Can An American Congressman Be Sworn In On the Qur’an?

December 1, 2006 at 7:51 pm | Posted in American politics, Congress, Democracy, Muslim | 24 Comments

Conservatives are whining that newly elected Congressman Kieth Ellison wants to be sworn in using the Qur’an instead of the Bible.

In a column posted Tuesday on the conservative website, Dennis Prager blasted Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison’s decision to take the oath of office Jan. 4 with his hand on a Quran, the Muslim holy book.

“He should not be allowed to do so,” Prager wrote, “not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American culture.”

He said Ellison, a convert from Catholicism, should swear on a Christian Bible — which “America holds as its holiest book. … If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress.”

But…technically and legally, there are no Constitutional requirements that one has to use a specific book for the swearing in. So can Mr. Ellison be sworn in on the Qur’an? What do you all think?


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  1. Of course he can. I can’t figure out why people get in a snit about these types of things.

    But I’ve never much liked Dennis Prager.

  2. Why not, if you want to split hairs about a holy book, which version of the bible should you use. King James, vs NIV etc.

    If no book is distinguished in the constitution then the idea of a bible or any holy book is only a symbolic gesture that you are willing to put you intergrity on the line with a higher being who will judge your honesty. Not what religion you are.

  3. I think he should be sworn in using the Quar’an. Then Mitt Romney can be sworn in as president using the Book or Mormon or at least a Quad combination. That would be awesome.

  4. No holy book is used at all during the swearing in ceremony. Dennis Prager doesn’t have a clue as to what he’s talking about.


    I wonder how long we’ll have to wait for the next time he does this sort of thing.

  5. I read the link you provided and it contains some interesting information that you didn’t mention.

    First, Mark N. is correct that the actual swearing in does not involve putting your hand on a book. The Quran would be used in a photo-op with the speaker that most new members engage in using a Bible. The event has no legal significance.

    As for Mitt perhaps using the Book of Mormon, the article contains the following passage:

    “Prager, who is Jewish, wrote that no Mormon elected official has ‘demanded to put his hand on the Book of Mormon.’ But Republican Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, carried a volume of Mormon scriptures that included the Bible and the Book of Mormon at his swearing-in ceremony in 1997.”

  6. There is no constitutional requirement and no statute as far as I know that says what to be sworn in on. If one wants to split hairs, that is a matter for Congress to decide. The only requirement is that a politician take an oath of office.

  7. Thanks for commenting everybody. While I’m not a conservative, I do agree with Barry Goldwater when he said:

    “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them…

    There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’”

  8. Have you ever thought why we revert to islam, if anyone calims to be a christian then islam is for him.That’s why christ taught, read the bible with
    open mind then quran you’ll find the answers. This book (quran) is for us(christian) it teaches morality, respect for women. sadly what we are doing in the name of christ is not the right way. we exploit women in the name of modernism, modernism is nothing more than exploitation of women from moraly , physically, emotionaly and everything. O christian recognize yorself if you follow the guidance of quran no force on earch can do anything to us.
    love to faithfuls…………

  9. New Muslim,

    Thanks for commenting. I’m sorry but I don’t share the same belief that Islam is the progression of Christianity. I’m pretty well versed in Christ’s teachings and don’t find the connection from his teachings to the Qu’ran, which appears seven hundred years later.

    Finally, about your point that Islam teaches respect for women, I think that many would have serious reservations about that point, based on the practical application of Islam. You’re right that in our secular world, women are objectified and exploited, and that a lot of the mistreatment of women also comes from the way some men have applied Christianity in their lives. That said, it doesn’t become a good enough excuse to jump to Islam, when Islam faces much the same problem. The objectification and exploitation of women is not exclusively religious based, but just something men think they have a right to.

    Men have a lot to learn…

  10. My dear here is a simple example of depressing women and it’s conenction
    with religion, we’ve been taught the concept of original sin.

    The serpent persuaded Eve to eat from the tree and “she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it (Genesis 3:6b, NAB).” After eating the fruit Adam became aware of his nakedness (Genesis 3:1-7).God bestowed a curse upon each of the active participants. First the earth is cursed with thorns. Next the serpent’s physical form is altered and God sets up an eternal enmity between Eve and the serpent and all their offspring (Genesis 3:9-15). God then pronounces two curses upon Eve. First, she is to suffer the difficulties of pregnancy. Second, her husband will henceforth rule over her. God then tells Adam that he will now struggle for his sustenance, and places the fault of fallen mankind on his shoulders (Genesis 3:16-21).

    Now read what Quran says

    Chapter 7 – V 11 to V 28

    NOTE * Allah = God

    It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We made the angels bow down to Adam, and they bowed down; not so Iblis; He refused to be of those who bow down.

    ((Allah)) said: “What prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?” He said: “I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay.”

    ((Allah)) said: “Get thee down from this: it is not for thee to be arrogant here: get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures).”

    He said: “Give me respite till the day they are raised up.”

    ((Allah)) said: “Be thou among those who have respite.”

