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Why I Left the Conservative Movement

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A recent article by Dennis Prager is a prime example of why I no longer consider myself a Republican and consider myself outside of the current conservative movement. I would like to lay out for you why I believe he is dead wrong, and show the history of oaths and affirmations in a different light.

Dennis Prager says a Muslim elected to Congress should not take the oath on the Koran. Not only that, but he says allowing it is un-American.

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.

What? America was built on religious tolerance. Though I have my qualms with some of the religious leaders of Islam, primarily abroad, if a Muslim wants to swear his oath to defend and protect the United States of America on the Koran, he should be allowed to. It is his Holy book.

The purpose of using a Holy book to swear oaths is to be held accountable. It makes you accountable to a higher authority. Namely God. If you believe in God, and you promise, declare, and swear in the presence of your God to serve your country you are swearing to the highest authority. If there is anyone that you will want keep your oath to, it should be God above all else. In other words, If you are to be held accountable to anyone, God should be the one you are most accountable to.

To say that it undermines American civilization is, if not bigotry, then it is supreme ignorance of the Constitution.

Article 6 of the Constitution says regarding oaths: Emphasis given

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

If no religious test is required, where did the idea of swearing the oath of office on a Bible come from?

The whole tradition of swearing on the Bible goes back to when George Washington, a Freemason, was preparing to be sworn into office. Washington, along with many others in the ceremony, were prominent Freemasons and they thought it appropriate to swear the oath of office on a Bible, in a similar fashion to how it is done during ceremonies in Lodge. The nearest Bible that could easily be retrieved was a Bible owned by St. John's Lodge #1. That was the Bible that started the tradition of swearing on the Holy Book.

Many Presidents have used that same book. Some have used other Bibles. Some Presidents, such as Franklin Pierce and Herbert Hoover, did not swear on the Bible at all. The used no book and instead used the word Affirm; in accordance with their Quaker faith which prohibits swearing of oaths.

I believe that Prager's column, and the support of many right wing pundits of it, shows an attitude of religious intolerance and some selective reading of the Constitution. They believe that we are foremost a Christian nation. Though most people in this country who consider themselves God fearing are Christian, we are not a country that endorses any religion. It is in the Constitution. It was one of the founding beliefs of our founding fathers. The first of the Bill of Rights lays it out. Emphasis added.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This is just one argument against Dennis Prager's viewpoint. There are many others for and against. But next time you see an oath of office and you see someone swear on the Bible, I want you to have a little historical perspective on what they are doing, and why it came about.

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About Tom Bux

  • Brent

    “I believe that Prager’s column, and the support of many right wing pundits of it, shows an attitude of religious intolerance and some selective reading of the Constitution. They believe that we are foremost a Christian nation.”

    Except that Prager is Jewish. Talk about selective reading.

  • Rufus Brown

    Doesn’t matter what the president is swearing on, most of them break the promises anyways.

  • ss

    Nice article. Prager’s own words, from the article you link to, are so ignorant of an Americans rights-

    “What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.”

    -I can’t help but think I’m being set up for some partisan nonsense meant to generate noise all for the benefit of one Dennis Prager.
    I realize Prager is one of those AM radio talkshow hacks, but could anyone write what he wrote and not see the contradiction? It just feels like he’s stirring up phony controversy.
    Perhaps his market share has been shrinking lately.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    A SECOND LOOK AT THE PRAGER BRAIN FART

    Taking a second look at all of this, it essentially shows what happens when Jews living in exile refuse to leave for home and therefore have to twist their own ideas into pretzels.

    Prager, as noted in one of the comments above, is Jewish.

    Jews apparently swear on Christian bibles in the States. That is nearly the equivalent of a Jewish member of the British House of Commmons being required to swear on their good faith as a Christian. It’s not quite as bad, but bad enough. Had I realized that clearly, it would have told me what I understand now.

