Prager's response

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Dennis Prager scrambled to defend his previous remarks, but he wound up digging a deeper hole for himself. (h/t Fundie Watch) He peppers his piece with claims that Keith Ellison “rejected the Bible,” “is ending [a] tradition,” and is “engaged in disuniting the country.” Once again, any deviation from the status quo is a threat to some people; I had hoped Prager was made of sterner stuff. Of course, he blames the foot in his mouth on Ellison:

it was Keith Ellison who raised the entire issue of taking an oath on a Koran rather than a Bible. He did not make his announcement in the hopes that it would be ignored but to make a statement. I was responding to that statement. Critics who are unhappy with it becoming an issue should direct their ire at Mr. Ellison.

Is he saying that Ellison should be blamed for Prager’s error-filled emotional overreaction? Speaking of errors, here’s another one from Prager: “the Bible is the source of America’s values. […] America…derives its values from the Bible.” We are a nation with so many sources of values—from the Bible and the Code of Hammurabi to Common Sense, the Declaration, the Federalist Papers, and the Constitution—that one would need at least a library cart to hold them all. Since most oaths involve the Constitution, can’t we simply use it alone instead of dragging religious divisiveness into everything?

Prager complains that Ellison’s choice of the Koran is “used entirely to send a message to the American people,” and that is correct. The message—as stridently as the wingnuts decry it—is that we are a pluralistic (not a Christian, or a Judeo-Christian) nation. Prager’s demand to privilege his own Judeo-Christian religious tradition, “that the Bible should be present at any oath (or affirmation) of office,” is typical of the Right’s desire to edge ever closer toward an unconstitutional religious test for public office.

Prager seems to be correct that charges of racism against him are “absurd,” but—given his tirade against ceremonial use of the Koran—I think the allegation of Islamophobia is justified. He so proudly asserts “I am a non-Christian” but pillories Ellison for making mention of his religion. I smell hypocrisy. The “extraordinary Judeo-Christian value system that has been our civic religion” is hardly in danger by adding our Muslim citizens (also children of Abraham, by the way) to an already-hyphenated construct.

Bay of Fundie fisks his response quite admirably, and included this riposte:

You Judeo-Christians have had a stranglehold on our government since the beginning. Now that one Koran has appeared on Capitol Hill, you view it as the leak in the dam. Yes, one day, maybe the Pledge of Allegiance will indeed have “under God” removed. But rather than simply deleting the phrase, it will be replaced with “under Allah”.

Now aren’t you beginning to understand the importance of the separation of church and state?

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on December 6, 2006 2:24 PM.

atheist delusion was the previous entry in this blog.

a truce on religion? is the next entry in this blog.

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