Friday, January 05, 2007

Jefferson's Koran and Keith Ellison

I wanted to comment on Diana Butler Bass's reflections on Keith Ellison's use of Thomas Jefferson's Koran -- Diana, whose work I greatly respect, notes the irony that the district represented by Virgil Goode includes Jefferson's own home, Monticello.

A couple of things to note on this new Congress, which is now led by the Democrats for the first time in a dozen years. Not only does it feature a woman as Speaker -- Nancy Pelosi -- it is the most diverse religiously than any previous Congress. Besides Keith Ellison, who is an African-American Muslim, there are also two Buddhists. It's interesting that nothing is said of this. I guess we're not worried about Buddhists taking over.

In the second to last paragraph Diana writes:

Hope for diversity is not some sort of secular affirmative action. Religious diversity, as a principle for the body politic, is, in significant measure, a Christian vision, born in a hope for a nation that may enact the inclusive love of God. Religious diversity is brought to its fullest expression in American political theology – and a vision increasingly modeled throughout our society and shared by other religious Americans. When Rep. Ellison lays his hand on Jefferson's Koran, it will be a proud moment for American Muslims. But it will a prouder moment for Christians, for Mr. Ellison's action is a visible sign of what has long been promised in the best of America's theological tradition.


I think this is a very telling statement -- the nation's ability to embrace a Muslim Congressman who swears an oath on the Koran, should be received with pride by the Christian community as a reflection of the Christian vision of God's inclusive love. If only we truly lived out its promise! But this is a good word to hear. Thanks Diana and Godspeed to Keith Ellison, the pioneer of America's new inclusion.

No comments: