Jefferson's Koran

Radio talk show bigots, Congressman Moore from Virginia and-- to CNN's eternal shame-- Glenn Beck all threw a hissy fit because Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota wanted to take the oath of office with his hand on the Koran.

This controversy is nonsense, manufactured smoke and fury to create a controversy where none exists. The sixth article of the Consttution clearly states that there can be no religious test for holding office in the United States. Congressmen en masse raise their right hands and swear to defend the Constitution without any books at all-- their courtroom pose, with their left hand on a sacred book of some kind, is generally an after-the-oath photo opportunity. John Adams himself placed his hand on a law book instead of a Bible. I'm not sure what I would use-- The Once and Future King? A copy of Rumi? Walden? I Go Pogo?

So hurrah to Congressman Ellison for coming up with a bit of political jiu-jitsu that shames the bigots: he asked the Library of Congress to borrow Thomas Jefferson's personal copy of the Koran. The 1734 translation by George Sale was the first English translation of the Koran directly from Arabic. It was one of the books purchased from Jefferson to replace those burned by the British during the War of 1812.

Virgil Goode told Fox News "I wish more people would take a stand and stand up for the principles on which this country was founded." Goode represents Albemarle County in Virginia, the birthplace of Thomas Jefferson.

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