Letters to the Editor

'Not a religious exercise'

I am deeply troubled by [Minnesota] Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's refusal to be sworn in to office on the Bible, and his demand to be sworn in on the Quran [story Dec. 1].

The swearing in ceremony is not a religious exercise. In context, it means that the person giving the oath will support and defend the Constitution, follow U.S. laws and put the good of the country above the affiant's individual desires. It is a civil action with deep historic roots and significance.

It does not mean that Rep. Ellison isn't free to practice his faith. If he cannot be sworn into office like every other congressman before him, whether Christian, Jew, agnostic or otherwise, he should not be sworn in. To refuse to follow this tradition is a clear indicator that Rep. Ellison cannot swear his full allegiance to this country, and he should not be allowed to serve in Congress.

Did Rep. Ellison publicly communicate his desire to be sworn in on the Quran during his campaign? If he didn't, how likely is it that he would have won the election had he publicized his intentions as a part of his campaign strategy?

Richard Aaron