public eye, who deliberately stirred up religious hatred and fear ("If Keith Ellison is allowed to change that, he will be doing more damage to the unity of America …than the terrorists of 9-11"!!) and who stooped to distorting the facts and misrepresenting people just to make his sick propagands.

    Prager is either a total liar or he literally doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He got people like you to make fools of themselves. Stop defending him.

  113. Maybe they should use the old fashioned, pre-enlightenment way of slicing a finger and making some sort of blood oath.

    That would happily circumvent the religious aspect, yet still maintain the ‘traditional’ status of swearing an oath, that is supposed to be the highest and most sincere form of allegiance to the nation and the Constitution. Now if they made any breach of that oath a capital offence, we may get a few honest politicians!…

  114. Now you’ve got my attention, Alison. When you say "we turned a blind eye to the rushdie affair," I’m with you 100%. I am unalterably opposed to the criminalization of blasphemy, let alone calling for death to the blasphemer. I’m still angry with Cat Stevens and anyone else who did not defend Rushdie and confront the Ayatollah.

  115. Well he is grandstanding but to be fiar to me I have asked the question and noone knows.

    ‘Yet you do know that it was Prager who brought this whole issue into the public eye, who deliberately stirred up religious hatred and fear’

    No I dont Cunningham. Dat is de point. You are accusing Prager of commenting. I think i made that clear above. But im off to watch that you tube thing. Bored with this now because we dont know who started it so its hard to comment. I just think you is all daft like for accusing Prager when you dont know who created the issue. Though as i said above i think i hazard a guess.

  116. "it was their right culturally to be upset by these views and air them in the name of free speech, the great british tradition. we thought it added to our liberal tolerant culture too. acorns and all that."

    They were right to be upset by that and they were entitled to give expression to that insult. We made the mistake or rather some of our representatives made the mistake of pandering to this though by the denounciation of Rushdie.

  117. Forgot to say that the right to give expression to their upset dit not run to making death threats.

  118. Mahons

    When is your peice going to materialise and can you give us a taster?

    Unliess I’m very much mistaken you will be the first nationalist to have an ATW thread.

    Hall of Fame ;o)

  119. Hello, Ernest.

    Please see:
    where Eugene Volokh of the National Review Online says:

    "If you want the oath to be maximally effective, then it is indeed entirely true that "all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book." That book is the one that will most impress the oathtaker’s mind with the duty to comply with the oath.

    "Of course, some might care less about making the oath more effective, and more about using the oath to reinforce traditional American values, in which they include respect for the Bible (the "only … book" "America is interested in") over other holy books. That, I take it, is part of Prager’s argument, especially when he goes on to say, "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."

    "Yet this would literally violate the Constitution’s provision that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." For the devout, taking an oath upon a religious book is a religious act. Requiring the performance of a religious act using the holy book of a particular religion is a religious test. If Congress were indeed to take the view that "If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book [the Bible], don’t serve in Congress," it would be imposing an unconstitutional religious test."

  120. Alan

    At the risk of sounding rude and this is way OTm but why do Americans say "I could care less" when they really mean "I couldn’t care less" ?

    It has always confused me.

    When we say "I couldn’t care less" we are saying I don’t care at all, i.e. there is absoultely no scope for us to care less.

    If you say "I could care less", it has to mean that you care a bit up to a hell of a lot.

    Sorry but I just had to ask

  121. i agree there is nothing in th US that states anyone has to swear on a bible etc etc but its a huge pity people cant respect the judeo christian roots of America for one, second my points above abouting the importance of caring about this regards why it os an issue and who made the issue contentious.. and well regardless i think prager makes a good point on this overall.

  122. anyone who doesnt beleive in evolution should read this thread from top to bottom.


  123. But Alison, what makes you think Ellison made this issue contentious? Nothing. For all you know, he may have been speaking off the record, to his friends or to his family. Perhaps he never said anything at all. You don’t know.
    Yet that does not stop you accusing him of shit-stirring, generating fear, grandstanding, etc.

    You swallowed the word of a rabble-rousing bigot unquestioningly, and even continued to sup-port him when he’d been shown to be lying.

    BTW. There was one person who did make a contentious issue of this some time back. Haim Solomon, financier of the War of Independence, American patriot, Polish Jew, who led Philade-plia Jews to the Legislature and demanded and got a right to refuse to swear an oath on the Bible. Oh, yeah, I know, another grandstander and shit-stirrer!

  124. what made me think? well cunningham at least i did do that, so excuse me for not taking your comments about ya ya bigot ya ya rabble rousing tooooo seriously. i did ask some pertinent questions and Alan posted some links but i never really got to the bottom of it all: "who made the annoucement about the private koran bit. did prager go snooping or did ellis announce his intention publicly?"

    I asked the question, noone could answer and so i drew a conclusion that they were probably both as bad as each other. See above. But my own views on E and his nice chequered history lead me to conclude that he is a sh1t stirrer. I didnt need Prager to tell me that.

  125. Re Haim Solomon – not the same at all. since this is now based in post colonial america where there is no issue with religion because it is a private matter and you are no longer tested on your religion…least that is what you lot have led me to understand. Correct?

  126. Alison, I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

    >>america where there is no issue with religion because it is a private matter<<

    So what have you been on about here? Why does it bother you that a member takes an oath in a private capacity with his family and friends on the book of his religion, while other members take an oath on theirs?

