When Keith Ellison was sworn in to Congress in 2007, he chose, as most new members of Congress do, to stage a “ceremonial” taking the-oath-of-office in addition to the official, en-masse, affirmation of the constitution conducted by the House of Representative Speaker in the House Chamber. Per House rules, no members in the official en-mass swearing-in may do so with a Bible or other religious tracts. Those members who choose to participate in an additional “private ceremonial” swearing-in may, however, do so with a Bible, Quor’an, any Holy book or no religious text at all.
During his private ceremonial swearing-in, Mr. Ellison used a Quor’an that had been owned by Thomas Jefferson. Conservative political pundit Dennis Praeger and the usual gang of right wing pontificators, exhibiting ignorance of the constitution and tradition, made an issue of Mr. Ellison’s use of the Muslim Holy Book during his ceremonial swearing=in.
Little did Mr. Praeger know then, how advantageous it would be for the U.S. Government to have an elected Muslim available for diplomatic initiatives in the Mideast and Africa. In January, Congressman Ellision talked about this point with Tim O’Brien on Democratic Visions.
Democratic Visions is produced by volunteers through DFL Senate District 48 (Eden Prairie/Minnetonka). The program is Minnesota’s best looking and sounding video venue for progressives and DFLers.