Swearing In Upon the (Fill in the Blank)
Some fellow conservatives have disagreed with him; and liberal detractors have just been vile and nasty, making me question whether or not they've actually read the column, or listened to him speak. To call Prager "racist" and "ignorant" and a hater of Islam is to be blinded by one's own agenda and to not listen to the actual substance of what his argument and position is. As Prager would say, he "prefers clarity to agreement". And the liberal critics have neither. If they actually took the time to understand and listen, then they might achieve clarity. Then they would be able to intelligently argue against why Prager is wrong; rather than creating strawman arguments for a strawman liberal punching bag.
I've been perusing the liberal blogs, and I swear to Allah- I mean God- (peace be with Him), liberals almost carry a monopoly on hate speech and knee-jerk invectives. Rather unprofessional and juvenile, though, when it comes from a major newspaper.
Dennis Prager's airtime has been preoccupied mostly with defending his position and clarifying it, ever since his article came out. This included repeating the first hour in his second hour yesterday. He's also made appearances on Hannity and Colmes, Your World with Neil Cavuto, and Tucker with Tucker Carlson. Prager is firmly entrenched in his position, and nobly so. He offers a new, updated column today. Also today, after his program aired on KRLA870, Michael Medved, who is one of his conservative friends who fundamentally disagreed with him, had him on the first hour of his program.
Initially, when I heard about this column from Prager himself, I gently disagreed with him; when I heard Michael Medved come on right afterward on his radio show and vehemently disagree with Prager, that reinforced with substance, why I only vaguely didn't agree with Prager (at the time, I wasn't giving this issue much thought). But the next day, as more and more waves were being generated negatively (and positively) from his column, I caught some of Prager's program, and found myself understanding his line of reasoning, and leaning over onto his side of the fence. The reasoning is quite similar to why I agreed to stand and protest with Prager back when a tiny cross on the LA County Seal was to be removed.
This isn't an issue of "freedom of religion" to me. It is, as Dennis says, one of tradition and of honoring the values that this country was founded upon; or more specifically, honoring where our nation's values stemmed from. Symbols mean something. It's why we place our right hand over our hearts; it's why a piece of rag is transformed into "The Flag", and we give it reverence and meaning it otherwise would not have. Symbols and rituals mean something to humans; they define our civilization.
This issue has grown too big for me to blockquote, and dissect, and talk about in depth. I don't have the time to go through some of the anti-Prager position arguments (even when they aren't understanding Prager's position). Just check my links. Maybe I'll come back later and link some good and not-so-good lefty links.
I can see good arguments on both sides. But I have stepped over the line in the sand on this, and stand with Dennis Prager.
Prager is a Jew who has no problems being sworn in on a New Testament Bible; I, as a non-religious person, would do the same, just as assuredly as I celebrate the national holiday of Christmas, in my own non-religious way. It is about American tradition; not establishment of a specific church. I am grateful and proud to live in a nation founded upon Judeo-Christian values and principles, giving us the freedom to have such debates and disagreements without slaughtering one another over it.
Here is Prager's radio response on 11/28/06:
Column of note:
Kathleen Parker "the wolf who cried racist" Favorite passages:
The U.S. Constitution, meanwhile, leaves plenty of wiggle room for those who prefer not to make religious statements. Eugene Volokh, constitutional law professor at UCLA, has written that requiring someone to swear on the Bible would violate the Constitution's provision that ``no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.''
It appears that Prager is, at least technically, wrong. But his concerns are not those of a hate-monger. Prager is merely the quarterback in the latest scrimmage over ideas in post-9/11 America.
On a certain level, one can understand Prager's view that introducing the Koran into American government is a taunt to traditional values.
On another level, those same values allow us to see Ellison's legitimate wish to swear on the holy book of his choosing. What Christian or Jew duly elected in a predominantly Muslim country would want to be forced to swear on a Koran?
The punch line, of course, is that our religious tolerance is shared by few Muslim nations, some of which won't allow a Bible to enter the country. Our better angels may yet be our worst enemies.
Also blogging: Woman Honor Thyself
Mary Katharine Ham
Michael Medved's Three Questions for Dennis Prager on Congressional Oaths and the Koran