From the Detroit Free Press:
"Conservative bloggers were outraged when former Detroiter Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, announced he would use the Quran for his swearing-in ceremony photo, instead of the Bible.
The American Family Association said it would push for a law to make the Bible the only acceptable book for such ceremonies."
If any member of Congress, regardless of party, so much as introduces such a law, I will be donating cash money to their opponent in the next election cycle. If anyone who purports to represent me signs on as a sponsor, I will find some spare time to work for his or her opponent's campaign.
It's pretty simple, really:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. -- U.S. Constitution, Amendment I.
Requiring someone to use a Bible, even as a prop, is tantamount to establishing a state religion. While I happen to be a member of that religion, it's none of my fucking business, nor is it anyone else's, if someone else doesn't subscribe to it.
I used to live in the district Rep. Ellison was elected to represent. Even though there is no way in hell I would have ever voted for him, I respect his right to exercise the religion of his choice. He could be a Scientologist using a copy of Dianetics and I'd say the same thing.
The Constitution specifies in Article VI, clause 3:
"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."
For other officials, including members of Congress, it specifies they "shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this constitution." At the start of each new U.S. Congress, in January of every odd-numbered year, those newly elected or re-elected Congressmen - the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate - must recite an oath:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
There you have it. If Keith Ellison can take the oath in good concscience, I hope he tells the haters in general and the American Family Association in particular to stick it.
And now back to the usual crappy poker content.