    He said: “Because thou hast thrown me out of the way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on thy straight way:

    “Then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: Nor wilt thou find, in most of them, gratitude (for thy mercies).”

    ((Allah)) said: “Get out from this, disgraced and expelled. If any of them follow thee,- Hell will I fill with you all.

    “O Adam! dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden, and enjoy (its good things) as ye wish: but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression.”

    Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them, bringing openly before their minds all their shame that was hidden from them (before): he said: “Your Lord only forbade you this tree, lest ye should become angels or such beings as live for ever.”

    And he swore to them both, that he was their sincere adviser.

    So by deceit he brought about their fall: when they tasted of the tree, their shame became manifest to them, and they began to sew together the leaves of the garden over their bodies. And their Lord called unto them: “Did I not forbid you that tree, and tell you that Satan was an avowed enemy unto you?”

    They said: “Our Lord! We have wronged our own souls: If thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy Mercy, we shall certainly be lost.”

    ((Allah)) said: “Get ye down. With enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling-place and your means of livelihood,- for a time.”

    He said: “Therein shall ye live, and therein shall ye die; but from it shall ye be taken out (at last).”

    O ye Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness,- that is the best. Such are among the Signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition!

    O ye Children of Adam! Let not Satan seduce you, in the same manner as He got your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their raiment, to expose their shame: for he and his tribe watch you from a position where ye cannot see them: We made the evil ones friends (only) to those without faith.

    When they do aught that is shameful, they say: “We found our fathers doing so”; and “(Allah) commanded us thus”: Say: “Nay, Allah never commands what is shameful: do ye say of Allah what ye know not?”

    Believe me islam is for us

  11. New Muslim,

    Thank you for sharing that. You may find that Mormons have a slightly different version of the events in the Garden of Eden than most Christians do. We believe that Satan tempted Adam first (probably figuring that it would be easier to tempt man than woman), and then went to tempt the woman, Eve.

    Eve had a choice to make (which Adam did not make). God had commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth, but in their state in the Garden of Eden, they could not do that.

    2 Nephi 2:17-25 of the Book of Mormon

    17 And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.
    18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.
    19 And after Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit they were driven out of the garden of Eden, to till the earth.
    20 And they have brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth.
    21 And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.
    22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
    23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
    24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
    25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

    God had commanded Adam and Eve to multiply, but they could not do that in the state they were in. They could only do that if they had knowledge of good and evil, and had “known” themselves. To know good from evil, they had to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. They had two commandments playing off each other. If they did not multiply, they would have broken God’s commandment to multiply. If they ate of the tree of knowledge, they would have broken God’s commandment. Either way, God gave them a choice of two ways to break a commandment, because the only way to bring life to this earth was through knowing good from evil. Eve knew this and broke the commandment by eating of the fruit. She did more than Adam did for the coming of man on earth.

    It is a shame that Christianity plays her as the great sinner, when she really did them a favor. They’re here because of HER! I’m not sure though what Islam adds as a progression from Christianity though. You’ve not convinced me that the next “natural” step in progression is to Islam.

  12. my simple question is if pregnancy is the punishment for women
    because they are human then what about animals?
    The whole idea of original sin seems to be very unrealistic,
    un-natural.But what i find in islam a clear understanding( at least to me)
    “it was to show human from their very begining that satan is their worst enemy
    beware of him, don’t get fooled by him and his followers. he attacks you
    from the weekest point that’s sexuality. he wants to destroy your modesty.
    that is what we see in our society ( he is quite successful), and even the priest and pops are not free from
    these sins. it seems to me a planed assault against us. we are playing in the hand
    of those who don’t even accepted Christ rather they crucified him ( Which actualy is
    not the realy, Christ was never crucified believe me or at least Luke) but islam not only believes in
    Christ , it is the a compulsory part of muslim belief. One is not said to be a muslim
    if he doesn’t believe in christ.

  13. I don’t see pregnancy as a punishment for women. Both men and women were given hard labor.

    Christ was crucified. That did actually occur. Further, he resurrected and is alive today. That’s the beauty of the atonement of Christ. He died for our sins, but he also lived for our eternal salvation.

  14. How rediculous “Christ (PBUH) died for our sins”
    suppose you went out for a dinner and you’ve “prepaid” for everything.
    and you ask something which is never provided to you. what will be
    your reaction? same for sins if “Christ has died for our sins” then
    why the murder,rape and many other such actions are called “crimes” ? and why culprits are punished then?
    if “Jesus has already died for my sins” still i’ll be punished if i kill someone?
    This is even against of our nature . we’ll not punish good people for the sins of bads.
    So why Almighty God would punish “Love one” for so many bad people? Did christ die for people before him or after?
    These any many other questions i found answers in Islam.That’s why i’m what i’m right now.
    There are many stunning things ragarding Quran. It hasn’t changed since 14 hundred years so amazing
    it challanges(infact Almighty God Challanges) all humankind to produce even a single chapter like this
    and interestingly the smallest chapter of Quran is ch 108 and contains only three verses spaning 10 words just.

