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Has every Congressman sworn oath on Christian Bible?

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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-29-06 09:54 PM
Original message
Has every Congressman sworn oath on Christian Bible?
Does Dennis Prager have his historical facts right?

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/DennisPrager/2006/11...

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

...Of course, Ellison's defenders argue that Ellison is merely being honest; since he believes in the Koran and not in the Bible, he should be allowed, even encouraged, to put his hand on the book he believes in. But for all of American history, Jews elected to public office have taken their oath on the Bible, even though they do not believe in the New Testament...Nor has one Mormon official demanded to put his hand on the Book of Mormon.


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baldguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-29-06 10:08 PM
Response to Original message
1. The bible isn't required to take the oath.
All that is required is the oath.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-29-06 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. And you can swear, or you can 'affirm' depending on how you feel about that word! NT
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Benhurst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-29-06 10:09 PM
Response to Original message
2. The laying of hands on the Bible, has no Constitutional basis.
When Presidents and other federal officials take their oaths of office, they often place their hand on a Bible and conclude their oaths with the words "so help me God." Some accommodationists see these practices as evidence that the founders never intended separation of church and state. But this conclusion doesn't follow: the Constitution doesn't require Presidents or other federal officials to place their hand on the Bible or say the words "so help me God." Quite the contrary, those sections of the Constitution that deal with oaths of office are completely secular in content and, as such, constitute evidence that the framers intended separation.

The Presidential oath of office is described in Article II, section 1 of the Constitution:

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." ...

More:

http://candst.tripod.com/tnppage/arg11.htm
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Dead_Parrot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-29-06 10:10 PM
Response to Original message
3. Taking the oath seriously undermines American civilization?
Actually, he might have a point there, but I don't think it's the one he was trying to make. :evilgrin:

But to answer your question, no:
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) made headlines earlier this month when she could not find a Hebrew Bible for her swearing in; she refused the Christian Bible proffered by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and eventually borrowed one from Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.).

http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystor...
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-29-06 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Thanks for finding that.
Edited on Wed Nov-29-06 10:28 PM by Eric J in MN
I sent it to "Media Matters for America."
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JohnLocke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-29-06 10:19 PM
Response to Original message
6. NO--Prager is a liar.
Edited on Wed Nov-29-06 10:19 PM by JohnLocke
Besides playing on the racist fears of his readers by comparing taking the oath of office on the Koran to "a racist elected to Congress" being allowed to "choose Hitler's 'Mein Kampf,' the Nazis' Bible," Prager is completely wrong when he states that "all elected officials take their oaths of office with their hands on the very same book."
In our country's history, four presidents have been inaugurated without swearing an oath on the Bible. Franklin Pierce was affirmed, and swore no oath, Rutherford Hayes initially had a private ceremony with no Bible before his public ceremony, Theodore Roosevelt had no Bible at his ceremony, and Lyndon Johnson used a missal during his first term.
Despite Prager's insistence that "for all of American history, Jews elected to public office have taken their oath on the Bible, even though they do not believe in the New Testament," it is clear that he is wrong. Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii, took the oath of office on a Torah in 2001. Madeleine Kunin, a Jewish Immigrant and Governor of Vermont "rested her left hand on a stack of old prayer books that had belonged to her mother, grandparents, and great grandfather" as "a physical expression of the weight of Jewish history."
And in North Carolina, the Notary Public has a written code for swearing in:
"A person taking an oath should place one hand on the Holy Scriptures. This book will vary depending on the person's religious beliefs: Christians should use the New Testament or the Bible; Jews, the Torah or the Old Testament; Moslems, the Koran; Hindus, the Bhagavad-Gita; etc."

(...)
Oh, and apparently Prager has a problem with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) made headlines earlier this month when she could not find a Hebrew Bible for her swearing in; she refused the Christian Bible proffered by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and eventually borrowed one from Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.).


http://njdc.typepad.com/njdcs_blog/2006/11/religious_te...
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-29-06 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Thanks, that's the most detailed refutation of ...
...the Dennis Prager article I've seen so far.

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bryant69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-30-06 08:11 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. That is a good refutation
Bryant
Check it out --> http://politicalcomment.blogspot.com
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-29-06 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
7. Actually most just raise their right hand while standing up. The left hand
is at the side. No place to put a Bible or any other book. It is only when they do a "ceremonial" swearing in for a picture that some may use a Bible.
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-29-06 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Thanks for explaining that.
The Debbie Wasserman Schultz articles I saw said she needed a Jewish Bible for the public swearing in, and left out what she did for the official swearing in.

But your explanation that they don't touch a book during the official swearing in makes sense, as to why it wasn't an issue then.
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-30-06 08:06 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. Here's a picture.

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