Monday, December 11, 2006

A book is a book is a book - Up to now, I have been hesitant to weigh in on the Dennis Prager/Keith Ellison kerfufle. While I concur entirely with Mr. Prager's thesis that Congressman-elect Ellison's choice to be "sworn in" using the Koran instead of the Bible is a signal event in American history, as a talk show host and columnist of national renown (even before this latest controversy) Dennis hardly needs defense from an obscure blogger.

It is the increasing number of erstwhile conservatives and Republicans who are weighing in to condemn Mr. Prager for his suggestion that perhaps Mr. Ellison might use both the Bible and the Koran in his ceremonial swearing in
that has raised this issue to a level of some concern for me personally. It seems that everyone from the editorial board at the New York Sun to Minnesota's Republican Senator Norm Coleman is weighing in to - at best - distance themselves from Prager's remarks.

But the idea that America's animating values come from the Bible and that the Bible should be held in some esteem, especially by those who would aspire to government service, would seem not to be controversial. Irrespective of the view of others outside American society, the inescapable fact remains that the tolerance and inclusiveness that allowed for Mr. Ellison's election in the first place - especially during a time when we are beset by Islamic fanatics - is a testament to the the values embodied by, and the culture inspired by, the Bible.

The only thing more disconcerting than the impromptu game of "pile-on" that has broken out in some conservative quarters as it pertains to Mr. Prager, is the unconscious ingratitude that exists among most Americans in regards to our first principles and how they came to be. For it's part, much of the Left assumes that liberalism is the storehouse of any worthwhile cultural mores, and that the Bible and the Constitution are equally useful only in as much as they can be interpreted to support the Left's visions of a faux equality.

Indeed, this is the root of much of the opprobrium that has been heaped upon Mr. Prager. He has dared to shatter the notion that the Bible, and by extension the culture and values that it inspires, are comparable in any wise to the Koran and it's expressed values. In upcoming posts, we will take on this issue directly, and we will examine the evidence as to which book (and whose values) benefits mankind the most.

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