So Help Me Allah

Should Barack Obama place his hand on the Christian Bible and say "So help me God," at the end of his oath? Yes, because he is a professed Christian and in the coming years he will need his faith as never before. If, however, Barack Obama was a Muslim, as a surprising amount of Americans still believe, should he place his hand on the Koran and say "So help me Allah," at the end of his oath? Yes, because in the coming years he would need his faith as never before.

The 2008 primaries and general election were evidence of America's increasing diversity and its slow trickle upwards to the higher echelons of power in this country. Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Pentecostals and Mormons were all represented in the candidates. Blacks, Whites and Latinos- men and women, albeit disproportionately, were all there on the national stage. The country currently has two members of Congress who are practicing Muslims and by my last check of the 110th Congress, forty-three Jewish members. According to, there is only one open atheist, California's Pete Stark, in Congress, but 21 others in hiding. 

This year we will swear in the country's first Black President. The demographics of Congress suggest that someday, America will have a non-Christian President. When that day comes, I hope that they feel free to celebrate as they see fit and to pledge their service to the country as they feel best honors the tradition of the Presidency. Nothing in our country's Constitution prohibits the free expression of a President's faith through public display or civil ceremony. What presents an infringement would be the restriction of a President to a necessary display of religious activity. No elected official should be forced or coerced into any kind of religious display that they do not wish to participate in. They should feel free to be sworn in on the Bible, the Torah, the Koran or even a library copy of a book by Richard Dawkins if they please. 

The physical appearances and beliefs of those who command national attention will continue to change. This will make some people uncomfortable and cause considerable backlash from others. However, this should not stop them from freely expressing their identity in public or during a civil ceremony. 

I encourage and support Barack Obama to have ministers pray, use a Bible to be sworn in upon, and publicly ask for God's help, not because any of these things are essential to him being President, but because that is who he is. 

Jim Wallis is president of Sojourners and author of the newly released paperback version of "The Great Awakening: Seven Ways To Change The World."

Source: Washington Post - On Faith

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Older Comments:
This is idealism,

Alas, in America, democracy opens its arms to all especially the Jews except Muslims & socialists...the irony is socialism is what American leaders are practising to save their economy and some thought to be Judeo-Christian ideals in America's are actually Islamic ideals obviously if most Americans knew that prophet Ibraham was a Muslim.
One day, may be not in my lifetime or Palestinian children's lifetime, the Zionist plagued US congress will become sanitised and America will become a true democracy!

Insha Allah

if barack is muslim, i feel that he knows the american people would brow their tops if he said so help me allah. in a way he did he spoke highly of muslims.