Steve Dedmon, a member of the State of Florida wants to use the Quran instead of the Bible as stipulated in the US constitution as the text with which he will affirm his Oath of Office to House of Representatives. House Rule 1.01 states that the only text recognized for swearing in a new member is the Bible. Should a person use a text other than the Bible, he would be barred from performing any function of the House.
Relying on the case of Powell et al v. McCormack, the members would be stopped from excluding Dedmon from sitting in the house. In fact, the members would need to reach a two thirds majority in order to reject a member of the House. Given that Article 1, Section 5 of the United States Constitution provides that each House shall be the judge of the qualifications of its members. However, this provision is further fleshed out in Article VI of the Constitution of the United States of America, which provides that religious affiliation should not be the test for qualification to any state office. Therefore, Dedmon should not be discriminated against just because he professes his faith in the taking of the oath.
It is also instructive to note that Congress does not have the power to exclude a member of the house except under the provisions specified under in Article I and 2, clause 1-2 of the US Constitution; Congress can only expel a member who has been duly sworn into Congress.
Otherwise, freedom of religion is well articulated in America. However, it would be difficult to convince the Honorable Court to interpret House Rule 1.01 to include the Quran as the text for swearing into office. Following the literal rule of statutory interpretation, House Rule 1.01 would bar Dedmon from using the Quran as the text to take Oath of office. Nevertheless, the Court may apply the Golden rule to determine that at the time of the enactment of the rule, the inhabitants of the US State of Florida were entirely Christians. Now that the American society has diversified, the House needs to respect the rights of other minority religions since the US Constitution provides for the freedom of religion.
Powell ET AL v. McCormack. No. 395 U.S. 486. US Supreme Court. 16 June 1969.
Arensen, Shel. The Secret Oath. New York: Kregel Publications, 2003.
Eskridge, William N. Dynamic Statutory Interpretation. New York: Havard University Press, 1994.