    This is yet another episode of how Jews have to cut corners with their own beliefs to accomodate the Christians in America. Now Christians CAN’T tell ME that if I don’t like it I can leave. I left. But they can tell any other kike who gets too uppity to get lost. And many do, in that many words. I have not forgotten. One kike who got too uppity, Rav Meir Kahane, may G-d avenge his blood, was booted out. He left for Israel rather than do hard time in jail. At least he had a choice, unlike Jonathan Pollard who rots in jail because the Israeli politicians (in this case, Shim’on Peres) he helped will not treat a fellow Jew as a hero.

    So the contest is how American Jews like Prager can manage to delude themselves that a)they live in freedom, b)they are secure, and c)they should not leave Babylon on the Hudson, or the Delaware, or in this case, on the Mississippi. Oy, what a pathetic sight. The putz who heads the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, Foxman, condemned Prager for racist remarks. Why? Because Prager demanded that Ellison do what Jewish politicians in America do – take an oath on a Christian bible.

    This is why American Jews are so damned neurotic – they are trying to maintain, in addition to all the other illusions people maintain about themselves, the illusions of freedom, security and belonging to American culture.

    I’m so glad I live here folks. I’m poor, have to stand guard duty every month where I live, voluhteer for guard duty in Jerusalem, and do not the “fabulous standard of living” you all (think you) do. And I have plenty to complain about.

    But I have something very few American Jews have. I can look the truth in the face and NOT hide or run away.

  • http://ageofreason.mu.nu Tom Bux

    Let me clarify. I mean that conservatives want to overemphasize that America was founded on Juedo-Christian values.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Whatever Prager’s religion may be, his column was ridiculous and offensive. It’s so ridiculous, however, that I’m surprised Tom would allow Prager to represent the entire “conservative movement.” One assumes Tom could stick to a brand of conservatism that is non-bigoted and not inclined to post silly, hot-headed opinions the way Prager regularly does.

    Being a non-conservative myself, I welcome Tom back from the dark side; but surely he has better reasons than Dumb-Dumb Prager.

  • http://ageofreason.mu.nu Tom Bux

    I am by no means a liberal. I am a true conservative, which I guess now is called libertarian. I suport freedom from governement. I want them out of my personal life, and out of my wallet.

  • A Concerned Citizen

    Mr. Box, after reading this post I took the liberty to view your home site. Apparently you “38% want the terrorists to win”? Your article here today serves only to prove your unpatriotic fervor and heinous, backstabbing ways.

    America is a God-fearing nation. America loves God. Let me ask you this, Mr. Bax: Why do you hate God? The Bible is the Word of God. All the information in the Bible supports this. You probably haven’t read the Bible, otherwise you would know that it alone is the true Word of God.

    Go ahead. Admit it, [Personal attack deleted]. You’re part of the conspiracy to destroy Christmas, and by that, America.

    First you want to allow this guy to swear on the Koran. Then, nonchalantly, like Satan’s pet viper lying in wait to bite the jugular of God’s favorite country, you pass legislation to replace Christmas with Ramadan. Things quickly escalate so that anyone who practices Christmas is martyred at the foot of Satan’s power, the ACLU headquarters. And finally, in a fiendish coup de grace, the economy collapses like a black hole and the entire world, without the beacon of hope and leadership that is the United States, enters into a period of intense darkness and suffering.

    You, Mr. Bix, are intent on initiating the Apocalypse.

  • http://ageofreason.mu.nu Tom Bux

    When a side resorts to swearing and name calling, I know I am getting under their skin. Name calling is to debating as baking cookies is to getting your hair cut.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Concerned Citizen, if you are for real, I am damned glad I’m writing this from the Samarian mountains and not the Minnesota prairie.

    If you are for real, pick up your bible and read
    Yeshayá/Isaiah 63:1-6. Remember it well, for it is a warning for America and for Europe…for Edóm.

