Religion and State

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Keith Ellison, the first ever Muslim to be elected to the US Congress has caused a sort of a stir in political circles by refusing to take oath on the Bible and instead choosing the Koran for his oath. Unfortunately the debate has now focussed to the use of religion in matters dealing with the state instead of the more pertinent discussion of seperation of religion and state. One of my friends gave the example of Saudi Arabia (amazing how often saudi arabia crops in a conversation related to religion) where all its citizens are expected to be muslims and follow the muslim way of life, including for government matters.

I’m actually glad that America is not following the Saudi Arabia model. Infact americans should move as away from religious intolerance as possible, and not follow the example of Glenn Beck (a particularly hawkish anchor on CNN) who actually asked Keith Ellison to “prove that he is not working with the enemy”- I dont see that question being asked to any of the other non muslim Congress Representatives on the Glenn Beck show.

My two cents on the matter is, since Congressmen are asked to serve and protect the constitution, the oath should be taken on the constitution and not a religious book. Its high time we have a seperation of State and Religion and ne’er the twain shall meet.