Pop quiz: What was the primary source of the principles on which our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights, were based?
Answer: the Judeo-Christian Bible.
Question: From what religious writing did our Founding Fathers derive their concepts of individual liberty, equality and unalienable rights?
Answer: the Quran.
No, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration, didn’t credit the Quran. Nor did James Madison and John Jay, who wrote most of the Constitution. Instead, they openly credited two main sources: the Holy Bible and Sir William Blackstone.
Sir William was the renowned English jurist who played a very dominant role in forming the basis of law in America. Blackstone lectured at Oxford, and from 1765 to 1770 published his highly influential work, “Commentaries on the Laws of England,” which by 1775 had sold more copies in America than in England.
His “Commentaries,” which were universally accepted in America, set the foundation for great legal minds such as Chief Justice John Marshall – and for our very first Supreme Court chief justice, John Jay. When scholars examined nearly 15,000 items written by the Founding Fathers from 1760 to 1805 (including books, newspaper articles, monographs, pamphlets), they found that Sir William Blackstone was quoted more than any other author except one.
As Madison and Jay and Hamilton composed the Federalist Papers, which led directly to the Constitution itself, they were greatly influenced by Sir William Blackstone and his “Commentaries.” Thus, the precious documents on which our very existence as a nation depend are informed by the renowned jurist who wrote: “The belief of a future state of rewards and punishments, the entertaining just ideas of the main attributes of the Supreme Being, and a firm persuasion that He superintends and will finally compensate every action in human life (all which are revealed in the doctrines of our Savior, Christ), these are the grand foundations of all judicial oaths, which call God to witness the truth of those facts which perhaps may be only known to him and the party attesting; all moral evidences, therefore, all confidence in human veracity, must be weakened by apostasy, and overthrown by total infidelity. Wherefore, all affronts to Christianity, or endeavors to depreciate its efficacy, in those who have once professed it, are highly deserving of censure.”
All this, and so much more, is why we expect men and women we’ve elected to place their hands on a copy of the Holy Bible as they take their oaths of office.
In a way, the practice is unnecessary, because if the oath can’t be considered absolutely dependable based on the integrity and truthfulness of the oath-taker, placing his or her hand on a Bible won’t really add much. But the time-honored ritual serves as an acknowledgement that the Bible, God’s holy word, is the very basis of the Constitution and the democratic way of life the representative is swearing to defend.
The Quran is scripture to many, and Muslims elected to office are free to bring it along to their oath-taking, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the formation of the United States of America’s democratic, representative way of life. In fact, all history shows that wherever the Quran is the dominant influence in a nation’s life, that society bears no resemblance to one with the liberties, the equalities, the independent and individual freedoms Americans have always cherished.
Can anyone truthfully imagine a Nancy Pelosi being elected to congressional leadership in today’s Iran? Has open political dissent ever been tolerated in an Islamist regime? Can anyone name a country or society where Islam rules, in which women have the same privileges as men?
Why, then, should a man or woman elected to represent the principles Americans hold dear and depend on insist on changing a couple hundred years of our tradition, and take the oath of office while placing a hand and taking a sacred oath on a book – any book – that actually repudiates and contradicts those principles?
Any book? How about one that contains over a hundred verses, in various parts, that actually exhort its believers to wage jihad against unbelievers? One that commands: “Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell, an evil refuge indeed.” (Sura 9:73 – the Quran)
Our Constitution, which all office holders are swearing to uphold and defend, provides for freedom of religion, even freedom from religion. And now, an elected representative, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, wants to take his oath on a book which demands that all people either convert to its religion, or pay the “jizya,” an oppressive and humiliating tax that institutes inferior societal status, or suffer “jihad” – eventually, death.
Like millions of Christians, countless Muslims subscribe to general attitudes of generous human behavior, and don’t necessarily intend to employ the dire commands of their holy book and its prophet. Surely, most Muslims in this country are here because they respect our republic and its democratic way of life.
That very way of life has occasioned the election of a Muslim in a Judeo-Christian nation. May I, then, respectfully and rationally propose that the people we elect respect our traditions … and the historical foundation of the government they’re becoming part of?
In other words, commit to dance with the one that brung ya?
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