  • http://ageofreason.mu.nu Tom Bux

    Another thing I’d like to add. If Prager wants to go down the road of implying that allowing Ellison to swear on the Koran will destroy the fabric of society, I say the opposite.

    Not allowing him to do so will do more harm than allowing him. The purpose of swearing on the Bible is partly tradition, but is also an acknowledgement that there is a higher authority you are accountable to. To require him to swear on a holy book that is not his you are essentially saying that the tradition itself is more important than the meaning behind the tradition.

  • Peter J

    Hey look,
    You Judas pinko commie bastard, you with your unpatriotic fervor and backstabbing ways, you and Satan’s pet viper lying in wait to bite the,,,,Jeesh, ya gotta lov’im

  • Bliffle

    Xtians seem to never miss an opportunity to inject their bogus claims that the USA is based on xtianity.

  • SHARK

    Wow. The Far Right Conservatives are INTOLERANT?!

    Who’d a thunk it.

    =======

    Tom, let us know when you decide the earth orbits the sun, eh.

    BTW: I wrote a similar confession a while back; it was much funnier — and more profound.

    Shark Gives Up Bein’ a Liberal

    =======

    I wonder if they’d let me be sworn in on a copy of R. Crumb’s Zap Comix. …Or a CD of Mozart.

    I mean, at least my gods are real.

    =======

    re. Ruvy vs Concerned Citizen in a biblical-quotation-death-match:

    I love to see people *fight over whose fictional, mythological being is badder.

    *pretty much the entire history of humankind

    =======

    Note to All Religions: SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GO AWAY.

    Thanks,
    The Management

  • SHARK

    Tom Bux: “I am a true conservative, which I guess now is called libertarian.”

    Libertarian. Ahahah. Welcome to the one political group in America that is MORE MARGINALIZED than the Democrats. Prepare to have yer heart broken at the highest levels.

  • SHARK

    I don’t know about the rest of yall, but the google “ads” on this page are for “ISLAM RINGTONES.”

    *Truly, The End is Near.

    *To Concerned Citizen, apologies; You were right!

  • D’oh

    “you know when that SHARK bites, with his teeth bare,
    scarlet bellows, start to spread.”

    Thanks SHARK, I needed the smile.

  • Hank Sloan

    “I am by no means a liberal. I am a true conservative, which I guess now is called libertarian. I suport freedom from governement. I want them out of my personal life, and out of my wallet.”
    IM WITH YOU TOM!!!!!

  • D’oh

    One thing about this “out of my wallet” fetish.

    You do realize that somebody has to pay for things, like the military, roads, health and safety regulation enforcement, border security, the department of Homeland Security, printing the money your are talking about, the Postal service, the national debt, ad nauseum?

    I’m all for keeping as much of my earnings as possible, but bills need to be paid, don’t they?

    The real discussion appears to actually be centered around setting the boundaries and priorities of what we as a nation require as a nation, then pay for it.

    Now, I’m not too certain as to what political label you want to put on that kind of thinking, but unless I’m missing something, that appears to be an accurate description that would apply to according to any rational examination, regardless of ideology.

  • A Concerned Citizen

    By the way, just in case anyone was wondering, my little rant was a joke. I didn’t think anyone would take it seriously (I thought it too bombastic), but apparently some did.

    I’d just like to clarify — Tom, I basically agree with everything you’ve said. Good article.

    Sorry if I pissed anyone off too much. Take care everybody.

  • Baronius

    My first instinct was that Prager’s totally off-base, but I read the article, and he makes his argument pretty effectively. I still think it’s not a big deal though.

  • STM

    On a very realted note, so if I became a member of the Senate or the House of Representatives, could I swear my oath whilst holding a picture of Queen Elizabeth II and secretly muttering an oath of allegience to the Crown under my breath?

    My point is, as Dave Nalle has pointed out, why use anything at all (despite the fact it has become a tradition, in fact US word of law almost officially discourages it) and why not just swear on the Constituition of the United States.