  127. It doesnt. Its too late to go back and explain my pov now. I need some sleep. In v brief: It came down to him making the issue out of what is a private affair. my question to alan was who announced this – did prager go snooping or did ellison announce it?

  128. Good morning, Alison. Hope you slept well.

    Let me answer your "pov" post with my own pov. I recognize that ATW is a UK-oriented blog, and I tend not to comment on purely British/Irish threads. When the USA is discussed and misinformation is presented, I sometimes choose to contribute.

    As I stated above, the issue was framed by Prager and repeated by David Vance. Prager is an American who misrepresents the law and history of America, and David is glad to repeat the lie. You would like to change the subject to who did what first.

    In case I have not made my point of view sufficiently clear, your question was and is irrelevant.

  129. Alan or mahons or charles or Troll or Monica or someone American please answer my 10 36?

    I’m really interested in the rationale.

  130. >>Alan or mahons or charles or Troll or Monica or someone American please answer my 10 36?<<

    Aileen, I have a second cousin in the States, so allow me..

    I think it is an ellipsis of the sarcastic "As if there was something I could care less about".

    There are many similar sarcastic inversions and ellipses in US Engl:
    "I should be so lucky", "So what’s new?"

  131. Alan

    I did thanks yes. You made it clear. Its irrelevant to you and in so far as the Constitution goes regards what he swears on. My ‘point of view’ (why the ”?) above was not a dig at you Alan though i would guess from your general tone that you feel it was. I thought it was somewhat silly for a few people to round on and comment on Prager without acknowledging that whilst his general facts on the history are incorrect his point is not and it is a point of view to which he is entitled. Elsewhere I found a rather poignant comment on this whole ‘debacle’ which takes into account the erroneous facts without the general lean towards the increasingly obnoxious from those that dislike Prager.

    I think the post and the point of view from Prager remain valid regards Ellisons position. Pragers facts are cleared up. But the motives remain far from clear regards Ellison. Usually when it comes to publicity it is the publicist for the client who works out how and if something is presented to the media. Im sure Ellison has a publicist. And im sure that the underlying current was to distill the information to generate a certain amount of heat, not at him of course. But at anyone who would choose to have an opinion on his choice.

    ‘Dennis Prager makes a great point in his article, and I’d like to agree with him, but alas I don’t think I can. We do have religious freedom in this country, and that does include citizens not being tested on religion. Keith Ellison is a citizen. He has to be in order to become a member of Congress. There is nothing in the Constitution, or any other law, or document which calls for members of Congress to swear on the Bible when they are sworn into Congress. The whole swearing on the Bible thing is something George Washington made up, and everyone else followed. In fact, there have been three Jewish members of Congress who did not swear on the Christian Bible, but instead swore on the Torah.

    What are you gonna say?

    Yes, Prager is right, this will probably open the floodgates. Maybe Barney Frank will swear on an Oscar Wilde book next time, and maybe the Buddhist guys will swear on some Buddhist text, or whatever. And yes, I agree with Prager that it would be better if citizens acknowleged the Judeo-Christian roots of our country, but there is no mandate in the Constitution to do so’ (chap called Pastorius at IBA)

    In other words its irrelevant in so far as your constitution is concerned but not as the comment indicates in how far reaching that becomes for the US in general and certainly not in Ellisons underlying motives for starting fires.

    Thats a take from an ignorant Brit. And I know how you feel about correcting stuff on blogs btw. I spend a good deal of time correcting American blogs left and right – LGF gets my award for posting stuff to present a nicely skewed vision of the UK and the comments section dont take nearly so kindly to my correcting them!

  132. Ill leave it there btw Alan, think this has run its course.

    Aileen – the other one is ‘neither’ and ‘nor’, i think. Or some other negative. Dont think they use them

  133. <Q>its a huge pity people cant respect the judeo christian roots of America for one</Q>

    If we are talking Christianity, Matthew 5 precludes the entire ceremony….

  134. All this talk of Judeo-Christian roots is rather unfair to the Greeks and Romans. Equal rights for those who wish to swear their oath by Zeus or Jupiter.

  135. pssst America – your roots are showing 😉

  136. "I agree with Prager that it would be better if citizens acknowleged the Judeo-Christian roots of our country, but there is no mandate in the Constitution to do so"

    Judeo-Christian values has the first commandment. American values has the first amendment. The two flatly contradict, yet nutjobs continue to claim that one is based on the other.

  137. Thank you, Alison, for saying that "LGF gets my award for posting stuff to present a nicely skewed vision of the UK." My argument, which has also been presented "without the general lean towards the increasingly obnoxious" by right-wing bloggers here in America, is that Prager presented a skewed vision of the USA. He used "erroneous facts" to reinforce a prejudice against the secular nature of America, and you and David and Ernest bought into it.


    I’m sorry I didn’t answer your question about American colloquialisms, but it’s just not my field. In retrospect, I would have been better served using the term ‘irrelevant" earlier in my comments to describe Alison’s question instead of the phrase I chose. Sorry for the unintended cross-Atlantic confusion.

  138. He used "erroneous facts" to reinforce a prejudice against the secular nature of America, and you and David and Ernest bought into it.

    No I dont think I did. I did quite a lot of probing at the start (and elsewhere), took on board your additions and drew my conclusion at the end.

    I think the difference here is that most commenters discuss the wide issues quite reasonably with a range of interesting points of view themselves.

  139. that last bit sounded awful what i mean is – with a range of interesting viewpints so you can put stuff straight and contribute to the debate. at LFG they arent interested. period. (as you americans would say)