If some future Congress passed legislation limiting employment of chaplains in the military to properly ordained ministers of the Southern Baptist Convention, the courts would also rightly -- and swiftly -- invalidate such a law as an unacceptable "establishment of religion."
Michael Medved is a film critic, best-selling author, host of the nationally syndicated "Michael Medved Show," and a contributing editor at Townhall.com. If the First Amendment's establishment clause means anything at all, then it means that Congress specifically, and the government generally, shall do nothing to privilege one "official" religious faith over others, or to discriminate against a specific religion, creating unique impediments to its adherents.
That also means that Congress has no right whatever to declare one Holy Book as the sole option for public religious expression while prohibiting an individual's choice of an unconventional alternative.
As long as Christian and Jewish members of Congress are allowed to take their oaths on their own versions of the Bible, Representative Ellison must be authorized to swear Constitutional Allegiance on his Islamic sacred scripture.
Clear-thinking conservatives should come together to welcome Mr. Ellison to Congress on his own terms. After he takes his oath of office on his Koran (as he undoubtedly will, some six weeks from now) we should then shake hands, congratulate him, and proceed to the spirited, determined debate against Keith Ellison's ultra-liberal ideas on a wide range of big issues that matter far more than this one.
Michael Medved is a film critic, best-selling author, host of the nationally syndicated "Michael Medved Show," and a contributing editor at Townhall.com.