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Elayne Boosler Headshot

Take Your Hand Off the Bible

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Another day, another slanderous attempt to link Barack Obama to the militant Muslim cause, this time by the Australian prime minister. A prime minister so intent on defeating terrorism that he has committed no less than 1,400 troops to fighting in Iraq, the exact amount of people I stand behind in line for coffee every morning. I guess he's seen Crocodile Dundee one too many times; he actually believes one Australian with a really big knife can take out the population of New York. And then he goes too far:

"If I were running Al Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory, not only for Obama but also for the Democrats," John Howard said.

Number one, you can't even implement intelligent enough environmental legislation to keep the world's greatest wonder, your Barrier Reef, from disintegrating. You're the one who needs to circle March, 2008. That's about the time all the fish in your enchanted land of Brigadoon are going to start packing for Florida in order to continue to survive. I love a parade. The only thing you'll be tossing on the Barbie is silt.

Number two, Al Qaeda is working off a totally different calendar, and March 2008 is about seven hundred and fifty thousand pages ahead of the date they're working off of right now. By the way, I know you're on the other side of the world, but that still doesn't make your March our November.

Number three, "praying as many times as possible"? What are you, six? They pray five times a day, and I too hope they use all five daily prayer sessions to ask for a Democratic victory. Sadly though, most people in Iraq are probably too busy praying to survive another day of slaughter. However, I am sure if indeed you WERE the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, it would have taken the Bush regime only three years to beat your 1,400 troops.

This new attempt at a Barack/Muslim connection has me thinking. Glenn Beck is right on one thing (though for the wrong reason). Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) was no more correct in putting his hand on a Koran to be sworn in to the government of the United States than any other representative is correct in putting her/his hand on the bible, or Torah, or chicken bones and incense for that matter. Their hands should be placed on the Constitution of the United States of America, which they are swearing to uphold, protect, implement and defend. Swearing in is a legal ceremony, and religion should have nothing to do with it, especially in a country that espouses separation of church and state, however murky that constantly moving line is. If more government officials swore to the people, who they have to face now, instead of to god, who may or may not be waiting to meet your train, we might get more accountability.

Same with the courts. Swearing on a bible may mean nothing to many people. It's the threat of prosecution for perjury that controls truthful testimony. If people were sworn in with their hands on the Constitution, they might actually sweat.

I remember when Clarence Thomas was appointed to the Supreme Court. People magazine did a five page story on him. In every photo where he was reading, he was reading the bible. And I remember thinking to myself, even back then, with my focus more on trumpet players and Absolut than the workings of politics, I thought, gee, it would have been more confidence inspiring to see one picture of him reading the Constitution.

If some progressive organization raised enough money to leave a copy of the Constitution in every hotel room drawer, I'd bet that alone would be a great first step in re- educating a public that has been browbeaten into forgetting what to expect from the government it elects, the government that is there to serve it.

And to Prime Minister John Howard, don't worry about the Democrats, they're going to do fine. You need to work on your beer, your films, your knowledge of international election schedules, and oh yeah, saving your ocean.