Blog Template Theology of the Body: Is the Bible our National Book, or what?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Is the Bible our National Book, or what?

There is an interesting conversation going on at one of the most compelling blogs that I read daily, Biblical Womanhood. About half of the commentors are Highly Indignant over the fact that 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 Koran. "covered" the story this week, available here, in a rather clumsy way.

I am indignant too, but for another reason. Really, people, what is the big deal? If Mr. Ellison were seeking ordination in ECUSA and wished to recieve Holy Orders in the name of Allah, for instance (please tell me that has not happened yet), that would be one thing. But this is a duly elected U.S. citizen who wishes to make a vow of conscience according to his own faith rather than according to the dictates of a dilute, boring, inauthentic civil religion. Furthermore, this is a country wherein Congress Shall Make No Law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

In fact, I really respect and appreciate Mr. Ellison's honoring of the Christian Scriptures in this way. His decision to make his oath of office on the Koran is a reminder that these texts are the sacred canons of distinct faith traditions, that bind their adherents to certain codes of conduct that in turn effect their communities. The Bible is not the USA's tool nor legal document- nor is it our national book, for Pete's sake- and to treat is as such is to denigrate its sanctity as the Word of GOD. Mr. Ellison has refused to relativize the Christian Scriptures, just as he has refused to relativize the Koran.

I applaud him.