• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Standing on ceremony

Conservatives are supposed to cherish and promote the values and institutions that make America uniquely special. It helps when they know what those values and institutions are, as this one clearly does not:

The first Muslim elected to Congress hasn't been sworn into office yet, but his act of allegiance has already been criticized by a conservative commentator.

In a column posted Tuesday on the conservative website Townhall.com, 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.


Jeff Pruitt
Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:52am

Well said Leo...

tim zank
Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:03am

The stars are aligned again...
I concur....

Bob G.
Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:45am

Oh, don't think for one minute that ANY of these congresspeople don't have their left hand on something...they DO.

It's called your WALLET...!

(and as we all know, the right hand never knows what the left one is doing)



Tue, 12/05/2006 - 11:44am

Swearing on the Constitution would be a better idea,especially for judges who twist,turn and go outside law and the Constitution to make decisions.
I personally think it is better to have one swear on the object that makes him or her feel committed to the oath than an object that means nothing.

Steve Towsley
Tue, 12/05/2006 - 6:13pm

Swearing on the Constitution at first hearing seems a great idea, until you stop to recall what some liberals claim the Constitution means to them.

Lord help us if some of these self-appointed Improvers of the Constitution were any MORE sanctimoniously die-hard in their mistaken view of life in the US.

Jarrett Ivey
Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:06pm

Apparently, one is not supposed to EVER swear on the Bible, for that would be swearing on the name of God, and vainly. I feel that the general verbal OMG is fine since it's unoffical and informally used. But on camera (whether it was manipulated post-production or not), in a Federal building, for a Federal office, and for allegiance to a single nation? That is not only fundamentally blasphemous, but tacky. I don't know what the Qur'an says about this issue though; i'm not as educated on the Islamic sects and their cultures.

Jarrett Ivey
Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:40pm

Liberals and democrats alike, man. I'm a liberal, but I've been blessed with the cynical insight so common amongst homosexuals. I know that moderation is the key in politics and life, and that the vast majority of Americans are on-the-fence moderates just waiting from a barking politician from either side of the yard to say something that will strike a chord with them. I see that both sides are extremes of rational behavior in society, and that both sides are highly stubborn.

Conservatives wave a tattered and faded banner of maintaining tradition and limiting government's ability to help (in the case of notorious conservatives pandering to religious groups while cutting back social programs) or interfere in their lives (in the case of notoriously wealthy conservatives enacting legislation that limits the government's ability to collect [their] taxes). Yet this is not a far cry from a society losing it's ability to learn from its past, or entering into stagnation.

And, equally unhelpful, liberals have huge day-glow posters that sport tacky, Sharpie-outlined words urging social and scientific progress...progress that is admirable, yet oftentimes blind. Liberals call for more direct government involvement in society - from health care to social programs to education. There should be an increase of funding to the sciences, the arts, and all of these faceless programs that promise to better American life in general. The problem is that liberals tend to try to help all of the people, all of the time, at any expense. The idea is noble, but this ultimately leads to a chaotic state.

At this point, the Constitution can only be improved upon by liberals. Conservatives are their checkers and balancers, insuring that liberals don't go too far, too quickly.

Steve Towsley
Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:08am

I agree almost without reservation that the Constitution "can only be improved upon by liberals." And liberals are virtually doomed to be eternal misfits in American society because, very simply, the Constitution doesn't need much if any improving upon.

If I may be permitted a lighthearted observation at this point, I guess it sucks to be them.

Wed, 12/06/2006 - 7:50am

Lest you forget, it was a bunch of liberals who brought you the Constitution. The conservatives of their time still believed in the Divine Right of Kings.

Leo Morris
Wed, 12/06/2006 - 9:25am

Surely you jest, Doug -- or maybe you mean "liberal" and "conservative' in a general sense rather than a political one. Since the founders sought to maximize freedom and severely limit government, I could just as easily tag them libertarian. But it's awfully risky to judge previous generations by today's political sensibilities. A "liberal" who advocated, for example, the 9th and 10th amendments, and a "liberal" who thinks there is no issue the federal government shouldn't tackle today, are not ideological soulmates.

Wed, 12/06/2006 - 10:35am

Oh, a little jesting, a little using the terms in a general sense, I suppose. Ultimately it tends to come down to how one defines "liberal" and "conservative," I suppose. To me, these terms seem less and less useful as the years go by.

As a rule of thumb, I tend to think of conservatives as favoring the status quo and liberals as seeking change. Obviously this rule of thumb has enormous flaws, not least of which is determining at what point to freeze the status quo. Obviously, if a conservative preferred the 50s and the culture changed in the 60s, the conservative would want "change" back to the 60s and the liberal would want to keep the 60s status quo.

In any event, when folks like Mr. Towsley rail against the "liberals," I barely even know what they're mad about. Is it "universal suffrage" liberalism? Is it pro-union liberalism? Is it pro-gay liberalism? Is it liberalism where government is too big because it's promoting equality? Is it liberalism where government is too small because it won't outlaw abortion and sodomy or mandate prayer in schools? Is it idealistic liberalism that wants to be policeman to the world? Is it unprincipled, blame America liberalism that wants to refrain from invading other countries?

Maybe we need some kind of menu where you pick 2 from column A and 3 from column B.