Rep. Virgil Goode, Republican of Virginia, has sent a letter to hundreds of his constituents criticizing another elected Representative for planning to be sworn into office with the scripture of his religious faith. Goode wrote:
I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. . . .Goode's attempt to raise the immigration issue is impertinent; the Representative whom he criticized had ancestors living in America before the U.S. of A. was founded.
The Ten Commandments and "In God We Trust" are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, "As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office."
In response to criticism of that letter, Goode then issued an even more blatantly unconstitutional statement:
The voters of each Congressional district select the representative that they choose to represent them, and perhaps voters in all districts will now ask prospective candidates whether they will use the Bible, the Koran, or anything else.When Virgil Goode entered Congress, he took the following oath of office, the current form for the Vice President, Representatives, and Senators:
I 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.Such a promise is mandated by the third paragraph of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.Thus, the very same constitutional article that requires oaths or affirmations also states that there should never be a religious test for a public officeholder in the U.S. of A.—yet Goode is advocating just such a test.
Goode clearly has chosen not to "support and defend the Constitution," nor "bear true faith and allegiance to the same." Instead, he has chosen to ignore and demean one of the Constitution's clear requirements. While criticizing how another elected Representative might take his oath, Virgil Goode broke his own.
To compound the sad irony, Goode represents the part of Virginia that includes Charlottesville and Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home. Jefferson was of course highly proud of drafting Virginia's statute for religious freedom.