Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hating America's Freedoms

I believe it is instructive, from time to time, to lift up a rock and see what is slithering around underneath. In that spirit, I followed a link to the fetid darkness that is, specifically to a piece titled, "America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on."

The author of this piece is one Dennis Prager. His bio states that he is "a radio show host, contributing columinst [sic] for, and author of 4 books." It does not explain why he has yet to learn the rules for properly capitalizing a headline, when to spell out numbers, and how to use a spell-checker.

In case you haven't heard, Keith Ellison (D-Minn) is the first person of Muslim faith to be elected to the U.S. Congress. He has announced his intention to place his hand on a copy of the Koran while taking his oath of office. Dennis Prager says: "He should not be allowed to do so."

Quite apart from displaying an obvious ignorance of the First Amendment, Prager's piece is a truly horrifying screed. If you'd rather not be totally nauseated by reading the whole thing, this excerpt gives the gist:

… America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison's favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible.


When all elected officials take their oaths of office with their hands on the very same book, they all affirm that some unifying value system underlies American civilization. If Keith Ellison is allowed to change that, he will be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11.

I now place the rock back down, and wish it were not metaphorical.


2006-12-21 09:37 EST

Dennis Prager has posted a rebuttal to the response that he engendered. To my mind, it's not worth reading. It is mostly repetition of the original point, all of which stems from his fundamental belief that his prejudice is justified. There's also some whining about the mean lefty bloggers. Surprise, surprise.

Dan Weston has more patience for this guy than I do. You might be interested in his more considered dismantling of Prager's original column and the follow-up.

Update 2

2010-05-31 18:02 EDT

Dan's post now lives on his new blog, here.


Unknown said...

You have inspired me to continue this topic on my own blog: Dennis Prager's Broken Moral Compass

Anonymous said...

I guess I'll give up my run for Congress. 'Cause all I'd want to do is take the oath with my left hand atop a stack of Barbara Cartlands.

bjkeefe said...

Is she a bodice-ripper writer?

I kept thinking of that West Wing episode where there was bo Bible to be had, with the inauguaration just minutes away. Josh was trying to chill Bartlet by saying that the Bible wasn't a legal requirement, and he could use a stack of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues if he wanted.

Damn that Charlie for his resourcefulness, because he came running up with one from a nearby motel, and we never got to see this possibility played out.