- converted to Islam in college
- also the first black congressman from Minnesota
- used Thomas Jefferson's copy of the Koran for the swearing-in (borrowed from the Library of Congress, English translation)
Rep. Mazie Hirono, Democrat-Hawai'i
- sworn in with no book
- raised in Buddhist traditions but does not practice strictly
Rep. Hank Johnson, Democrat-Georgia
- ousted Cynthia McKinney in the Democratic primary
- became a Buddhist decades ago
- affiliated with Soka Gakkai (Tina Turner's affiliation)
- used a Bible in honor of tradition
Robert Paul Reyes writes:
I never heard of a Buddhist beating a homosexual to death in the name of Buddha. A Buddhist doesn’t attain a state of Zen by flying a plane into a building. The concept of a “holy war” is anathema to a Buddhist.
Members of Congress have every right to use a Koran, Bible or Playboy Magazine during their photo-op swearing-in. But I feel much more comfortable with a politician who is sworn in using no book at all.
New York Times clarification: the "swearing-in" with the book is a mere ceremonial photo-op