    The media classifies Muslims as “terrorists,” “highjackers” and “kidnappers.”
    So why would anyone even look at Islam? Why are so many priests and preachers going to Islam?
    Especialy american christian missionaries, why???
    watch here

    I’m your well wisher but the choice is yours.

  15. New Muslim,

    Jesus Christ died for our sins. This is His sacrifice. This can only be applied to us on the condition that we accept Him as our Savior. Thus if we accept him, his atonement washes us clean of our sins. If we do not accept him, we still have to pay for the consequences of our actions. If we accept Him, and then revert back to our sins, His atonement does not save us. We must once again repent and return back to Him.

    A prophet in the Book of Mormon states:
    2 Nephi 9:5-7, 25-26

    5 Yea, I know that ye know that in the body he shall show himself unto those at Jerusalem, from whence we came; for it is expedient that it should be among them; for it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him.
    6 For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.
    7 Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.
    25 Wherefore, he has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him.
    26 For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel.

    Another prophet in the Book of Mormon states:
    Alma 34: 8-10

    8 And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
    9 For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.
    10 For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.

    The choice is indeed mine. And I choose Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world.

  16. God can’t have son. God is selfsufficient entity outside this world and ever living in it’s nature.
    If you think the meraclous birth of Prophet Jesus is the proof that he is the son of God then Adam would also be a son of God? which is not the case.

  17. New Muslim,

    We are all literally sons and daughters of God, but Jesus is God’s Firstborn. We are all created of Him. We are really and literally His children. That is an amazing principle, because it speaks volumes about two things: God and us.

    1. God loves us so much because we are His children. Jesus said to Nicodemus:

    16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
    18 ¶ He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
    20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
    21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

    2. It speaks volumes about us humans. Our Father is God, the Eternal One, the Greatest of All. He is our Light. As children, we are also heirs to His Kingdom and His Glory if we but live His commandments. Take this out to its fullest, we have the potential to be like our Heavenly Father.

    What is the worth of a human soul?

  18. Do you know what you are attributing to God an “animal instinct” . Do you know what you are talking about when you say “begotten”. If this is the case what you believe then Jesus should be the first human in this world but he is not actually, and all human race would then have been descended from Him which is not the case. what about those who were created before Jesus?
    see what Quran says about God’s attribute.
    Chapter 112
    1 Say: He is Allah, the One and Only;
    2 Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;
    3 He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;
    4 And there is none like unto Him.

    God is alone the “Eternal” there is nothing like him. This is the universal fact that every category of “mammal” only gives birth to that particular category to which they belong, so human give birth to human its so simple so universal . The begotten has all the inherit attributes of the begotter. So if Jesus is the “begotten” son of God then he must have those attribute that are only meant for God, this is not the reality. we see (as this is generly believed by christians) he has to die for our sins. It proves that he is not Eternal and if he is not Eternal then he is not the God or not even the part of God. so the conclusion is that God never “begotten”

  19. An animal instinct? Procreation is a power of God, not an animal instinct. Through procreation, we create life. Not just any life, but a human being. This is no animal instinct. This is a power of God.

    Jesus is the First Begotten, the Son of God. We Mormons believe in a pre-mortal existence. We came from the presence of God to live on this earth, and as such, Jesus was the First Born of God the Father. He is not the first to come to earth though. That, obviously fell to Adam and Eve. Jesus, being begotten of the Father, actually does have the attributes of the Father. Jesus said in John 5:

    17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
    18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
    19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
    20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.
    21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
    22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
    23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

    Paul says in Romans 8:

    16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
    17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

    I’m sorry New Muslim, but my belief in God and in the eternal scheme of things is on a far grander scale than what Islam offers. According to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I am a son of God, and if I suffer with Christ, I will be a joint-heir with Christ, who will get all the Father hath.

  20. My Question is ‘Is Jesus “Eternal”‘ ? becuase God surely is.

  21. Animals also have the power to create life surely…

  22. New Muslim,

    Jesus is eternal. Mortal death in this world is not the end of life. We are all eternal.

    Of course animals have the power to create life. It doesn’t mean that the power is animalistic. Plants also have the power to create life.

  23. this was supposed to be about a congressman swearing in on a quran, not a religious debate.

  24. Thats right Chris. We should be talking about a Congressmen swearing in on the Qur’an or any Holy Text.

    And “New Muslim” I am very happy to see you found Islam. May Allah bless you.

    Islam is the most knowledge seeking religion in the world. The first word in The Holy Qur’an was “IQRA” (READ/RECITE).

    A great Muslim scholar named Imam Ash-Shafi (rahimullah) once said:

    Never do I argue with a man with a desire to hear him say
    what is wrong, or to expose him and win victory over him.
    Whenever I face an opponent in debate I silently pray –
    O Lord, help him so that truth may flow from his heart
    and on his tongue, and so that if truth is on my side, he may follow me;
    and if truth be on his side, I may follow him.

    “New Muslim” watch this:

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