I mentioned in the previous post about the comments turd Dennis Prager said about an incoming Congressman wanting to use the Quran at his swearing-in photo op. Well it seems that Prager is now trying to disassociate himself from his own bonehead comments.
On Thursday, 12/14, on CNN’s The Situation Room, Prager said:
PRAGER: I have no problem as such with his taking his oath on his holiest book. I have a problem with the Bible not being present at all. That’s what I wrote. That’s what I keep saying.
That is much different than what he said in his November 28th column:
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.
Prager tried to backpedal in his December 4th column written in response to the harsh criticism he got for his comments:
I agree with the tens of thousands of office holders in American history who have honored the American tradition — I am well aware it is not a law, and I do not want it to be — of bringing a Bible to their ceremonial or actual swearing-in. Keith Ellison is ending that powerful tradition, and it is he who has called the public’s attention to his doing so. He obviously thinks this is important. I think it is important. My critics think it isn’t.
Of course that is his desperate attempt to justify his previous remarks. It is now a “powerful tradition” to Americans to have a Bible present.
If you visit Washington DC sometime go to the National Archives. In the main hall are original copies of the foundational documents of the US. The display titled “Charters of Freedom” include The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The Bible isn’t in the hall.
Prager makes the same error all social conservatives make when throwing around the words “values”, Bible, and our government:
You don’t have to be Christian to acknowledge that the Bible is the source of America’s values. Virtually every founder of this country knew that and acknowledged it. The argument that founders such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were deists, even if accurate (it is greatly exaggerated), makes my point, not my opponents’. The founders who were not believing Christians venerated the Bible as the source of America’s values just as much as practicing Christians did.
Keith Ellison’s freedom to openly believe and practice Islam and to run for elective office as a Muslim is a direct result of a society molded by the Bible and the people who believed in it, a fact he should be willing to honor as he is sworn in.
I cannot name any Western European country that does not have a document similar to the American Constitution and something akin to our Bill of Rights. It is, therefore, not the Constitution that has made America unique and a moral beacon to the world’s downtrodden. What has made America unique is the combination of Enlightenment ideas with our underlying Judeo-Christian values.
What Prager gets wrong is that the US is unique because it the only country that doesn’t have a state sponsored or established religion. And if the Bible is such a necessary part of this country then why did Thomas Jefferson rewrite it to conform with his ideas of the Enlightenment.
Jefferson wrote to John Adams about his reason for rewriting the Bible:
In extracting the pure principles which he taught, we should have to strip off the artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests, who have travestied them into various forms, as instruments of riches and power to themselves. We must dismiss the Platonists and Plotinists, the Stagyrites and Gamalielites, the Eclectics, the Gnostics and Scholastics, their essences and emanations, their logos and demiurgos, aeons and daemons, male and female, with a long train of … or, shall I say at once, of nonsense.
And there is a lot of nonsense in the Bible that many believers either try to justify or ignore entirely. His hating women a good Judeo-Christian value? What about slavery? Hating homosexuals? Eating your children? Not working on Sunday? It is all in the Bible.
America was a beacon to the downtrodden because they could come here and experience the freedoms and potential we enjoy. Of course it wasn’t easy with the rampant intolerance from the people who claim to follow so-called Judeo-Christian values – like Dennis Prager.
Prager’s comments were just a cheap shot at Muslims and an effort to pander to his conservative audience. Prager is just a turd – an uninformed turd.
Also of note
Thinkprogress reports on a “special” edition of the pundit show NBC’s “Meet the Press” this coming Sunday December 24th.
Can you guess what the topic is?
This weekend, NBC will air a special edition of Meet the Press addressing “Faith in America.” The only two guests scheduled are evangelist Rick Warren, author of “Purpose Driven Life,” and Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, author of “American Gospel.” NBC says the two will discuss the questions, “Can religion unite the country for the greater good and what role will God and values play in the 2008 presidential election?”
Both guests support the religious right agenda. Warren is an orthodox evangelical while Meacham is a God apologist. Good luck trying to hear both sides of the issue. Thanks to Meet the Press for another free advert for religion in government. Kisses.