Muslim Congressman Will Not Swear On the Bible


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.,_not_keith_ellison,_decides_what_book_a_congressman_takes_his_oath_on



Is he being allowed to swear on the Koran? That wasn’t quite clear from the article.

On a side note, is it the Protestant Bible that one swears on, or the Catholic Bible? Could a Catholic request to swear on the Catholic Bible?


sadly, he is from my state. home of diversityville.


Is that a problem? Why should a non-christian have to swear on a christian bible. In NY, at least in the courtrooms, no one is asked to swear on a bible.


I’ll have to disagree with Mr. Prager’s position here. The point of an oath is to ensure that it’s linked to something holy, so as to underscore the seriousness of the promise for the one making it.

It seems to me that the Koran would do that more effectively for Rep. Ellison than the Christian Bible would.

And no, I’d have no problem with a Jewish representative swearing on the Torah or Tanach, or a Hindu representative swearing on the Vedas, especially given the Constitution’s promise that there shall be no religious test for public office.

And there’s precedent for variations on making oaths. For example, those religiously opposed to swearing oaths are typically permitted, instead, to say “I solemnly affirm…” (in court, for instance).

Why should a Congressman be treated differently? If there’s really such an uproar, perhaps Rep. Ellison could make an affirmation instead of swearing an oath–but wouldn’t the whole point be better served by allowing him to swear on something he considers holy, since he isn’t apparently opposed to oath-taking?


Just to technical caveat. A Jew would most likely have a problem swearing on the Torah. That’s a big no no.


I didn’t know that Moslems could swear on the Qur’an.

Personally, I dislike the whole idea of swearing on the Bible. Jesus said to let our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be "no.’ Ideally Christians shouldn’t need to swear upon anything in heaven or upon the earth as our faith in action should stand as a powerful witness as to our honesty and integrity.


Thanks, Valke–I didn’t know that; I wasn’t sure if it would be acceptable or not.

I learned something new today! :slight_smile:


Read the Constitution. You are not required to be sworn in on the Bible. Nowhere is the Bible mentioned. In fact, no book at all is required. And in fact you can AFFIRM rather then swear an oath.:thumbsup:


Isn’t the whole notion of ‘swearing on a bible’ a protestant innovation? Just Curious.


I believe it is customary these days for the one being sworn in to be provided a gift Bible of their choice, to be kept as a keepsake.


Then the angel I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven and swore by the one who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them, "There shall be no more delay. (Revelation 10:5-6)


Oaths are always comprised of two things: an agreement to do something in exchange for something else, and a punishment or penalty for a party not fulfilling their end of the agreement (“Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye” – if I’m lying, may my heart be cut in four pieces, and a sharp object be stuck in my eye — although after one’s heart is cut in four, the rest is probably superfluous).

The point of swearing on a Bible is to make the statement:“If I break my oath, may all the curses mentioned in this book fall upon me.”


What exactly is your objection? That non-white non-Christians are allowed to inhabit your state?


I’m an attorney who also worked as a police officer for many years. My jobs have required testifying in court and taking an oath for my government positions too many times to count. Not once have I even been asked if I would like to use a Bible for the oath. It is not necessary. Basically most oaths don’t even mention under what penalty you are swearing or affirming to tell the truth or defend the Constitution or whatever. However, the modern penalty is prosecution for perjury if there is testimony involved or other criminal or civil sanctions for violating an oath of office.

I think this is being blown up in the media only because the man is Muslim. There are so many Christians and others who don’t “swear on a Bible” for whatever reason that it doesn’t even draw attention.


I testify as an “expert witness” from at several times a year have never been asked to take the oath on a Bible.

As far as being blown up because he is a Muslim I think even a cursory view of Mr. Ellison’s record will show that he is the one doing the “blowing up.” Look for his religion (that is that alleged discrimination against it) to be the focal point of his congressional service. He has already involved himself in the “flying Inman Case”-in fact addressed them when they were Minneapolis.

Personally I don’t think any government official should be sworn into office on any religious book.


I find the choice of words rather intriguing.


[quote=Atreyu]On a side note, is it the Protestant Bible that one swears on, or the Catholic Bible? Could a Catholic request to swear on the Catholic Bible?

‘I swear’: Last-minute availability put Masons’ Bible into history

By Patricia Zapor
Catholic News Service
Jan. 14, 2005

The nation’s only Catholic president to date, John F. Kennedy, used his family’s Douay Version of the Bible. The 1850 edition was brought by his Fitzgerald ancestors from Ireland, according to the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. That Bible, a massive tome now on display at the library, was kept current with records of family births through the time of Kennedy’s presidency.


Good for him.

I will not swear on any religious text except a Catholic bible.

For me, swearing on a protestant bible, is swearing to an incomplete truth.


I thought Jesus taught us not to swear at all?

**“But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven for it is God’s throne; nor by earth, for it is footstool; nor by Jerusalem for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No’. Anything more is from the evil one.”

Mathew 5:34-37**

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