Friday, January 5, 2007

An Agnostic Form of Government

Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, was sworn in yesterday. As a Muslim, he chose not to swear in on the Bible, but on the Qur'an. And not just any Qur'an, mind you, but Thomas Jefferson's personal copy of it. Of course, now that this has happened, Virgil Goode is probably going to convince his constituents that Thomas Jefferson should be dug up and impeached.

The fact that there was even a controversy as to what book an elected representative could or could not swear in upon is not a good sign of the times. We are a country founded on religious freedom. Founded. This was not some post-modern semi-liberal concept that came from the struggle for civil rights or from a pot-smoking sax-playing former President. We were founded on the concept. Freedom for all, regardless of religious persuasion.

Given that, what difference does it make if Mr. Ellison swore in on the Qur'an, the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita, or, why not, the Kama Sutra? Given that, it shouldn't make any difference. Why would you want a public servant to swear on a book that represents something other than his or her beliefs, anyway? Doesn't that sort of negate the whole concept of swearing?

Still, there are those, including myself, that feel that we shouldn't use any type of holy scripture as a pretext to government service. I understand the traditions behind it, and I have no fundamental problem with it, but we are, or should be, an agnostic form of government, and should operate as such.

There's an easy solution, I think, to the holy book problem. One that is as nationalistic as it is appropriate. Why don't we swear our public officials in on a copy of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence? Our public officials are not elected to serve any one god, or gods, they are elected to serve us, the people, this country. We have two documents that represent the very fabric of this nation. Two documents that are, fundamentally and philosophically, the very fabric of this nation. By swearing our officials in on those two documents, we ensure that they are swearing in to serve us, to serve the United States of America. Not the Christian States of America, not the Islamic States of America, not the Taoist States of America, but the UNITED States of America. And if there were ever an elected official that refused to swear in on those two documents, I'm pretty sure there wouldn't be many people opposed to taking their office away from them.

And, while we're at it, what's wrong with taking "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance? It really doesn't bother me that those words are in it, but come on, now. "One Nation, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All" sounds just fine to me.

We are, or should be, an agnostic form of government.

Pointless Musings

What would we make toilet paper out of if there weren't any trees?

The O.C.
has been cancelled. There are brains in Hollywood. Now if only we could get rid of One Tree Hill.

A 12-year-old special education student was charged with disorderly conduct after wetting her pants. Wow. I'd be serving a life sentence if I were charged every time I pissed myself. Okay, that's not true... it'd be a double.

I just saw a question on the Internet. Basically, who would you rather invite to a party: Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, or Lindsay Lohan? I'd have to say Paris Hilton, because she looks the easiest to knock out when she gets annoying.

Eli Manning's team record in the regular season since he joined the NFL is now a whopping 25-23. The Chargers? A measly 35-13.


Anonymous said...

This is one of your best. A little quick at the end yet still good.

As for your pointless musings, the answers are cotton, yay! and blasphemy!, special ed. doesn't mean what it used to, I agree, and goody for you.

Posted by Jessica Lynn on January 5, 2007 - Friday - 9:17 AM

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Pledge of Allegiance: Weren't you the one damning that idiot in San Diego for suing the city over that big cross?

The same people arguing to remove that cross are the same ones who say take "God" out of the pledge and off our money.

I want it there, if for no other reason than that's the WAY IT WAS WRITTEN! And we shouldn't be rewriting our history on a whim.

Nor should we rewrite our pledge or recast our currency based on the ravings of a few malcontents who have nothing better to do than protest something that's been around for so many years.

However...that said...I like your swearing politicians in on the Constitution idea. I'd get behind that.

Posted by Geoffry on January 5, 2007 - Friday - 8:12 PM

Anonymous said...

The Pledge of Allegiance was originally written in the late 19th Century, with absolutely no reference to God, a god, or any other higher power. Also, it's been rewritten several times, the most recent of which was in the 1950s, at which point the "Under God" phrase was added... so...

As far as the cross in San Diego, there is simply no connection between that cross and the city government, other than in the eyes of who owned the property. The city wasn't worshiping there, doesn't fund its upkeep, and has made every honest attempt to place the cross in the hands of private owners, thereby keeping with a separation of church and state. I also don't think that the people behind trying to remove the cross are of the same vein as the people trying to eliminate "Under God." Sure, there's overlap, and a lot of anti-establishment propaganda in both, but... eh, this is another blog entirely...

Posted by JeffScape on January 5, 2007 - Friday - 8:24 PM

Anonymous said...

@Geoffry: God wasn't in the pledge and God wasn't on our money in the beginning. Get some facts.

Posted by Jessica Lynn on January 9, 2007 - Tuesday - 12:37 PM

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