Dispatches from the Creation Wars

UCLA law profs Volokh and Bainbridge both come down on Prager for his ridiculous column about requiring Keith Ellison to swear his oath on the Bible rather than the Quran. They’re much nicer about it than I was, but both agree that his suggestion is unconstitutional and a very bad idea.


  1. #1 steve s
    November 29, 2006

    “Christian Supremacist” is what I might label Mr. Prager.

  2. #2 Ed Brayton
    November 29, 2006

    Except Prager is Jewish. Which just makes it weird.

  3. #3 plunge
    November 29, 2006

    Prager is, ostensibly, Jewish, actually. But views like these have always confused me. The idea that Judaism and Christianity are one in the same continuum is the CHRISTIAN position. So when people like Prager run around basically giving the Christian supremacist line on things, and claiming to speak for Jews (and indeed, lecture Jews on how important it is not only to respect Christianity, but to virtually pretend to be Christian), the result is well… well it sure ain’t anything I recognize as authentically Jewish. What sort of Jew would advocate that? And why? There’s a point where the neo-con pandering to the Christian evangelical base just starts to look bizarre.

  4. #4 bones
    November 29, 2006

    Even from a simple position – you swear an oath on “a bible” because of the superstition that an all powerful ghost will harm you if you break your oath. Given that dark susperstitious outlook on the process, no sane person would give credence to the whole process. If you subscribe to the ceremonial nature of the whole process, then wouldn’t you feel more compelled to “honor your oath” if you took the oath on a book that means something to you. I wouldn’t feel anymore compelled to keep an oath sworn on “My Pet Goat”, it means nothing to me and my ethical, religious background.

  5. #5 Ginger Yellow
    November 30, 2006

    …Dennis Prager — – whose work I often much like …

    Volokh goes down another notch in my estimation.

  6. #6 kehrsam
    November 30, 2006

    Ginger: As I argued on another thread here, I am also a sometime fan of Prager when he is defending western civ from a multi-culti attack. Sometimes this stance leads him to ridiculous positions, as here. But often it leads to solid punditry.

    Much the same can be said of Volokh. There is a lot of good stuff on his blog, which makes it one of the more entertaining reads on the ‘net, especially if you’ve been to law school. There’s a lot of garbage, too, but that is the nature of the game.

  7. #7 MarkP
    December 4, 2006

    The backbone of Prager’s argument, that American culture is based on the Bible, is a great example of The Big Lie ™ technique. The values and moral edicts described in the Bible bear about as much resemblence to the Constitution, and present American culture, as the Genesis creation story bears to modern evolutionary and cosmological theories.

    It’s time people like Prager get called on this. I’ve never seen one person of his ilk that could answer the challenge of naming a single uniquely Biblical edict that is part of mainstream America. All they can point to are generic rules like “do not murder” and “do not bear false witness (ie lie)”, which are near cultural universals.

  8. #8 Andrew McClure
    December 4, 2006

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations has issued a statement suggesting that Prager be removed from the governing board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (where Prager is a white house appointee), apparently on the logic that someone who publicly attacks religious tolerance is a poor choice to serve on the board of a museum dedicated to honoring the victims of religious intolerance. CAIR may not be the only ones feeling this way:

    Last week, the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group, called Prager’s opinions “flat-out wrong,” as well as “intolerant, misinformed and downright un-American.”

    “If Prager were merely a blogger and radio talk-show host trying to be relevant and provocative, these views might not merit a response. But as a newly appointed member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, Prager and his views must be held to a higher standard,” the group said.

    The article also quotes Prager as saying that he thinks Mormons and Jewish people should also be required to use the standard Christian bible, not just Muslims. Does anyone have any idea specifically which books Joe Lieberman and Jesse Helms used in any private swearing-in ceremonies they may have held?

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