Well, it appears that the ignorant drivel spouted by Dennis Prager last month about incoming Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison is spreading throughout the right side of the aisle. Ellison, you'll remember, is Muslim and there is a fear among those on the right that he might take his oath of office using the Koran rather than the Bible. Never mind that no Congressperson is actually sworn in on a holy book:
House members are sworn in together on the House floor in a ceremony without any book, holy or otherwise. But in an unofficial ceremony, individual members re-enact an oath so it can be photographed. The tradition dates to the birth of photography, so congressmen could send photos back to their hometown newspapers.That's not stopping folks on the right from a good spew, however.
First, consider this column by disgraced Alabama Supreme Court judge and failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Roy Moore. Moore, who's inability to grasp basic concepts of Constitutional law would cause him to fail a first-year ConLaw class, thinks that Ellison cannot accurately swear to uphold the Constitution because it is contrary to his Muslim faith. Congress, by Moore's thinking, should exercise its right to "judge . . . the qualifications of its own members" and refuse to seat Ellison in Congress. I don't see how simply being Muslim means Ellison couldn't uphold the Constitution. I imagine Moore's grasp of Islam is even worse than his grasp of the Constitution, so I don't trust him on the matter. Besides, just as most Christians aren't fire-breathing Bible-thumping extremists, most Muslims - particularly in this country - aren't Sharia-loving theocrats.
Next, consider this post over at Glenn Greenwald's blog that contains the text of a letter sent out by Republican Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode, Jr., in which he manages to tie Ellison, who was born and raised in Detroit, to the problem of illegal immigration. We must stop the immigration of Muslims, Goode implores, lest our "values" and "resources" be "swamped." Goode conveniently overlooks that being Muslim is a choice, not a racial/ethnic characteristic, and the Government can't stop anyone from converting to Islam, immigration policies be damned. Unless, of course, you just want to do away with the First Amendment altogether, which probably isn't far from the truth.
I hope that once the next Congress starts this will all go away. Although if the GOP wants to continue to embrace such assholes, it only helps the Democratic cause in 2008.