Thursday, December 28, 2006

Republicans vs. the First Amendment

What kind of country have we turned into? I thought the first amendment still had some clout, even with GWB (for the rest of this blog he will be known as Shrub) still in office. I thought freedom of religion still meant something in this country. I thought that the nation was responsible enough to take care of its own when an act of G-D, displaced hundreds of thousands of Americans. In my America, we wouldn’t be spending billions in Iraq and millions in Katrina devastated communities.. This could get repetitive so let me focus one thing for now.

When individuals are elected to Congress, some of them choose to take part in a ceremonial swearing in process. This ritual is normally done using a Christian Bible, but that is only the norm because most people in this country are Christian. The Jewish members of Congress have often chosen to be sworn in using a Tanakh, or Jewish Bible. Mormons have chosen to use the book of Mormon. Up until a few weeks ago there was not much of a story here. That is until the freshmen of the 110th Congress were elected 6 weeks ago.

Keith Ellison was elected from the 6th Congressional District of Minnesota. This district includes Minneapolis. I presume there is a significant Jewish population in the area. It turns out to be a population of 29,100. Considering that a district is made up of 650,000 voters this is a substantial number. This is not the number of people who vote, but simply the people registered to vote. As many of you know not everyone gets around to voting especially in an off year election. The number of Jews in a district is important only in the fact that Representative Ellison is a practicing Muslim. As a follower of that religion he has chosen to take his oath on the Koran.

This decision has enraged many conservatives. Representative Goode (R-Va ), has led the charge of the conservatives. They want this man to swear an oath on the Christian Bible. I happen to be Jewish, so I don’t really have a dog in this fight. My question is the following; if you want this man to take the oath seriously shouldn’t he use the book of his faith. Is he going to respect the oath on the Christian Bible if he doesn’t believe that to be a sacred text? I think this is an absurd thing to waste energy on. There is still a First Amendment in this country and those individuals elected to Congress do not give up these rights upon election to office. If you believe as I do feel free to contact Rep. Goode, and tell him to stop the unpatriotic behavior. Isn’t this still America?

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