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Make Up Your Mind, America!

Is America a diverse culture of numerous religions that all worship the same God? Is it a secular or a Christian nation? Keith Ellison ignited an explosion of controversy by choosing the Koran as the book to hold during his ceremonial swearing in to the 110th U.S. Congress. There is an underlying issue involved that you will not read of in the mainstream media: America doesn't know its identity!

by Cecil E. Maranville

Americans "on the whole [are] ill-bred, provincial, sullen and frightened. They are...susceptible to mere rhetoric and responsive to arguably bogus appeals to values, no matter what the facts" (Clark Judge, "Words That Work," OpinionJournal.com, Jan. 23, 2007, citing Frank Luntz's book by that name).

He wasn't speaking of America's reaction to Keith Ellison's swearing in, but these brutally frank words apply to the controversy swirling around this first Muslim member of the U.S. Congress.

Ellison's announcement that he wished to be sworn in with a copy of the Koran spawned a heated debate in the country about whether that was appropriate or even legal.

Actually, what Ellison was talking about was only a ceremonial act, as the official swearing in occurs as a group in the House Chamber. Congressional representatives who wish to pose for photographs may do so in a later reenactment, and there is no law prohibiting the use of the Koran for this.

Nonetheless, it is an unusual time in American history to want to be sworn in to a government office on a Koran! Why would Ellison do this? "It is...to send a message to the American people," opined columnist and radio host Dennis Prager ("A Response to My Critics—and a Solution," Townhall.com, Dec. 5, 2006).

If that is true, people are hearing different messages. Some see it as an affront to America, whereas others see it as an affirmation of American diversity.

World News and Prophecy has an entirely different take on the issue—that it shows that Americans do not know who they are.

Ellison appeared to sidestep some controversy by choosing a unique copy of the Koran, one that had been owned by Thomas Jefferson, which the former president initialed. The picture of Ellison being sworn in on this Koran by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi drew more media than any similar photo op in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Was it a "PR masterstroke," as some called it, or did choosing Jefferson's copy of the Koran only obscure significant questions?

"It's diversity," say some

Supporting Ellison's decision, Democratic Congressman Jim Moran said that it underscored the fact that Muslim Americans are "...an integral part of American society. Our country is a melting pot of different cultures and beliefs. This diversity is a strength, not a weakness" (Askia Muhammed, "Rep. Keith Ellison: First Muslim in Congress," Finalcall.com, Jan. 20, 2007).

James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute (and brother of pollster John Zogby) echoed the diversity concept, taking a swipe at the congressman's critics: "America's founders had a more profound respect for religious diversity than many of their latter-day disciples."

Zogby also praised Ellison's election to Congress and his choice of the Koran for the ceremonial swearing in. "An African American, descended of slaves, was sworn into the 110th Congress using Thomas Jefferson's own Qur'an. That, if anything, is a great American story. It deserves to be celebrated. It is now part of our nation's history" ("Ellison and the Qur'an—a Great American Story," www.middle-east-online.com, Jan. 17, 2007, emphasis added).

"It's a Muslim Trojan horse," say others

Not everyone is celebrating. Opposing views range from calling for Ellison to be barred from the Congress altogether (Judge Roy Moore) to a chorus of warnings that his Muslim beliefs will conflict with the congressman's duties to the United States. Those who researched Ellison's background report that the idea to use Jefferson's Koran wasn't the congressman's. It was the idea of Madhi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society, which is the American operation of the radical terrorist Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt.

WorldNet Daily reported on Dec. 6 that "...within days of being elected, Ellison held a workshop on politics for [yet another] group closely affiliated with a radical Islamic school that preaches no Muslim can pledge loyalty to the [U.S.] Constitution or make laws outside the laws of the Quran, which the school's leaders assert is the 'supreme law' of the land, trumping all man-made laws including the U.S. Constitution" ("Doubts Grow Over Muslim Lawmaker's Loyalty," p. 1).

Ellison met with the group's leader, Omar Ahmad Shahin, later the same day. Shahin lectures at the American Open University, which is known to law enforcement as "Wahhabi Online" (ibid.).

Lastly, the article reported a pattern of Ellison's disregard for U.S. laws, including failure to pay taxes and over 40 parking and traffic tickets. In addition, he's been fined heavily for violating campaign finance regulations.

