Much has been made of late about Keith Ellison's insistance that he be sworn in as a U.S. Congressman on the Koran rather than a Bible. As a Muslim, his request is understandable. Still, traditionalists and those who feel that we are a Christian nation are up in arms over this "anti American" request.
Now there's a lot of good points made about the Constitution expressly forbidding a religious test to hold an elected office. That would seem to mean that while a tradition, swearing on the bible is not a legal requirement. But legalities aside, I think everyone is missing the larger point.
The reason we want someone to swear on a Bible is based on a belief that while someone might be inclined to lie to another person, they would be less likely to lie to God. The hand on the bible is a visceral reminder that the vow you are taking is not just before your peers, it is before and in witness of, God.
But if you are Muslim, of what significance is the Bible? The whole point is that the swearer should feel the presence of God while he swears. The Bible does not invoke that feeling in a Muslim. The Koran does. For crying in your beer, we want this guy to swear on a Koran. It has meaning for him, the meaning we desire. For him, swearing on the bible is as significant as swearing on Thursday's edition of USA Today.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the mechanics of ritualism, we forget why the ritual exists. The motions become more important than the meaning. And we become sheep, blissfully tended by shepherds long sice dead. Assuming that the worn paths in the fields represent their wisdom, and losing their larger purpose to the ether.
Bleat for me…
Way back when I was in for my dental cleaning, the hygienist was admonishing me for my lack of ritual flossing. Yes, yes, I know I’m supposed to, but I didn’t grow up flossing, I don’t like it, and well… I could go on rationalizing, but the reality is, I just don’t. But I admitted that to her. Honesty should count for something, right?
Anyway, this is the same girl that spotted my cracked tooth which resulted in me having to to be ground and fit with a new crown. I don’t have the final fake tooth yet, and have been sporting this temporary crown that I’ve decided is my hygienist’s revenge.
You see, the damn thing is a wee too small. There’s enough room behind this puppy to park half a ham sandwich and a ’69 Buick. The result is that after eating pretty much anything, I need to break out the floss. Damn her! She’s more clever than I ever imagined
AP News reports on Mon Dec 11, 3:32 PM ET
AUSTIN, Texas – A lawmaker in this firearm-friendly state wants to help more people get the chance to shoot live animals — even if those people can’t see.
A bill filed for the 2007 legislative session would permit legally blind hunters to use laser sights, or lighted pointing instruments.
“This opens up the fun of hunting to additional people, and I think that’s great,” said Republican Rep. Edmund Kuempel, the bill’s sponsor.
Visually impaired people are allowed to shoot now with the aid of a sighted person, he said, a requirement that would continue if the sights were legalized.
“I’ve seen this on TV before, when they’re taking target practice,” Kuempel said. “When they aim the gun, the guide tells them, aim two inches higher or two inches lower and you’re on the target, and you’re off and running.”
Kuempel’s bill would give the state until Jan. 1, 2008, to come up with a definition of legally blind so the law could be enforced.
Under existing law, the use of laser sights, spotlights and headlights is strictly prohibited in all Texas hunting. The practice can have the effect of making animals stand still as the light shines on them. Hunters using sights under the proposed legislation would have to carry proof that they are legally blind.
The Legislature convenes Jan. 9 for its 140-day session.
You can’t make this stuff up…
I should know better than to link to Fox News, but what the heck. Apparently Fox has uncovered an advance copy of a speech that Kofi Annan will be giving today. Fox reports that, the speech shows Annan is expected to accuse the U.S. administration of committing human rights abuses in the name of fighting terrorism, and of taking military action without broad international support.
The horror… This blog has also learned that Kofi will strongly “accuse” Goldie Hawn of being a blonde, and in a scathing lambaste, will also “accuse” certain Kraft cheese products of being Crumbelievable. Honestly, Fox should really go back to covering flag burnings and gay weddings.
Kim brings us a guest rant by local columnist Kevin Frisch called All You Need Is Hate. Inconceivably, to the Rush Limbaugh crowd, he opines that all liberals are not evil incarnate. It’s an interesting illumination of the “you’re either with us or you’re in league with Satan” strategy employed by the radical right. Definitely worth a read.