Congresswoman Sinema takes oath of office on the Constitution
There was a talk show host six years ago who was upset that Keith Ellison, a Congressman from Minnesota, was going to put his hand on the Quran when taking the oath of office. Obviously Ellison is a Muslim. It, like all religions, are mythologies, but Ellison has a right to practice his religion. The people of Minnesota have a right to elect Ellison just as they have a right to elect the Christian fundamentalist and anti-gay member of Congress, Michelle Bachmann. Now, Ellison is a rather moderate Muslim, much more moderate in his religion than Bachmann is in her Christianity.
More willing to support keeping the government and religion separate, a key point when atheists or secularists like me vote. After all, running as an atheist is pretty much the kiss of death for any politican, so we understand that we really don't have the option of voting for atheist or humanists politicans, or at least ones not in the closet. But anyway, this host was upset that Ellison was going to take the oath of office on the Quran, instead of the Christian Bible. Ironically, the host is a conservative or maybe Orthodox Jew, not Christian. But he is a Christian right-wing apologist.
He believed that Ellison should be banned from taking office unless he swore on a bible. One, that ignores there is no religious test. In fact, members of Congress are sworn in en masse as a group, only later in photo ops do they do it on a bible. Second, we have no religious test requiring only a bible to be used for oaths. A religious test does not just bar prohibitions against those of differing religions from being elected to office, but religious symbols and prohibitions imposed on them. We wouldn't require a Jewish Congressman, for example, to wear a cross on his suit while on the floor of Congress or an atheist Congressman (if there are any) to pray to the prayer of the Congressional Chaplain. A job that isn't needed by the way.
Now, a new member of Congress out of Phoenix, Arizona has taken the oath of office not on the bible, but the Constitution. I applaud Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema for this act. I am sure she felt pressure to take the oath on a bible, a bible that she doesn't seem to believe in. She hasn't come out as an atheist, which she may or may not be. This is understandable because once again, being an atheist is like being gay 30 years ago when it comes to elected office, it's the kiss of death.
I hope for the day where there are more and more out atheists in the halls of Congress, when unfortunately we don't have even one right now. But Congresswoman Sinema is right, members of Congress are charged with protecting the Constitution, including our Constitutional rights, not the bible.