There’s been quite a storm this week after a federal politician was sworn into office as part of the government’s new front bench.
Federal Labor MP Ed Husic has been attacked in social media for using a Koran when he was sworn in as parliamentary secretary by the Governor-General.
The Australian-born member for the western Sydney seat of Chifley, the son of Bosnian immigrants, in 2010 became the first Muslim elected to federal parliament and is the first to take on a ministry position.
He was sworn in as parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and parliamentary secretary for broadband in Canberra on Monday. – SBS News
Social media went into overdrive with people attacking Mr Husic’s Facebook page.
Overnight, his Facebook page attracted posts from people angry he had used a Koran instead of a Bible to take his oath.
“You have created history of the worst order, to swear in on a Koran!! This is Australia with Australian Laws,” said one poster calling themselves Dinki Di Sheila.
“Swore to serve Australia using the same book terrorists do to serve Al-Qaeda ….Disgusting,” said another. – SBS News
There are a number of questions that this story raises for me, questions that go beyond knee-jerk reactions from rednecks, but before I get to them I need to say that I’ve met many politicians from a range of political parties and on the whole I have found them to be men and women of integrity who want to make a positive difference. They differ in their ideologies, and some have ideologies with which I vehemently disagree, but most have good intent. (Yes, I know that good intent doesn’t make bad political decisions acceptable, but that’s a discussion for another day.)
So now to the questions this story raises for me. Mr Husic has told media that he is a ‘non-practicing Muslim’. So what value is there in swearing on a book that he does not claim to follow?
That then leads us to the majority of parliamentarians who swear their oath on the Bible. How many of them actually claim to follow the teachings of the Christian Scriptures? So what value is there in swearing on a book that they do not revere or follow?
Furthermore, when our former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, took her oath, she also swore on a copy of the Bible, yet she claims that she is an atheist. So what value is there in swearing on a book that is based on a God that she doesn’t believe exists?
I’m not wanting to attack Mr Husic’s decision to acknowledge his heritage by swearing on the Koran or other parliamentarians for swearing on the Bible, I’m just interested in your opinions.
I should probably say that I also found it quite odd that when I was called up for jury duty some time ago, most of us swore our oath on the Bible, yet there were probably only a couple of us that would have considered ourselves Christian.
Is it appropriate to continue using the holy books of any faith to swear an oath? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section of this post.
By the way, I’m interested in a range of opinions but I will remove any comments that aren’t respectful. If you want a bit of an insight into what that means here, you can check out my Comments Policy.