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You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.

The Republic in safe hands

The Baltimore Sun

Yesterday, as the 116th Congress assumed office, two Muslim representatives were sworn in as they held copies of the Quran—one of them, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, with a 1734 English translation once owned by Thomas Jefferson.

Today, inevitably, someone I know on Facebook posted a spittle-flecked meme that said, “We now have 2 Muslims voted into congress. They can’t put their hand on a Bible & swear to uphold our constitution due to their faith. We are being destroyed within our own country. The Trojan horse has made it into our government.”

A couple of things always bear repeating:

The United States was founded as, and remains, a secular republic. Jesus and God have no mention in the Constitution.

That Constitution, which the yokel who wrote the meme is worried about upholding, says explicitly that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” (Article VI).

So congratulations to Representative Tlaib and her fellow Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

Congratulations are also due to Reps. Lee Zeldin and David Kustoff, who are Jewish and were sworn in on the Tanakh; to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a Hindu, who held a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita; to Rep. Andy Levin of Michigan, who held a Torah and a Tibetan-Buddhist text; and to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who lists no religious affiliation and who was sworn in while holding a copy of the Constitution in her left hand. (As, incidentally did President John Quincy Adams when he took the oath.)

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