Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Koran and oath of office

With presidential elections coming up, it may be of value to discuss the Oath of office. Last year, an elected representative for the U.S. government (I believe Minnesota) took the oath of office while holding his hand over the Koran. (Thomas Jefferson’s copy) Even though this gesture was only symbolic, for me this is a problem. I am concerned about a conflict of interest in taking a verbal oath with a document that is so much in conflict with our own laws. After all, a verbal contract is not binding compared to a written one.

Islamic law goes back more than 1,000 years. Many arguments exist about what laws are stronger than others are, and which are ‘authentic’. In any case, many of the ‘authentic’ laws spelled out in the Koran are in direct conflict to our own laws. I am certain that some rules or laws in the Bible and other religious publications are in conflict with our own. However, they are not numerous. The Koran is filled with laws that must be ignored by our legal system to be compatible. A major part of the war in Iraq is how Islamic law and culture can be merged into a democratic system of government. This issue is far from being resolved.

I am certain that the American official who took that oath of office over the Koran is a good man. I am certain that he values the America that you and I do, and that he ignores much of what the Koran says. I am concerned about the concept. I am not an expert, but I do know enough to understand that the potential for conflict of interest is REAL. A considerable problem in much of the world today is that this conflict is being resolved violently.

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