Veteran Behind Manchester VA Bible in a Box Believes Oath Cannot be Sworn on Koran

“You swear allegiance to this Country on the Koran ???!! I din’t think so.”

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar is ceremonially sworn in as a Member of Congress on her father’s Koran

MIA/POW President Bob “Doc” Jones apparently believes that American citizens such as Ilhan Abdullahi Omar cannot swear an oath on the Koran. Jones is one of the people responsible for the placement of a Bible on the Manchester Veterans Administration Medical Center’s “Missing Man Table.”

Jones has spread a false narrative that the Bible accompanied a World War II veteran during his ordeal in a German POW camp. In fact, the Bible was given to the veteran upon his return home from the war. The Bible had to be “historic” to pass constitutional muster for display in a federal facility, so a fake pedigree was presented to the press.

Northeast MIA/POW Network‘s Bob Jones doesn’t believe an oath of allegiance can be sworn on a Koran

Ilhan Omar used a Koran for her swearing in as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, and did so again after being elected to Congress. The C-SPAN video of the ceremonial swearing-in of Omar shows a proud and happy American family with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. A smiling Omar places her hand on the family Koran held by her proud father, to take her oath of office.

The American Dream

In a December 2018 Facebook thread in which one person says Ilhan Omar’s journey from a refugee camp in Somalia to the Halls of Congress is an example of the American Dream, Jones replied:

“Keith, the American Dream! Have you been looking at all the problems in Minn. ? You swear allegiance to this Country on the Koran ???!! I din’t [SIC] think so. This America, once, American !!! Don’t like that, don’t come here. Millions didn’t spill BLOOD for less !! Have you looked any further at what the teachings are ? Not the reterick [SIC] but the teachings . Look at England! Sweedan [SIC] !! Not me, Facts !!!”

An excerpt of the exchange on Muslims and the Koran (names redacted for privacy concerns)

Jones’ comment “Don’t like that, don’t come here,” seemingly anticipates President Donald Trump’s “Send them back!” attack on Omar, her fellow Muslim Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) by half a year.

The “corrupt and inept” government 3 of the 4 progressives attacked by Trump were born into was the U.S.

The problem with Trump’s “Send them back” logic is that three of the four progressive Congresswomen he attacked were born in the United States. The President seems to have a hard time understanding Puerto Rico is part of the United States, and that Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens for over 100 years. Then again, one of the first signs of the cross in Donald Trump’s transit from liberal Democrat and FOB (Friend of Bill Clinton) to reactionary evangelical Christians’ premier Sign of the Apocalypse personality was to insist Hawaii-born/born-a-U.S. citizen Barack Obama, a practicing Christian, was a Kenya-born Muslim.

The African-American Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to American parents, and raised in Chicago. Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib is the daughter of immigrants, and her father worked in a Ford manufacturing plant.

Apparently, being a true American to Donald Trump has nothing to do with being born in the United States, let alone being a United States citizen. To be progressive is to be un-American.

That may be a sentiment shared by Northeast MIA/POW Network President Bob “Doc” Jones. In the Facebook thread, Jones tells someone, “Everytime I hear ‘Progressive’ Ithink [SIC] of Lenin and Marx…I know crazy! They went after Veterans and Unions first.”

This exchange occurred during a discussion of “Sharia law” by Jones and another anti-Muslim poster, in which the other person discussed the duplicity of Muslims and their threat to punish infidels. Jones himself mentions Sharia law as a menace to Americans, and never rebuts the hardcore anti-Muslim “reterick” (rhetoric) of the other poster.

Bob Jones has failed to respond to queries about his “reterick,” including whether his characterization of Military Religious Freedom Foundation President Michael “Mikey” Weinstein as an angry Jew is anti-Semitic.

This is the head of the organization that the Veterans Administration has privileged with providing a MIA/POW war memorial at the Manchester VAMC to represents all veterans. Most reasonable people would, in my opinion, consider him a bigot.

Swearing an Oath on the Koran

A refugee from Somalia who came to this country as a child, Ilhan Omar became a United States citizen in 2000, when she was 17-years old. A member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, she was elected to represent Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District in 2018.

Omar succeeded retiring incumbent Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to Congress. She was sworn in on her father’s Koran. In fact, there is no legal requirement to use the Bible for oaths. The first Muslim-American to be sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives, Keith Ellison, took the oath on a Koran that had once been the property of Thomas Jefferson.

The Koran owned by Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson (Library of Congress)

The Torah has been used to swear in Jewish members of Congress. In 2013, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu to be elected to Congress, was sworn in on a copy of the Bhagavad Gita by a smiling House Speaker John Boehner. On January 3, 2019, Gabbard was sworn in again, on the same day Omar was sworn in on the Koran, on the Bhagavad Gita.

The oath of office, which is laid out in federal law in 1966, states:

“I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

It does not mandate that the oath be taken on a Bible. It does require the words, “So help me God,” unlike the Presidential Oath of Office, which does not. That oath is part of he U.S. Constitution rather than spelled out in federal statutes.

There is no official prejudice against Islam as a religion in the United States. A representation of the Prophet Muhammad adorns a frieze on the north wall of the courtroom in which the U.S. Supreme Court hears cases.

The first prophet of Islam, according to the U.S Supreme Court’s website, is pictured holding a Holy Koran. He is honored as a great lawgiver, along with other great lawgivers that are with him on the frieze, including the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, English jurist Sir William Blackstone, and 19th century Chief Justice John Marshall, who established the primacy of judicial review in the United States.

The constitutionality of the V.A.s “Bible in a Box” will be subject to the review of a federal court on September 16, 2019, when it hears oral arguments on a lawsuit brought against the Veterans Administration by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store