Zogby slammed those who dare to raise these questions, calling them "ignorant of our nation's history." In fact, Zogby may be the ignorant one, for the reason Jefferson had a Koran wasn't to celebrate diversity. See the inset article, "Jefferson Studies Koran to Fight War on Muslim Terrorists."

However, there truly is a "great American story" behind this issue—although not in the way that James Zogby claims.

"My people," says the Creator God

There is an intriguing parable in Isaiah's prophecy: "The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not consider" (Isaiah 1:3). A domestic animal knows its way home to where it is sheltered and fed. However, God said through the prophet, "My people" don't have the sense that a "dumb" animal does! They do not know their owner, that is, their Creator.

Who are God's people in this prophecy? The prophet's message mentioned the Israel of the time, several hundred years before Christ, but it is an end-time prophecy. Who today are included in "My people"? Are Americans among them?

The "celebrate American diversity" crowd would howl in protest at the suggestion, decrying it as too provincial and prejudicial. It excludes many ethnic groups, rather than includes all, which is "the American way."

Yet, that ignores the fact that God Himself narrows matters down by referring to "My people."

"All the great religions worship the same God," continues this diversity reasoning. James Zogby included in his rebuke of Keith Ellison's critics, "If they had taken the time to read this book [the Koran], they would have found, for example, that the God of the Qur'an is the same as the God of the Old and New Testaments" (op. cit., Zogby).

He's wrong! If the same God inspired the Bible and the Koran, the books would be in perfect agreement, rather than forming the basis for a centuries-long conflict that is now sharper than ever!

Nonreligious Americans would take the middle ground, saying the question of whether they are part of "My people" is immaterial, for they do not take religion literally. In spite of the fact that a majority of Americans profess Christianity, this "don't-take-religion-literally" perspective describes most of them.

The "religious view" is wrong

On the other hand, many religious people would say that Americans are part of "My people," because the nation is Christian. If you are a believer, this might sound correct to you, but there is a major flaw in this thinking.

It's viewing "God's people" in a spiritual sense alone. Indeed, God draws people from all ethnic backgrounds into His spiritual Church today, and they are then His people. The apostle Peter verifies this: "But you...who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy" (1 Peter 2:9-10).

However, God is working on two tracks, the first with the spiritual "people of God" and the second with specific physical nations that are also "His people." Most readers will react by saying, "Yeah, that's the Jews, the state of Israel." However, they would be only partially right, for Jews constitute only a fraction of those who are Israel today.

The Jews are the descendants of the ancient Israelite tribe of Judah, which was only one of 12 tribes. For several decades, the 12 tribes were a single kingdom under three monarchs, including the famous biblical David. Yet they split shortly after the reign of another famous king, Solomon, into two kingdoms, Judah and Israel. One large tribe, Joseph, became two (Ephraim and Manasseh), making 13 tribes. Three tribes combined to comprise Judah; 10 combined to become the new kingdom of Israel.

The kingdom of Israel was eventually carried into captivity in the Assyrian Empire—coincidentally, encompassing some of the territory that is modern Iraq. Over the centuries, they migrated across Europe, known to history partly as Scythians. Two of the 10 tribes that wandered eventually became a community or commonwealth of nations and a single, powerful nation. Those unique nations today are the former British Empire (Great Britain and its Commonwealth) and the United States.

Americans need to learn who they are

Think closely about the people Isaiah described. These aren't the godly people later spoken of by Peter, for they don't know God! They are scoundrels, spiritual rogues! The context of that Isaiah prophecy speaks not of people whose hearts and minds are devout, but rather rebellious, corrupt, breaking the divine laws, instead of obeying them.

"Alas, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a brood of evildoers, children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away backward" (Isaiah 1:4).

The purpose of the prophecy is to warn these people that they have forgotten their identity—and with it, their responsibility to their Creator.

Are Americans included in the "My people" of Isaiah 1:3-4 ? Yes, they are, but not because of a converted heart.

Americans are indeed ignorant of their history, but the lack of knowledge goes far beyond the politically tainted debate of the multicultural left and the religious right. They need to investigate their roots, much as adults who discover they were adopted as children search out their birth parents. They need to embrace their identity and the awesome responsibility it entails.

Trace those roots for yourself, both from the Bible and from history, using our booklet . WNP


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Jefferson Studies Koran to Fight War on Muslim Terrorists
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