    It’s as fine a document or piece of writing as you’ll find anywhere, and encapsulates most of what’s good about “holy books”.

  • Maurice

    Did Lieberman use a bible?

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    Prager, a name I hadn’t heard of before his childish rant, is in no way representative of anyone except those who wish to make a name for themselves by pissing people off.

    I’m not sure what hole he crawled out from under, but I’d hardly consider him a harbinger of conservatism.

  • Clavos

    D’oh #19:

    You’re right, of course, about the bills needing to be paid.

    Still, it’s good to keep reminding the Congressmaggots (Nancy’s apt word) who the hell’s wallet all that money they’re spending comes from; so that when we all finally get fed up and march on Capitol Hill with AK47s to wipe them all out, they’ll know why.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    You do realize that somebody has to pay for things, like the military,

    State militias.

    roads,

    Usage fees/gas tax.

    health and safety regulation enforcement,

    Funded by fines and fees paid by industries.

    border security,

    Not if we open the borders.

    the department of Homeland Security,

    Let each state handle its own security.

    printing the money

    Not if we go to hard currency.

    Dave

  • D’oh

    Dave, I would dearly love to see how you fund a nuclear arsenal, gather the money to build roads and bridges before you can collect your usage fee, how Montana could deal with the FBI’s suspected terrorist list, much less where the hell you are going to get hard currency, who is going to mint it and who is going to assure that the coins aren’t clipped.

    Oh wait, that’s right, you also think there is a fifth column of commies trying to take over the country.

    So much for sanity.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Dave, I would dearly love to see how you fund a nuclear arsenal, gather the money to build roads and bridges before you can collect your usage fee,

    Ever hear of bonds and loans? That’s how they build toll roads and then they pay them off with the tolls.

    how Montana could deal with the FBI’s suspected terrorist list,

    Pretty much the same way they do now. DHS hands most of that stuff off to local law enforcement already.

    much less where the hell you are going to get hard currency, who is going to mint it and who is going to assure that the coins aren’t clipped.

    Ever hear of a scale?

    Dave

  • SHARK

    Nalle’s Libertarianism:

    The Best Future is a Return to Medieval Technology!

    =======

    Nalle’s Answer to Vietn… um, I mean Iraq:

    Give Iraq to China!

    =======

    PS: Dear Dave,

    we’re all gettin’ kinda worried here: LATELY — everytime you tap your keyboard, most of your readers picture a guy in a padded room and wearing a tin-foil hat.

    Please post jpg of your official release form.

    Thanks in advance,
    Officer Shark

  • Bliffle

    How naive.

  • Frank

    Mr. Box, after reading this post I took the liberty to view your home site. Apparently you “38% want the terrorists to win”? Your article here today serves only to prove your unpatriotic fervor and heinous, backstabbing ways.

    America is a God-fearing nation. America loves God. Let me ask you this, Mr. Bax: Why do you hate God? The Bible is the Word of God. All the information in the Bible supports this. You probably haven’t read the Bible, otherwise you would know that it alone is the true Word of God.

    Go ahead. Admit it, [Personal attack deleted]. You’re part of the conspiracy to destroy Christmas, and by that, America.

    First you want to allow this guy to swear on the Koran. Then, nonchalantly, like Satan’s pet viper lying in wait to bite the jugular of God’s favorite country, you pass legislation to replace Christmas with Ramadan. Things quickly escalate so that anyone who practices Christmas is martyred at the foot of Satan’s power, the ACLU headquarters. And finally, in a fiendish coup de grace, the economy collapses like a black hole and the entire world, without the beacon of hope and leadership that is the United States, enters into a period of intense darkness and suffering.

    You, Mr. Bix, are intent on initiating the Apocalypse.

    **************************************************
    Did “concerned christian” go off his meds? Keep drinking the cool-aid.

  • Arch Conservative

    “Let me clarify. I mean that conservatives want to overemphasize that America was founded on Juedo-Christian values.”

