Jonathan Tobin has a thought-provoking essay at Jerusalem Post online on the mini-flap caused by Keith Ellison’s statement that he would use a Koran to be sworn into office (as a Democrat congressman from Minnesota).
Rep.-elect Ellison, other than being a Muslim, would appear to be just another left-leaning politico. Leaving aside Ellison’s professed faith, there is something problematic in the extreme for a Koran to be used as a platform for swearing an oath of office in the United States. Reason? The Koran is not just another version of the Scriptures. It is in direct contradiction to some quite fundamental points for Jews, and for Christians.
The first, and obvious divergence is that the Koran has Abraham’s covenantal seed passed through Ishmael, not Isaac. So long, tribes of Israel; hello, tribes of Arabia. The second, and fatal, flaw for any Christian American is the denial of two basic tenets of the American Founders’ shared Christian faith: that Jesus was the messiah, and that he arose from the dead to be with God, his Father.
It is one thing to not believe; it is quite another to specifically give one’s allegiance to a book that denies the basics of Americans’ beliefs.
As a final reason that the use of the Koran is troubling, there is the stated belief that all people must submit to Islam, either through conversion, or to live as second (at best!) class citizens under some form of caliphate. This, at least, is the desired end state for Islam.
What about all those wretched Christian crimes against freedom of conscience? Islamist apologists like CAIR will usually trot out the Crusades and the Inquisition by way of counter example.
It is sad but true that, throughout most of their history, Christians have behaved badly towards those who were not Christian. To say the least. And that behavior most definitely included the by-now-standard “convert or die, infidel!”
Well, that may have been true, but in the post-Reformation, post-Enlightenment world, Christianity has become what Islam merely claims for itself: a religion of peace. One may accept Christianity, or not. In nations where Christians are the majority, at least here in the West, there is no compulsion; no force.
In majority Islamic nations, this is far from the case, and in some, it is not wise or even allowed to be anything other than a Muslim. Which brings me to the conclusion: it is not the swearing on a Koran that is at issue; it is the notion that a man feels so drawn to a creed such as Islam that is intrinsically un-American.
Un-American, not because most of its adherents are not Americans. No; Un-American because the faith requires conversion or submission to Islamic authority. This violates the basic premises of the American experiment: all people, men, and women, are created equal, and all shall have freedom of conscience.