When Keith Ellison, the recently elected Minnesota Democrat who will be the first Muslim in Congress, announced that he would take his oath of office on Islam’s holy book, the Qur’an, he provoked sharp criticism from conservatives and some heated discussion in the blogosphere.
The ensuing discussion has revived the debate about whether America’s values and legal system are shaped only by Judeo-Christian heritage or if there is room for Islamic and other traditions.
“America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress,” Dennis Prager, a conservative talk radio host in Los Angeles, wrote in a November 28 TownHall.com editorial. Prager, who is Jewish and serves on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, argued that Ellison should “not be allowed” to take his oath on the Qur’an.