    If conservatives do over emphasize this fact it is only because the left wing secular commandos seek to completely deny that it is true.

  • D’oh

    Last shot here, to show the problems trying to discuss things with some people.

    I ask a compound question, each of whose parts is relevant, ” much less where the hell you are going to get hard currency, who is going to mint it and who is going to assure that the coins aren’t clipped.”

    Do notice that what I am asking about are the functions of the Federal Mint, who is going to purchase the hard currency, smelt it, test and certify it’s purity, stamp it, and enforce it’s integrity by fighting the old art of “clipping”, cutting off pieces of a coin.

    I ask, because these were large problems before a standard national Mint was founded, see English, European or even early American History.

    Dave’s answer was, “Ever hear of a scale?”

    Now I am forced to guess that this would be his means of assuring the coins were valid weights, however I must ask to what standard? The department of Weights and Measures would be gone under his plan.

    Also notice that his attempt at a flippant response does not even begin to address the rest of the problem, he merely ignores it. possibly because it shows the flaws in his simplistic approach.

    Bonus points to Clavos for having the intellectual honesty to admit reality.

    For too many of the republican cadre, they appear to labor under some delusion that there was a kind of golden time in U.S. history, while not realizing that a society cannot go backwards, it can only be forced into it’s past by military means or natural disasters.

    There also seems to be a lot of forgetting about the robber barons and monopolists, child labor and a host of other things that were abysmal in that pre-New Deal era.

    As for Arch, I’m happy to recognize there were a lot fo Puritans and other Protestant factions in the founding of our nation. Will you also admit there were a lot of secularists, agnostics and Deists as well who don’t fit into the contemporary definition of “Christians”?

  • Taloran

    re #32 by Arch Conservative:

    “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”
    Article 11, Treaty of Tripoli, 4 November 1796, signed by John Adams

    “Strongly guarded. . . is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States.”
    James Madison

    A “wall of separation between church and State.”
    Comments about the first amendment by Thomas Jefferson in his January 1st, 1802 letter to the Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association

    These and other founding fathers indicated in their writings that the United States was not founded on the Christian religion. Many of our founding fathers were deists and Freemasons, not Christians. The words God and Christ are conspicuous in their absence from the US Constitution. There is currently a trend among many Christians to attempt to rewrite history by declaring that the US is founded on the Christian religion. Such a claim is proven false by a simple reading of the writings of the founding fathers, and of the Constitution. The founding fathers made it clear that their intent was to accept all religions and the adherents of all religions, including those without religion, and to embrace no religion above any other.

  • Bliffle

    “Let me clarify. I mean that conservatives want to overemphasize that America was founded on Juedo-Christian values.”

    The USA is not founded on judeo-christian principles. For example, of the much celebrated Ten Commandments, only 2 are enacted into law: “Don’t steal”, and “don’t kill”.

  • http://jetfireone.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Damn good article Tom… Damn good.

    …but of course that’s only my opinion!

    Jet

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Let me clarify. I mean that conservatives want to overemphasize that America was founded on Juedo-Christian values.

    Promoting such a position is a religious objective for some people, but it is inherently not a conservative objective. Conservatives believe in preserving the constitution and the structure of government at a traditional and minimal level with as little change from the intended structure as possible. Adding an emphasis on religion in the government which not only was not built into it, but which is specifically prohibited by the constitution would be radical activism, not conservatism.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    While not founded strictly on the Chrisitian religion……..this nation’s government and culture have relied on Judeo-Christian doctrine and values in it’s founding and development more than any other single source.

    You historical revisionists can deny it all you want and offer up all the cherry picked quotes you want but this is the truth.

  • http://jetfireone.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    What a load of Bushit Arch, no one should have anyone else’s religion forced upon them an you know it.

  • D’oh

    No Arch, there is actually more evidence in the Constitution and it’s articles that speaks against such a statement, than there is for such.

    We can leave the obvious self proclaimed Deists out of it for a moment, since it makes you so uncomfortable.

    How about Article VI –
    “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

    There you have it, right from the “horse’s mouth”, in case the “separation clause” from the First Amendment wasn’t enough for you.

  • MAOZ

    Ruvy#4, not to be nitpicky or anything, but from where do you derive that “Jews apparently swear on Christian bibles in the States”? Don’t know from personal experience, but I’m quite sure that they would be able to use a TaNaKh for such purposes.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    I’m as Christian as a Christian gets, twice-weekly attender and all that, but Ellison should be able to swear in on a Qu’ran or no book at all. Prager is flat-wrong on this one. Why would I want anyone to swear an oath on a book that means nothing to them? Maybe if Ellision takes the oath with his hand on a Qu’ran, he’ll take it more seriously than most of the losers we have in office now.

  • MCH

    “Maybe if Ellision takes the oath with his hand on a Qu’ran, he’ll take it more seriously than most of the losers we have in office now.”

    Well, ol’ GW Bush is supposedly a devout Christian, too, but that didn’t stop him from lying about his DESERTION from the Guards during the 2000 campaign; “The reason I wasn’t flying at Dannelly was because they didn’t have the same kind of planes there.”

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    MCH, you really should try to occasionally comment on the topic at hand, rather than use random keywords to launch onto your pet topics. Please.

  • D’oh

    But Phillip, if that was the case, fully half the trolls (not THE troll) wouldn’t have anything to type!!

    Hey, wait a minute, you might be on to something there.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    MAOZ,

    To answer your question, I was quoting Prager – who was wrong. The meat of my comment dealt with the fact that American Jews are such a neurotic bunch because of all the illusions they have to keep maintaining about being “part” of American culture.

    Concerned Citizen – glad to hear you were just joking. Gotta keeep the guns oiled ands the powder dry, though – you did a good job imitating the real thing there.

    To the rest of you kids. The United States government was founded on the Seven Commandments of Noah. The only things that are not emphasised are “blessing G-d” because there were so many ways to do so. Instead, because of the multiplicity of ways, congress was forbidden to intervene in the matter.

    Now, can somebody get me a good sharp file for the Shark`s teeth?

  • Baronius

    Ruvy – A common mistake. It’s only a delusional manatee. Sometimes it’ll swim by and make an “attack” like comment #14. It’s kinda cute, the way it curls its lip back and gums people, but it constitutes no threat.

  • SHARK

    D’oh was spot on in #33:

    “…Dave’s answer was, “Ever hear of a scale?””

    heh.

    Nalle’s simplistic ‘debate’ techniques are common knowledge around here — and yet he thinks we’re all too stupid to notice.

  • Paul Roy

    They should not have to swear on either one of these fairy tales, but should only swear to defend the constitution – and be made to read it! Our politions only need to be accountable to the people, not God.

  • Bliffle

    Archie: “While not founded strictly on the Chrisitian religion……..this nation’s government and culture have relied on Judeo-Christian doctrine and values in it’s founding and development more than any other single source.”

    Nonsense. The Founders specifically cited Platos Republic and the essays of Montaigne.

    Do you just make that stuff up?

  • Mohjho

    Tom Bux
    Don’t let just the Dennis Prager opinion dissuade you from the conservative party. Dennis is just doing what conservatives do; reacting against liberalism.

    That’s it, nothing else. Conservatives don’t act within some ideological framework; they are only trying to conserve their ideas of comfort and privilege. The Koran makes conservatives very uncomfortable.

    If you must leave the conservative way of life, leave it for the right reasons. It’s not what conservatives say, but look at the results of a conservative leaning house, senate, judiciary and executive. Decide for yourself if you want to be told what to think and do. Or you can justify your actions with true rational thought based on justice and fairness. Seems your opinion against Prager is starting to open your eyes.

    Now click your heals three times and repeat these words………